by Orson Scott Card
Youth Quotes in Ender's Game
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"Peter, you're twelve years old. I'm ten. They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice."
"But we don't think like other children, do we, Val? We don't talk like other children. And above all, we don't write like other children." (9.61-62)
Adults may have clumsy, fat hands (see the first quote – we’re not just saying that to insult ourselves), but children have some problems, too. For one thing, as Val makes clear here, no one takes children’s ideas seriously. Peter has a solution for that, which is to hide their ages online. What’s curious here is that children have problems, but they can find ways to get around those. Can the adults? Well, sure: they can manipulate and use the kids.
He was a child. He was young.
No he isn't, thought Ender. Small, yes. But Bean has been through a battle with a whole army depending on him and on the soldiers that he led, and he performed splendidly, and they won. There's no youth in that. No childhood. (12.194-195)
There’s a slight trick here that Card pulls by talking about Bean’s battles; that is, Bean has been through pretend battles, in which his army was his team, and the other soldiers were his teammates. Looked at that way, Bean actually hasn’t been through real war. (Not yet.) So is it fair to say he’s had no childhood? Maybe it’s because the games that these kids play are treated super-seriously? Then again, didn’t you ever take a game seriously?
So, after wandering through the tunnels for a little while, he went to the mess hall and ate breakfast near a few marines who were telling dirty jokes that Ender could not begin to understand. (14.312)
Ender here is around eleven or twelve years old, and if he hasn’t gone through puberty yet, he probably will soon. This is a reminder that Ender is still a kid in some ways – he may know how to kill an entire species, but he doesn’t understand sex. (Or possibly humor. He’s not a very funny kid.)