Study Guide

Ender's Game Allusions

By Orson Scott Card


Literary and Mythological References

  • Mother Goose, Pac-Man, Peter Pan – All examples of children’s stories (6.109)
  • Salaam – Arabic for “peace” (7.58)
  • Salamander – In ye olden days, the salamander was connected to fire in mythology, which is why Bonzo keeps making fire references. (7.121)
  • Phoenix – A mythological bird that lives forever by resurrecting itself in fire, kind of Professor Dumbledore's phoenix Fawks. (9.174)
  • Ansible – A term from Ursula K. Le Guin’s Rocannon’s World, 1966. (13.236)

Biblical References

  • “Legitimate saints’ names” – As in, all the Wiggin children have the names of saints – and Saint Andrew and Saint Peter were brothers, just as Andrew and Peter are here. (3.97)
  • Daniel – A prophet from the biblical Book of Daniel (9.222)
  • A “cubit” – A unit of measurement that’s often used in the Bible – for instance, Noah is told to build an ark that’s 300 cubits long. (10.172)
  • “I came not to bring peace, but a sword” – A version of Matthew 10:34 (10.184)

Historical References

  • Napoleon (4.75)
  • Alexander the Great (4.75)
  • Julius Caesar (4.75)
  • Napoleon and Wellington, Julius Caesar and Brutus – Two pairs of historical figures who were opponents. Wellington fought Napoleon in battle, whereas Brutus assassinated Caesar. (7.10)
  • Warsaw Pact – An agreement between various communist countries. (9.50)
  • Pericles – A statesman and orator from Athens who helped lead Athens against Persia. (9.64)
  • Demosthenes – Took a leading role in turning Athens against Alexander the Great – which didn’t work out for Athens, or for Demosthenes. (9.64)
  • Philip – As in, Philip II of Macedon, who helped set things up for his son, Alexander the Great. (9.66)
  • Thomas Paine (9.68)
  • Benjamin Franklin (9.68)
  • Bismarck – Otto von Bismarck, who helped to unify Germany during the 19th century. (9.68)
  • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin – An important figure in the Russian Revolution. (9.68)
  • Hitler – Have you ever watched the History Channel? Yeah, that’s Hitler, the German Fuhrer known for causing World War II and the Holocaust. (9.91)
  • Pax Americana – Latin for “American Peace,” referring to any time when a powerful country enforces peace in an area, kind of like the Roman Empire's "Pax Romana." (9.108)
  • John Locke – An English philosopher who wrote about political issues way back in the 1600s. (9.126)
  • “Circumcised dog” – An old and insulting way to refer to Muslims by Christians, who were not circumcised. (10.173)
  • “Veni Vidi Vici” – What Julius Caesar said about an easy war, meaning, “I came, I saw, I conquered.” (11)
  • Little Doctor – A nickname for the Molecular Disruption Device…and, oddly enough, for Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda. (14.149)

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