Study Guide

Speaker for the Dead Community

By Orson Scott Card


Speaker for the Dead is the story of Ender finding a community. His actions in the bugger war have left him damaged and without a home, and he's got a case of intergalactic PTSD. He's so alienated and remorseful that he has to save four different species (piggies, humans, buggers, Jane) in order to be able to settle down. The act of community building becomes a kind of miracle of compassion and forgiveness (more on that here), and community is both the task and the reward. That's why Ender courts not just Novinha, but her whole family, and really the whole community, from the Bishop to the mayor. Marriage here is as much about belonging as love.

Questions About Community

  1. In Speaker for the Dead there are several communities of just two or three people. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these communities?
  2. Does the novel value individuality or community more? Provide evidence for your answer.
  3. Does the novel believe communities are right to defend themselves? Was Ender right to destroy the bugger homeworld?

Chew on This

Novinha is responsible for great misery because she rejects the Lusitania community.

The Lusitania community is responsible for great misery because it fails to integrate Novinha.

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