Study Guide

Speaker for the Dead Lies and Deceit

By Orson Scott Card

Lies and Deceit

Speaker for the Dead is here to tell you that lies are bad. Lying makes you hurt people, and true stories put you back together, albeit with some pain. Though at the same time, Speaker for the Dead has to admit that Speaker for the Dead is not, itself, strictly true. There are no piggies. There are no buggers. There is no one as awesome as Ender. The true stories in this book are all false, which might mean that fiction tells a deeper truth… or might mean that this speaking for the dead thing is all a ton of empathy baloney. But either way Shmoop takes comfort in knowing humans didn't actually call the alien races they met "buggers" and "piggies." Sheesh.

Questions About Lies and Deceit

  1. Do lies in the novel always result in misery? Can you think of an example where they don't?
  2. Is lying in the novel ever seen as virtuous? (By, for example, the Zenadors?)
  3. Are the piggies wrong to deceive the human about the fact that piggies can climb over the fence? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Ender's life is incomplete and painful until he gets to Lusitania because he lies about who he is.

Novinha's main lie is that she doesn't love.