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These Characters Are How Old?

He was a soldier, and if anyone had asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up, he wouldn't have known what they meant.

Card, Ender's Game Finish -- Jerz: EL150 (Intro to Literary Study)

I chose this quote about Bean because I think it pretty well sums up a pretty big part of this story. It was Jenna's entry for the first six chapters that caused me to think about this much more this time around than last time. None of the children in this book seem much like children. I think that's why Bean would not have known what anyone meant if they asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up--he may have been young, but he had grown up fast, like all of them had to. So much responsibility was placed on the children, that they did not even have a chance to be children. Like Jenna said she had to do with Ender in the first six chapters, I found myself having to keep reminding myself that these characters were still kids. It's an easy fact to forget with how they all act.

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Comments (3)

Ellen Einsporn:

I think the childrens' age brings up a very important educational question: How much is too much? How do we know the appropriate age to teach children specific things? Some might side with teachers like Graff and Anderson, although not quite that extreme, and say that children should learn more when they are young because that is when they learn best. Others might say that young children should have an easier education so that they can enjoy being kids while they can. I think there is a fine line between these two arguments, and that in part, is the diffuculty of being an educator. How far can you push your young students intellectually without killing their childhood innocence? Ender's emulates this problem perfectly: On one level he is much smarter than the adults that surround him, particularly in the areas of mathematics, combat strategy, ect.; however, on the other hand, he still cannot understand the dirty jokes that the teenage boys make next to him in the mess hall. One could argue that his inability to understand these jokes is a sign that he normally not understand such complicated academics as well. On the other hand, someone else might argue that it was right to push his education as far as Graff did because he had the gifted potential to accomplish such a difficult curriculum.

Lorin:

Interesting take, Jennifer. When I read this like I thought of it more in terms of Bean not knowing what they meant about what he wanted to be because as far as he was concerned it should be obvious that he not only wanted to BE a soldier, but that he already IS a soldier, and to him there isn't anything else worth being so the question would have seemed stupid. I just thought it was meant to show the reader hoe dedicated Bean was to being a soldier.

But, your interpretation makes sense, too. The fate of the world really rests in these kids' hands - not only Ender's. If that doesn't make them grown up then I don't know what does! They certainly don't have any chances to just be kids, although there are instances in which they show immaturities. Of course, at lot of those immaturities you might see in some adults as well, especially in the competitive and stressful atomosphere of the battle school.

BethanyMerryman:

I am not sure who it was, but Graff and someone else were talking about how the children don't have a chance to be children. I found it very odd to picture Ender or any of the soldiers as children at all. First of all, they have such high intelligence levels I picture them to be grown men and women, and still sooo different from you and me. It is strange to think that these children don't know what their future may hold for them, because they have only known one thing, the I.F..

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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 23, 2007 12:40 AM.

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