Ender's Ugly Transformation

| | Comments (2)

"Peter might be scum, but Peter had been right, always right; the power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you" (Card's Ender's Game 212).

Poor Ender.  He has been completely brainwashed.  Yes, he can think for himself but only within certain constraints.  If he simply gave up, stopped trying so it just looked like he was slipping and not the kid they thought he was, he could stop them.  He has been told what he should be so much that he does not even see this option.  The once sensitive boy seems to have this inner killer.  Society has taught him that nobody would protect him.  They cannot help someone who cannot help himself.  It goes all the way back to when they took his monitor off.  They had to know that he'd get beat up by the two biggest bullies in his life, Peter and Stilson, and yet they still did it.  What did this result in?  Stilson's death.  But throughout this book, Ender goes from a boy who does not want to really hurt anyone to someone who is desensitized to such killings.  He never really means to kill anyone or anything without necessity or remorse...Does he?

"A wasp circled her, then landed on the raft beside her head.  She knew it was there, and ordinarily would have been afraid of it.  But not today.  Let it walk on this raft, let it bake in the sun as I'm doing"

   "Then the raft rocked, and she turned to see Ender calmly crushing the life out of the wasp with one finger.  'These are a nasty breed,' said Ender.  'They sting you without waiting to be insulted first.'  He smiled.  'I've been learning about preemptive strategies'" ( Ender's Game 235).

Wow!  The wasp was not hurting anyone and he killed it.  This sequence of events and dialogue is what I feel to be one of, if not the most, important sequences in the book.  Ender displays his killer instinct, and what's more, with a complete lack of remorse (he did it calmly and then even smiled).  With this one scene alone, he goes from a defensive murderer to an offensive murderer.  His previous killings were just him trying to protect himself, whereas this one is initiated by Ender.  Yes, I do realize it's just a bee but this little bee is representative, forshadowing if you will, of the Buggers.  Later in the book, Card even refers to the buggers as being like bees who take orders from a queen (268).  Therefore, this little bee IS a big deal.  Card included this specific scene, inner thoughts and all, as a way of showing the transformation Ender has undergone.  (I also found it ironic that Ender says, "They sting you without wiating to be insulted first" and then he squishes it.)


Ally Hall said:

Great job, Angela. I think your analysis about Ender's transformation to a killer is really great. But I'm not entirely sure I believe he really is a killer at heart. Over and over, Ender said that he never meant to kill anyone - that he was just defending himself, and he really was just defending himself. With Stilson at the beginning and Bonzo in the shower, these two boys could have really harmed Ender. And then with all of the Buggers, Ender believed it was a simulation. He had no idea that he was really, truly killing all of the Buggers. He felt remorse for the Buggers (as was shown when he found the cocoon at the end and carried it around until he found a good home) and for those soldiers lost fighting the Buggers. So, although he has killed, I'm still not entirely convinced he's a killer at heart.

Great ideas Angela. I actually wrote my blog after I read your comments here. You made me think of the opposing point of view as well. But I do really think that Orson Scott Card leaves the reader able to believe either idea. But I have to agree with Ally. I really don't think that Ender is desensitized to killing. Check out my blog to see more in depth.

Leave a comment

Type the characters you see in the picture above.