May 7, 2007

The Ends Justify the Means: Isolation Treatment

I told you. His isolation can't be broken. He can never come to believe that anybody will ever help him out, ever. If he once thinks there's an easy way out, he's wrecked.

Orson Scott Card - Ender's Game

Isolation punishment is saved for criminals that have overstepped prison boundaries or are hazardous to the other inmates. Ender's isolation doesn't fit into that mold.

The Ender of Ender's Game endures isolation treatment for reasons that are selfish on the part of those who wish to control him. Ethically, Ender should not be forced into isolation through skillful manipulation. Practically, at least from the point of view of those isolating Ender, isolation is the means that are going to be justified by the ending result.

Now I don't want to sound unethical, but Niccol˛ Machiavelli is right, at least to a certain extent. The ends do justify the means - for after all, all's well that ends well. Ender is a young child being manipulated through his perpetual isolation.

Ender is not the only child to ever be manipulated by an adult. I don't want to sound like a child abuser, because I'm not - nor do I support such activities, but is Ender's isolation that much worse than the manipulation he would be enduring if left to lead a normal childhood? Children are mislead and manipulated endlessly - Ender is a child receiving the same treatment in a new environment.

Before I get ahead of myself, yes, the manipulation that Ender endures is disproportionately high. The point I'm trying to make is that, despite his isolation, he isn't alone.

Posted by Diana Geleskie at May 7, 2007 4:34 PM
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