Why Are They Outcasts?

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"'I'm a girl,' she said, 'and you're a pissant of a six-year-old.  We have so much in common, why don't we be friends?'"

-From Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game page 79

This comment really struck me.  First, Card tells the reader that Valentine, Ender's sister, had been a candidate for general of the entire army of the world.  Then he tells us that there are only a few girls at battle school.  Finally, he has Petra tell the reader that she is an outcast because she is a girl.  I'm still not very sure what the view of women is in the society in this novel.  Petra is obviously an outcast at Battle School because of her gender, not because of her performance: she is one of the best shooters.  Would Valentine have been an outcast too despite her abilities?  I think so because Ender is one and because the men in charge of the Battle School make Ender an outcast in order to prepare him for his future position.  Petra also seems to be a member of one of the minority races in the novel, which could also contribute to her position as an outcast in the Battle School society.  I hope that the following chapters will afford a clearer picture of the roles and significance of gender and race in the novel, as well as a clearer picture of why Card has chosen certain characters to be outcasts.


Greta Carroll said:

I think Valentine would definitely have been an outcast. She is far too kind, thus why the battle school rejected her in the first place. But it is an interesting thought to consider what the view of females is in the book. It is possible though, that Petra was not an outcast because of her gender. She obviously spoke her mind and did what she wanted. She was also very skilled, which causes jealousy and resentment among the other children, so I wouldn’t necessarily blame her solitude on her gender, although it could be a contributing factor.

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