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Isolation In Ender's Game Essay

1677 words - 7 pages

Barbara Sher is quoted saying, “Isolation is a dream killer” which is a perfect summation of Ender’s lonely journey through an isolated childhood. Ender’s Game is a science fiction novel by Orson Scott Card about a young boy named Ender Wiggin who is taken from his family at the age of six for rigorous training that ultimately leads the entire human space fleet against the alien race, the Buggers, that threatens to destroy all of mankind. Card makes it clear from the very beginning Ender is alone in all this. It is precisely this that is needed for the transformation Ender must undergo to carry the weight of an entire race on his shoulders. Isolation becomes the primary element that contributes to Ender’s success as a leader because it instills self-reliance, strength, and above all else, empathy. He realized that no one is there to help him, no one is coming to his rescue, and only he can be the one to save them all.
One key component that is produced through Ender’s struggles at his young age is self-reliance. Ender is born unto a family where he is seen as an outcast; he’s a “third.” In a world where population control is major concern, a third-born child is looked upon in disgust. He is isolated even before he is brought into the world. John Kessel reveals his insights into Card’s interpretation of Ender’s exploitation when he says,” Orson Scott Card presents a harrowing tale of abuse. Ender’s parents and older brother (. . .) either ignore the abuse of Ender or participate in it” (Kessel 1). No one contributes more to this abuse than his older brother, Peter. Along with his birth, jealousy and hatred are especially common towards Ender. This disapproving outlook is particularly apparent from Peter. Peter let’s Ender know his deep-set hatred when he whispers,” I could kill you like this. Just press and press until you’re dead. . .” (Card 12). Peter is slowly driving his knee into Ender’s stomach, but stops at his own will. Ender’s own brother doesn’t mind killing him. This relationship between Ender and his brother foreshadows more of what he will be encountering all throughout his life, whether he is ready to face the hardship or not. At school, he encounters a bully, Stilson, just after his monitor, which allows the International Fleet to watch Ender’s every action, is removed. He is first faced with seemingly impossible odds when a group of bullies all larger than Ender corners him. This encounter in the novel reveals a personal connection between Orson Scott Card and Ender as Card was also threatened by a bully at the same age. He is quoted recalling this encounter saying,” I was terrified and had no idea what to do. It didn’t even occur to me to fight him.” (Willett 18) Card is writing about what he should have done, living vicariously through Ender. Ender’s uses the isolation he’s so familiar with to convince Stilson he doesn’t need help in beating Ender down when he says,” You mean it takes this many of you to fight one Third?”...

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