Ender as a Victim in the Novel “Ender’s Game”
The novel “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card is set in the Earth’s future with the undetermined date. The novel was written as an effective representation of the literary category of military science fiction genre. The author created various characters in the novel that played their respective role. However, the protagonist of the novel remains Ender Wiggins. He has been shown as the youngest of all the characters. The character of Ender has been presented with the ability of decision-making. Ender is portrayed as a victim because he is manipulated by other characters to play the game, faces ruthlessness of his own brother and is forced to meet the expectations of others. The aim of the essay is to analyze the aspects of Ender’s life that made him a victim despite his heroic personality that developed over various chapters of the novel.
The readers of the novel can easily observe the tension that rose between the character of Ender Wiggins and his brother Peter right from the beginning of the novel (Card). The character of Peter is portrayed as someone who is insecure and has depicted ruthlessness towards his younger brother. The readers feel pity for the character of Ender and find him a victim because he does not want to cause harm to his brother despite all the struggle he goes through due to his brother’s arrogance. In addition, there is a process of contemplation that Ender goes through every time he witnesses complications. For instance, one time when he is bullied by Stilson, Ender eventually beats him aggressively. It is noted that he feels apologetic after the incident. Readers will also come to know the fact that Ender expresses his fear of killing others. However, he does not want to be like his brother who is aggressive (Doyle). It is ironic that a person like Ender, who does not want to fight with anyone ends up in a situation that he least expected to happen. It is only a victim who goes through situations like such where he does not want to be cruel but ends up becoming a killer.
At several instances in the novel, the readers will notice that Ender ends up as a negative character. In other words, people constantly push Ender to become negative and violent with his behavior towards others. In the later stages of the novel, the readers will notice that Ender becomes a commander of an army which is not his aspiration (Day). It becomes evident that all the aspects of a victim become a reality in the character development of Ender throughout the novel. In the case of Ender, he wants to be a nice person who spreads positivity in the world full of violence.
Furthermore, one can also consider the age of Ender to be tender which puts him in a position of a victim. An individual of such a young age does not have to make critical decisions (Card). In fact, a child who is hardly nine years old needs to be loved by his family. However, in the case of Ender, it is noted that he does make important decisions, follows a path of violence and endures ruthless behavior of his own siblings.
An individual who looks for power and control over others can never be considered as a victim. In the case of Ender, one can notice that he does not wish to gain power over other people. In fact, when he is given the command over the army, he feels deeply saddened (Doyle). The traits such as peacefulness and flexibility were evident in Ender’s personality. The control over the army and people has been a wish of many other characters of the novel.
Through the analysis of the above assertions from the novel, it comes to understanding that Ender, as a protagonist of the novel, undergoes many hardships. The behavior of his own brother makes him feel like an outcast. Despite his love for humanity and positivity, he ends up becoming an aggressive and violent person because of the expectations of others. At a tender age of nine, he has to take decisions which could impact humanity in general. All such factors make it evident that Ender has been a victim all along. His aspirations and ideas have been overshadowed by the expectations of other characters of the novel. The character of Ender shows us the essence of sacrifice one has to go through in order to contribute to the greater benefit. The selfless behavior of Ender qualifies him as a character who can become a victim. Despite his heroic nature, he has been under constant struggle which is a defining feature of a victim.
- Card, Orson Scott. Ender’s Game. New York: Tom Doherty Associates, 2013.
- Day, Sara K. “Liars and Cheats: Crossing the Lines of Childhood, Adulthood, and Morality in Ender’s Game.” English Studies in Canada 38.3/4, 2012, pp. 207-225.
- Doyle, Christine. “Orson Scott Card’s Ender and Bean: The Exceptional Child as Hero.” Children’s Literature in Education 35.4, 2004, pp. 301-318.