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Ender's Game | Study Guide

Orson Scott Card

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Ender's Game | Symbols



Buggers represent the unknown. Fear of the unknown is a powerful force. Everything done to Ender and the other children is justified by the bugger threat. On Earth, humanity works together as long as they fear the buggers. Once the bugger war is ended, war between human factions immediately breaks out. The buggers had vastly superior technology and far greater numbers. They are perceived as merciless and unstoppable. Yet when Ender finds the queen pupa, he learns they are very different from what humanity expected. When they realized humanity was a responsive species, they stopped attacking. They anticipated humanity's attack upon their planet, yet they accepted it as a consequence of their own actions. The queen believes buggers and humans can live in peace once they know each other, but Ender disagrees. He knows humanity's fear of the unknown will keep humans and buggers from living together easily.

Giant's Drink

The Giant's Drink game represents the unwinnable scenario. In a strategic sense, an unwinnable scenario forces students to make decisions under pressure. It represents the reality that sometimes a leader must decide between multiple bad options. Ender's entire life is an unwinnable scenario: He never has a good choice. In Giant's Drink he confronts his own fears. Ender fears he will end up like Peter, and the game uses that, but Ender beats it. By beating the unwinnable scenario and literally moving past "the end of the world," Ender finds a sort of freedom. The buggers also use the game to communicate with Ender when they are faced with their own unwinnable scenario.

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