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Ender's Game - Discussion Questions

EndersOn March 28th, the Sci-Fi/Fantasy Book Club will discuss Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Here are some of the things we will consider.

About Ender & His Family

What kind of person is Ender? What kind of person would he like to be?

Ender never loses, but he is sometimes defeated. Discuss why this is not a contradiction. 

Peter and Valentine are polar opposites, but at the end of the story they work together. What do you think happens in the relationship between those two after Ender leaves for Battle School?

How does Ender make friends? How does he convince the other students to follow his leadership?

Society & Choices

All the characters in the story grapple with moral dilemmas and choices. Let's look at some of the characters (other than Ender) and their choices. What difficult moral conflicts do Ender's parents face? His brother and his sister? The military? The school staff? The students?What do you think about the actions of the adults that related to Ender and his peers?

Was it ethical for the adults to lie to and manipulate the children?

What do you think about the adults' attitudes toward the deaths and injuries suffered by the children at the Battle School?


Do you think that your parents would approve of you having a sensor implanted or going to Battle School?

Would you rather be up at the Battle School enduring those hardships but also in a position to do something about the alien attack or would you rather be on Earth having a comfortable life but not actively contributing to your own security?

Where does Ender choose to sleep in the school dormitory? What's his reason for that choice?

Was the attack on the buggers justified? What do you think? What does Ender think?

Why did Orson Scott Card continue the story after the final battle? Given that the sequel to the book is called "speaker for the dead" - what do you think that story will focus on?

How does Orson Scott Card handle the concepts of good and evil in the story?

Who Said What and Why?

“I don't care if I pass your test, I don't care if I follow your rules. If you can cheat, so can I. I won't let you beat me unfairly - I'll beat you unfairly first."

"In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them.... I destroy them."

"Peter, you're twelve years old. I'm ten. They have a word for people our age. They call us children and they treat us like mice."

"So the whole war is because we can't talk to each other."

Valentine is a sweetheart, Graff is gruff. Discuss some of the other names and nicknames in the book. What do the names tell us about the characters?

About the genre

To which of the two genres (Science Fiction or Fantasy) does Ender's Game belong? What sub-genre labels might also apply?

Orson Scott Card first wrote Ender's Game as a short story in the 1970s and as a novel in 1985.  He was able to imagine technology that we use today, like the iPad and interactive, multi-player video games. What do you think about how well he imagined the technology that we use today? What do you think about some of the technology in the book that doesn't yet exist? When do you think it will exist?

Why are there so few girls at the Battle School? Do you think that's a flaw in the book? The good and kind characters are girls and the one pacifist is from another culture. Do you think this is stereotyping?

Do you think that in 100 years America will be the superpower calling the shots to save the whole Earth?