Notes on Ender's Game Themes

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Ender's Game Topic Tracking: Isolation

Chapter 1

Isolation 1: In chapter one, after half a lifetime of being "Monitored," Ender is finally alone. He muses at the possibility of being accepted by his older brother, Peter, who had shunned Ender. At school, already isolated as a Third, Ender is now without eyes and ears in the government protecting him. He faces the bully Stilson and his gang all alone. "His monitor wasn't perched on his neck, hearing what he heard and seeing what he saw... [The bullies] might even hit him now-no one could see them anymore, and so no one would come to Ender's rescue. There were advantages to the monitor, and he would miss them." (Chapter 1, pg 6) Ender ends up fighting Stilson.

Chapter 2

Isolation 2: When Ender's parents returns home, his father rejoices that he gets to keep his Third child. Ender cries out in his mind, "I'm sorry I lost the monitor and now you have three kids and no obvious explanation, so inconvenient for you..." (Chapter 1, pg 15)

Chapter 3

Isolation 3: Ender's presence causes tension in the Wiggin household. Despite renouncing their religions and secretly practicing them, the Wiggins feel in a peculiar bind of wanting to obey the law, wanting to defy the law for religious reasons, and defying them instead due to government requisition. Ender is by his very nature isolated.

Chapter 4

Isolation 4: As Graff indicates in the pre-action dialogue, he will isolate Ender before arrival at Battle School. By telling the rest of the launch group that Ender is the only excellent mind in the group, Graff quickly allows the rest of the group to become distrustful of Ender. After Ender is pokes by a sharp object repeatedly, and Ender responds by unintentionally breaking his arm, Graff further isolates Ender by insulting the launch crew and exalting Ender as the best.

Chapter 5

Isolation 5: Bernard helps isolate Ender some more, as the former builds a gang around himself. They torment him as often as they can, kicking, insulting, and excluding him. Ender allows himself to move to the fringes. After Ender undercuts Bernard's power, Ender is no longer isolated - he has a friend in Shen.

Chapter 6

Isolation 6: Ender finally is able to end his rift with Bernard, and is no longer tormented. He befriends Alai. He feels relief that not only is he not isolated, he is connected to the crew.

Chapter 7

Isolation 7: The intent of the adults, by promoting him to Salamander Army, was to isolate Ender and force him to rise to the occasion. Ender is remorseful at losing the camaraderie that he took so long to cultivate with the launch group. He is alone at Salamander, but luckily finds an acquaintance (if not a friend) in Petra.

Chapter 9

Isolation 8: Ender, because of his talents, and because of his amazing abilities, is again alone. Everyone treats him with respect, but he has no friends, nobody who allows him to be a friend. By virtue of his standing as the best student at Battle School, he is alone, and he pities himself for it. Graff explains why Ender is isolated to Valentine: "Isolation is-the optimum environment for creativity." (Chapter 9, pg 149)

Chapter 10

Isolation 9: After isolating Bean, Ender realizes that Graff had deliberately isolated Ender throughout his stay at Battle School. While Bonzo and Rose tried, they were not the first, they were simply part of Graff's deliberate strategy. Ender realizes that he was only then forced to prove that he was far better than everyone else and not only deserved to be at Battle School, but was its very best soldier.

Chapter 11

Isolation 10: After deliberately isolating himself to be a better commander to the crew, Ender brings Bean to his side of the isolation. He does this by confiding in Bean, giving Ender his first confidante and equal. Nonetheless, Ender feels isolated, and weight is growing upon him that only he seems to face.

Chapter 12

Isolation 11: Ender feels isolated, and Colonel Graff explains that he must be isolated to reach his potential. It is in this state of isolation that Ender faces Bonzo, and defeats his attacker soundly. Ender shuts down, and refuses to play by their rules in his final battle.

Chapter 13

Isolation 12: Ender is told why he is isolated, and Graff tells him that sometimes the isolation needs to end, so a soldier can be remember why he fights.

Chapter 14

Isolation 13: Ender is completely isolated during this final stage of his training. He is aware of it, and it starts to destroy him. He feels more isolated than ever, but is somewhat resigned to it.

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