Tag Archives: Enders-Game

No friends allowed

Enders game

Ender in the movie

Every time, Ender makes a friend, he gets cut off by the military leaders, who think that his intensive training precludes his need for such triviality. He must learn to depend on no one but himself to get out of every situation, Graeff reasons.

So when he is surrounded by bullies who could seriously injure himself, the teachers don’t rescue him. He’s left to his own wits.

The teachers praise him in front of the other trainees knowing this will create envy and jealousy.

When he makes a friend in a platoon, they switch him.

There are many elements of madness in Ender’s Game that seem to lift from Catch 22.

The kicker is that this heartless abuse works. At the end, Ender saves Earth from the attack of the buggers with his brilliant command of the international fleet.

They talked of stoning David. Amalekites had attacked his camp while he and his men were out. They had burned it, pillaged it and made off with everybody’s wife and children. David’s men were embittered.

Then David did something extraordinary. The Bible says he encouraged himself in the Lord. No one was there for him. He dug deep and found the resource to turn the defeat into a victory. He pursued the attackers and recovered everything and everyone unharmed.

Maybe God let’s his servants go through times of utter loneliness to bring out the best in them.


Ender was forcibly denied a normal childhood. He couldn’t play but had to train incessantly. He couldn’t make friends because kids were made into adversaries. His was a lonely road to pre-adolescent general.

His trainers did this because no one else could save the planet from the impending invasion of buggers in sci-fi classic Ender’s Game. Without Ender, the Earth doesn’t stand a chance.

Was it justified to deprive Ender his childhood? As with any classic, author Orson Scott Card leaves the answer up to the reader.

My major motivation in life is to be useful. Personally, this is greater than individual accolades, power or money. The Bible says God will greet us in Heaven with these words: “Well done! Enter into joy!” To serve God and people!

Maybe Mary and Joseph had plans for a happy, quiet life. But they had to give that up, because Mary had to give birth to the Savior of the world. They suffered scorn; she was pregnant before the wedding. They had to live in Egypt for a time. At the end of Jesus’ life, Mary agonized to watch the fruit of her womb die. She was useful to God.

What useful service will you deny to the world just because you want to conserve your life for you?


From a literature fanatic’s perspective

I loathe bad books. I drop them if the first paragraph is bad. On the other hand, I can re-read a good book seven times. I ponder it, extract its life’s lessons and determine to be a better person. I marvel at ambiguity, subtlety and irony, not infantile didacticism.

My 10th grade lit class just finished Heart of Darkness. The poor kids struggled through, but by the end, the light went on, and I hope they are better persons for it. The other grade read Ender’s Game, an easy book but also with some powerful truths. So far this year, the kids have studied Romeo & Juliet and Homer.

But there is one book whose literature remains unequaled. If Shakespeare is the uncontested king of English literature, this book is the universal emperor. It is the Bible.

You can re-read it all your life, and it will never lack depth. It will never cease to spout truths about human nature. It doesn’t gloss heroes’ despicable lapses. It belongs to the realism genre. It belongs to most every genre. Every classical author alludes to it, detractors feel the need to discredit it — and that’s not bad because on-going research eventually answers their criticism and shores up its validity. Attacking the Bible is flattery.

The worst thing you could do is ignore it.

Repressive regimes ban it. We have a free society (thank God!). We can freely read it without the government looking over our shoulder. While others long to pry open its pages, we leave — it would seem — long to conform to repression. We leave them shut.

In addition to  holding keys to wisdom, this book also holds the key to eternal life. Thank you for reading my blog! Won’t you take a moment to read God’s blog (the Bible)?

When they screw with your mind…

from the movie

After defeating every apparent enemy in the video game, Ender faces a mirror and sees his brother’s face. He shrieks with horror. The message is clear: Ender, you’re as cruel, ruthless, cold, calculating and power-hungry as Peter.

The video game is not the only thing to screw with his mind in Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card. At every turn, Col. Graff stacks the odds against the child genius in his attempts to prepare a general to fight the alien buggers. He is deprived of friends, allowed to be bullied, given the disadvantage in the battle room. Inevitably, he wins in the sci-fi story set to be a 2013 movie, but he chafes under the mind games.

It seems to me that God screws with our minds at times. Such is


the story of Job, who is deprived of knowing chapters 1 -3 of the book written about him that explains the bigger picture. It could have provided some solace. Such was the story of Joseph — and a host of other biblical heroes. All things work


together for the good… but when you’re going through the trial, it’s a mind game just to not explode.

So how does a child not turn to drugs when caught between parents in an acrimonious divorce? How do you keep outreaching zealously for God when your wife leaves you for no reason? How do you forgive when power-hungry church members accuse you falsely?

There is no easy answer. I personally like prayer. But what must be said is that an answer must be found. You must not burst

the book’s author

under pressure. Grace must remain intact through the furnace trial.

I was a literature major. I have never read a book that addresses this theme. It made me think profoundly. It brought comfort. (Spoiler alert) In the end, the mind games prepared Ender to defeat the enemy.