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Ender's Game, by Orson Scott Card.

Book Themes and Writing Topics:
Ideas for the writing project... they should
1. cause explore deeper meanings & connections
2. organize, expand, and consolidate your ideas
3. strengthen and demonstrate your ability to communicate effectively through writing
-the magnitude of this should reflect the time invested... most of first quarter

Essay Timeline:
  1. Propose an essay topic -- November 5, 2013
  2. Class-wide discussion of topic ideas -- November 6, 2013
  3. Pre-write (things to cover in your topic) -- November 7, 2013
  4. Outline (an organized pre-write) -- November 8, 2013
  5. Expanded outline (outline with content phrases) -- November 12
  6. Draft (paragraphs) -- November 21
  7. Final (edited & revised draft) -- November 22

Ender's Game Writing Project Ideas


1. What effect does the setting have on the mood of the novel? How is it significant that so much of the story takes place off of Earth?
2. Compare and contrast the ways in which the children at Battle School act like children on Earth. To what extent does the novel correctly reflect the behavior and thoughts of children?
3. How did Card draw on actual historical events in the novel and what is the overall effect of having these in the novel?
4. In what ways is Ender’s Game similar to other science fiction? In what ways is it different?
5. Is isolation important for creativity and/ or leadership? Could Ender have become as good as he was through different tactics?
6. Use either Locke’s or Demosthenes’ reasoning to argue in favor or against one of the major topics in the book (what should be done about the political division on Earth, population restriction laws, etc).
7. Compare and contrast Ender and Peter. Is there as much a difference between them as Valentine insists there is?
8. What is the role of the games (the video games, the fantasy game, the battles) in Battle School?
9. Discuss how the traditional rites accompanying a death in a particular religion are similar or different to those of Speaker for the Dead.
10. How is point of view in the novel used to control the reader’s reaction to events? How would Ender, the buggers, or other characters be seen from another’s perspective?

From Schmoop:  Jump-off page of themes

From SparkNotes:  List of themes

From GradeSaver:
  1. Does Ender have more of Valentine's personality or Peter's? What characteristics are more characteristic of Valentine or Peter? What are Ender's unique qualities?
  2. Mazer suggests that one's best teacher is one's enemy. Who are the most effective teachers in the novel, and why?
  3. How innocent or guilty are the buggers for killing innocent humans, presuming they did not know that the humans were intelligent beings rather than, say, bugs?
  4. Put yourself in the position of world leader. Given what your civilization knows about the buggers and their invasions, what would you do? What information from the novel would lead to different courses of action? Which information did world leaders have when they decided to send a fleet towards the bugger worlds? Was there any opportunity for peace, or was a surprise attack the only realistic option?
  5. Consider the abilities of the young children--most of all, Ender and his siblings, and Bean. Does the educational system of the future push children to meet their full potential--and does Card seem to indict today's educational system for making school too easy? Compare, for example, Plato's ideas for educating the most able children to become leaders in the Republic, and what you know about the Spartan educational system. Is it true, as Plato and others suggest, that in becoming a tool of society, one sacrifices one's personal goals?
  6. Was it the right strategy for the adults to trick Ender into fighting the buggers?
  7. Ender is a great leader, yet he is alone. What is it that makes a leader in some way inevitably unable to be a friend of his followers?
  8. What do you think of Ender's observation that "Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth"?
  9. As the bugger war ends, suppressed conflicts break out on Earth. In the novel, what is the unifying effect of having a common enemy?
  10. In the beginning of the novel, Graff tells Ender, "Human beings are free except when humanity needs them." Do you think that Graff was right in his assessment of this aspect of the human condition? Can anyone become fully free of responsibility to humanity, even if he seems to have no skills that are of use? In what ways is Ender free?
  11. Does anyone represent "good" or "evil" unambiguously in the novel? Are there any values that the novel suggests are universal, as suggested by a common value shared by the humans and the buggers?

EG Vocabulary Form & Results

1. Character Chart (instructions)

You Know You've Read Well If You...

Chapter 1:  Third
  1. Know what a monitor is and why Ender might have one.
  2. Know what a desk is by comparison to something in your life.
  3. Can explain what Ender does to "forestall vengeance" from Stilson & gang
Chapter 2: Peter
  1. Can describe the relationships between the siblings (Ender, Valentine, and Peter)
  2. Get a sense of the reasons for Peter's resentment as well as his love (or empathy) for Ender
Chapter 3: Graff
  1. Can explain why Ender's parents were "allowed" to have him.
  2. Compare Graff and the International Fleet to comparable things in our world today.
  3. Can explain what Battle School is for.
  4. Understand the reason why Graff was so honest with Ender and gave him the choice whether or not to go to Battle School.
Chapter 4: Launch
  1. Understand the dialog at the beginning of the chapter... in this case about how to treat Ender and why.
  2. Can explain how Ender reacts to the lack of gravity.
  3. What Ender does to the kid who sat behind him and was annoying; also, how Ender feels about it (afterwards).
Chapter 5: Games
  1. Can explain the following terms and ideas:  Dap as "mom", which way is down, what a launchie is, red yellow yellow, icing out.
  2. When and why Ender counts doubles
  3. Explain what kind of person Bernard is (personality, social role, strengths/insecurities, etc).
  4. Understand how the last sentence in the chapter is poigniant.
Chapter 6: The Giant's Drink
  1. ...can describe a battle suit.
  2. ...can explain how Ender's and Alai's actions and interactions in the battle room are different from those of the other launchies.
  3. ...can explain how Ender got beyond the "which drink" choice presented by the giant.

Chapter 7:  Salamander

  1. ...feel empathy; understand why Ender is sad about being transferred out of his launch group.
  2. Give two examples from the book about suppressed religion. What does this tell you about the their society?
  3. What is Ender’s experience in Fairyland? How is it connected to Ender’s real life?
  4. Ender makes a reference about “just living”; what does he mean by this?
  5. Give at least three examples from the book that show Ender’s growing confidence at Battle School?
  6. Petra says, “They never tell you more truth than they have to.” What does this mean, and how is this different from lying?
  7. When Ender is speaking to Bonzo in private the author talks about Bonzo’s hot anger vs. Ender’s cold anger. Explain the difference between the two and how one might serve a commander better.

Chapter 8: Rat

Chapter 9: Locke and Demonsthenes

Chapter 10: Dragon

Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici

Themes and Topics for Deep Investigation
  1. Child Soldiers (from Ms West):  
  2. Ender's battle between his "good" side and his "bad" side
  3. The concept of "greater good" and "the end justifies the means"
  1. The AudioBook on YouTube (5 hours)
  2. Marvel Comic
  8. YouTube:  The emotional price of war

Movie Reviews: