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Authors often shift perspectives throughout a story to develop ideas, themes, perspectives, and plots. Although shifts from character to character or setting to setting is sometimes difficult to follow, but it creates a complex and intriguing story which is full of suspense. An example of this is Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card which is a scientific novel set hundreds of years in the future in which earths population is so large there is a child limit and aliens have attacked earth two times. Most of this story is written through the eyes of a young lonely kid, Ender Wiggin, which provides great examples of shifting perspectives through the context of games. The common theme of games displays the difference between games and reality. The story presents examples of shifting perspectives through Valentine and Peter, Ender’s training at Battle School, and Ender’s connection to the buggers.
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In Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card Ender’s brother Peter and sister Valentine are portrayed as the devil and angel. Peter poses as a crazy lunatic with the embodiment of the devil which entices Ender to do bad. Since a young child Peter “has always been a husband man of pain, planting it, nurturing it, devouring it greedily when it was ripe”. On the other hand, their sister Valentine pushes Ender to do great things as which an angel would do. However, both characters shift perspectives and inadvertently play opposite roles. For example, Ender fears being like Peter so he uses his psychotic episodes to keep himself sane. Also, Valentine advises Ender to continue his training at battle school unknowing he would wipe out a peaceful alien race. Peter and Valentine also switch roles purposely. In a devious plan to mediate dangerous politics Val and Peter take on the personas of two political debaters. Peter plays the role of Locke, who mediates the debates, and Valentine plays Demosthenes, who calls for conflict. Valentines character, Demosthenes, made her realize that “there is more Peter in her than she could bear to admit” because of the conflict and war she has stirred up due to her debates. Locke’s involvement with Demosthenes made Peter realize “that I he really is a monster. I he doesn’t want to be a killer but I he just can’t help it”.
Throughout the novel Ender is faced with numerous challenges, but the most important challenges he faces are at Battle School. First, the fantasy game challenges him which adapts to his mind as he solves intricate puzzles until the Giant’s Drink. The Giant’s Drink is known to be impossible because the level simply cannot be solved legit. Ender played the game until he eventually cheats to win. Although Ender defeats the Giant’s game slowly perspectives shift and games turn into reality tormenting his mental state. The game makes him believe he was a murderer, Ender says “I’m a murderer, even when I play. Peter would be proud of me”. Later, Ender proceeds with the game only to be faced with even more challenges. The game involves Ender’s close family, Peter and Valentine. This may seem good; however, this makes Ender even more insane. Ender believes “This game knows too much about me. This game tells filthy lies. I am not Peter. I don’t have murder in my heart. And then a worse fear, that he was a killer, only better at it than Peter ever was; that it was this very trait that pleased the teachers. Ender is shifting perspectives from a point of view where the battle school is a game, to a perspective where he realizes that the school is using him. First, “Graff had deliberately set him up to be separate from the other boys, which made it impossible for him to be close to him”. This was meant for Ender to slowly become self reliant and develop into the school’s ideal soldier, but it made Ender seem like he is getting privilege from the school and they are spoiling. The privilege Ender receives from the teacher made him believe “The teacher got me into this-they can keep me safe”. However, he did not know the teachers would not protect him because if they did “he will never reach the peak of his abilities. Overall, the teachers and the school are manipulating and using Ender as a subject for their own good.
In the beginning of the story Ender and Peter play Buggers and Astronauts which may just seem like a simple game; however, it is an interpretation of reality. Although this seems like a harmless game it turns ruthless, Peter plans to actually hurt Ender. Peter’s intentions to hurt Ender stems from his hatred and jealousness towards his brother. This game represents reality and the idea that humans are the ones that hate the buggers and want to destroy them. This idea portrays the opposite of what humanity teaches, that the buggers are the threat to humans. Throughout the story Ender shifts perspectives from hating the buggers to developing compassion for them. Ender’s compassion for the buggers grew from the fantasy game and his dreams. In an attempt to communicate with earth after the damage the caused from the invasions and frightened of mass extinction they manage to connect to Ender through the fantasy game. Ender sees that the buggers were trying to communicate with him at a bugger planet when he sees that the giant and the castle from the fantasy game. While training at Command School the buggers also attempt to communicate to Ender through this dreams. Ender was having a hard to time dealing with the dreams and told Mazer “Mazer, I don’t want to keep dreaming these things. I’m afraid to sleep. I keep thinking of things I don’t want to remember. My whole life keeps playing out as if I were a recorder and someone else wanted to watch the most terrible parts of my life”. Mazer convinces Ender that the dreams were nothing, he told him “I’m putting you under a little pressure for the first time in your life. Your body is finding ways to compensate, that’s all. You’re a big boy now. It’s time to stop being afraid of the night”. Ultimately, Ender’s compassion for the buggers was strongest after he unknowingly defeat them. Ended was taken advantage of after saying “In the moment 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”. Ender’s teachers told him he was training through a simulator, but in reality each training session was a fight against the buggers. Ender didn’t know he destroys them until Mazer said “Ender, for the past few months you have been the battle commander of our fleets. This was the Third Invasion. There were no games, the battles were real, and the only enemy you fought was the buggers. You won every battle and today you finally fought at their home world, where the queen was, all the queens from all their colonies, they all were there and you destroyed them completely. They’ll never attack us again.” Ender felt awful for what he had done and would never had done it if he knew. Ender was upset and said “I didn’t want to kill them all. I didn’t want to kill anybody! I’m not a killer! You didn’t want me, you bastards, you wanted Peter, but you made me do it, you tricked me into it!”. In the end, Ender realized the buggers sorrow towards humanity and promised to bring their species back.
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The most prominent theme throughout the story was shifting perspectives from games to reality. First, Peter and Valentine had to use online personas to realize their true identities. Next, Ender’s challenges in Battle School made his biggest fear come true, of being like his brother Peter. The teachers treatment towards him made him realize Battle School wasn’t just a game, but was real life. Finally, Ender’s feelings towards the buggers shifted from hating them to feeling compassion for them. Overall, shifting perspectives from games to reality made Ender, Valentine, and Peter find their true identities and meanings in life.
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