Free Study Guide for Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card-BookNotes

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LITERARY ELEMENTS

 

SETTING

The novel starts off on Earth, with scenes at the school and the Wiggin home. Little attention is given to the details of this setting, not even the name of the city, and so it comes across as a standard American neighborhood. The shuttle ride introduces Ender to space environments. This involves a degree of disorientation, and it is on the shuttle that Ender learns how to change his perspective as to which direction is up in his setting.

Battle School is composed of army barracks with rows of bunk beds; dining halls one for soldiers and one for commanders, with scoreboards decorating both; the game room, with various video games for the children to play; battlerooms, where the children have practice and battles in zero gravity; and a gym with shower rooms, where Ender and Bonzo fight. There is also an area for teachers’ quarters, which the children never go to, but it is presumably in this vicinity where the conversations between Graff and other adults takes place. Although the Battle School is a very controlled setting, Ender comes to realize that the adults will use this control to put him through trials, not to prevent violence and conflict.

Back on Earth, the Wiggin family has moved out to the country in North Carolina. It is in these woods where Valentine comes across a squirrel that Peter tortured to death, and where the two have their discussion, leading to the creation of the Locke and Demosthenes identities. Hence, what goes on in the woods is seen as removed from what is normally expected in a society. There is also a scene when Graff comes to Valentine’s school, with the school serving as a place which reestablishes authority over the children, as seen in Valentine’s consent to write the letter to Ender even though she regrets it.

When Ender returns to Earth on leave before going to Command School, he too goes to North Carolina. There, secluded in the wilderness, is a large house, overlooking lakes on either side. Although there are wasps that Ender says will sting without provocation, the setting is peaceful, allowing Ender the mental recovery and relaxation he needs. Though at first, the sunlight, different gravity, and ground (which did not curve upwards like at Battle School) feel unfamiliar to him, it is here that Ender learns to love Earth.

The shuttle ride to Eros, where Command School is located, is long and Ender and Graff begin to feel enclosed and tired of the space. Eros, built by the buggers, is not much better; the low ceilings, narrow passages, downward-sloping floor, and lower gravity make Ender uncomfortable. The focus of activity here is in the simulation rooms, where, it turns out, Ender is actually commanding the real fleets.

When he leaves Eros, it is not for Earth, but for the first human colony, on a former bugger world, which will become known as Ender’s World. While looking for a location for another group of colonists, Ender discovers a landscape mimicking that in the fantasy game he played at Battle School. The setting here is used by the buggers to communicate with Ender and lead him to the discovery of their hive queen.


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