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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
Bridget is a film student who looks deeper at television and film, providing reviews, insights, and more.
The Problem of Conscience and Ender's Game
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About this blog
By Bridget LaMonica

Bridget is a Media Communication and Technology grad from East Stroudsburg University. She is now continuing her education with a graduate program in Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Bridget loves television and ...

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Bridget is a Media Communication and Technology grad from East Stroudsburg University. She is now continuing her education with a graduate program in Film and Television at the Savannah College of Art & Design. Bridget loves television and movies, and is always annoying her friends when watching the tube because she frequently asks “How did they do that?” or making predictions on whether a TV show will live past its first season. In order to avoid this habit, she now keeps this blog.

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By Bridget LaMonica
April 5, 2014 12:01 a.m.



There are two major problems with conscience in Ender's Game. The first is present in the plot. The second is in real life. Here there be spoilers, folks. You have been warned.

Let me preface this by explaining how I first met Ender. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card was required reading for a Young Adult Literature class I took at ESU. When the book was taken off the reading list due to time constraints, I read the book anyway, wondering why this science fiction story was such a big deal (that, plus I'm a self-professed scifi nerd). What I discovered was a remarkable, exciting book full of nuances and depth I wasn't expecting. Ender is an exceptionally sympathetic character; a young boy taken into battle school to learn how to be the ultimate commander who will defeat an alien nemesis. Ender, however, does not enjoy warfare. He resents the situation he is in, but since he is great at understanding his enemy and coming up with strategies, he rises in the ranks immediately.

Spoilers! I already warned you.

When Ender and his comrades get to the final level of training, they play a realistic simulation meant to mimic their upcoming battles with the alien enemy. It is only after the final simulation that Ender is told these were actual battles and that real soldiers were lost. Ender also understood that the aliens, the Formics, were not as dangerous as we thought. He sympathizes with them, and is the first to truly get why this genocide was terrible. Ender unknowingly became the greatest battle leader in the history of Earth, and because he eventually reveals to the world through his writings that this genocide was wrong, he becomes the most hated figure in history.

That brief summary can hardly touch upon the significance of the moral choices and consequences put forth in the book/movie, and I didn't even mention the subplot of Violet and Peter using Internet blogs to gain political favor (not shown in the movie version). The story has merit, and teaches that all beings should be treated as equals.

This makes it all the more surprising how anti-gay Orson Scott Card is.

How can the man who wrote this book hate anyone? It boggles my mind. I had already read at least a half dozen of his books before I found out about his personal views.

This came out to the public when the movie version of Ender's Game was advertised. People boycotted the film because of the author's views. I was conflicted. I may not agree with him, but I really liked the book.

 

Obligatory "The Book was better" quote.

It was then that I had to look at this from another angle--the filmmaker’s side. Just because Gavin Hood (director) used OSC's book as an adaptation does not mean he or his crew share this discrimination. These are people who are working stiffs, just like you and me. They don't deserve to have their work discredited because the author sucks. If that was the case, we should boycott all Kubrick and Hitchcock films. Those directors were terrible people in real life, but we count their work as art.

So I finally saw Ender's Game, rented from Redbox, and it was a faithful adaptation. It was a good movie, not amazing. I do wonder if the film could have had more of an impact if the author hadn't been so vocal about his opinions.

 

 

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