War, survival generate suspense in novel

Human nature is terrifyingly complex and yet very simple to understand.

As people, we are hardwired to fight for survival but at the same time we strive for compassion.

Orson Scott Card’s 1985 science fiction classic, “Ender’s Game,” explores the relationship between war and survival.

“Ender’s Game” is seemingly a novel about space travel and child soldiers, but in reality it is so much more.

The book delves into the very essence of human nature and rather than being terrifying, like most novels of the same subject, it is beautiful.

The protagonist, Andrew “Ender” Wiggins, begins his journey as one of six siblings.

However, he is more than the average child.

He was designed by the government to be a genius, as were his siblings. But unlike his siblings, he was born with an equal amount of hate and love in his heart.

Taken from his home as a child, Ender enters Battle School, where he is to be trained to be a soldier to fight in an impending war against an alien race, which is referred to as the “Buggers.”

As the runt of the school, Ender must analyze everyone and learn how to either befriend or destroy them.

The education of the school consists of games, in which the children learn the tactics of how to win in battle.

Pitted against each other in regularly scheduled battles, the school is divided into at least a dozen different armies.

Unknown to Ender, the teachers of the school have great plans for him.

They isolate, manipulate, and all but torture Ender in order to evolve him into the commander of their fantasies.

As a genius, Ender knows the mind games that are being played on him so he continues on in vicious education.

As time goes on, Ender must question himself as to if he is fighting for the love and protection of his home planet or if he truly is a murderer at heart.

The imagery within the novel is able to captivate the reader. The reader can run into battle with Ender’s army and feel the ever-looming pressure that war brings.

More than anything, the reader is able to feel for Ender because even though he is a soldier that is capable of horrible things, he is at heart a just a child who needs to be protected, but often is not.

Can the compassionate ever survive or does love destroy them?

In contrast, can survivors survive with so much hate within them?

If “Ender’s Game” can teach humanity anything, it is that we must find a balance between love and hate because even though hearts want to keep beating it is impossible for a broken heart to beat for long.

Paige Jurgensen / Columnist

Paige  Jurgensen can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com

“Ender’s Game” sends message to reader of finding a balance between love and hate.

Photo courtesy of Amazon