Deconstructing the Dichotomy of Identity and Intent in Enders Game

Morgan Sander


Orson Scott Card, the author of Enders Game and its sequel Speaker for the Dead has stated that Ender, the main character in these novels, retains his innocence despite the genocide and other acts of violence that he commits. Card expresses his belief that a persons intent is the sole factor that should determine their guilt, and Ender retains good intention throughout the stories. However, this essay argues that the dichotomy of identities that Ender faces and the eventual reformation of his identity work against Cards proposed philosophy of intent. In observing Enders physical and emotional detachment from his crimes, his manipulation by the military, and his response to trauma, the essay debates Cards philosophy. It emphasizes Ender as a complex human being who is coming to terms with identity and guilt rather than a character that is simply good or evil. This exploration of the human condition is more profound, Sander argues, than the philosophy of intent the author proposes.

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