Ender's Game Discussion Questions

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Hello everyone! Here are the discussion questions for tomorrow's livestream for Ender's Game. We're really excited to talk about it, and we'd love to hear your responses to some of these before we get started tomorrow.

--What is keeping girls out of battle school? Graff suggests that girls don't often pass the tests to get in, so what kinds of tests are given? If they're physical tests, why is that important for IF officers? If they're temperament tests, why is Petra the only girl and why is she used as a foil to Val? Also, where are the female teachers at battle school? I counted one.

--What is going on with the weird Wiggin love/hate triangle? Val and Ender have a special relationship but then she feels like she cheats on Ender with Peter and uses that kind of language. And Ender connects Peter (and Val) to the snake in the fantasy game, kissed Peter as the snake and Val kisses him, so that's odd.

--Battle school is presented as humanity's best defense to kill the buggers/advance the species. There is lots of discussion about biology and evolution, especially in relation to the Bugger culture, and talk of having enough humans (reproducing) to spread throughout the stars. Given that, why is Battle School so homoerotic--or at the very least homosocial? There is lots of boy on boy love (Ender and Alai, Bean and Ender, Dink and Ender) and lots of talk about anal and asses. Bernard talking about Shen's butt, Bonzo (Bonito-pretty boy) telling Ender he'll have his ass, the very rapey shower scene, and other examples abound. Sure, "boys will be boys" and "military bonding" answer some of this, but there is a LOT of sexual tension up in battle school and none of it involves women.

--Ender's almost constant feminization: his mental/psychic connection with the hive queen and Val, his constant crying/trying not to cry, his empathic abilities allowing him to destroy his enemies, the descriptions of Bonzo, Bean, and Peter through his eyes as beautiful boys, his multiple rebirths into different armies and new situations where he is often naked or jokes about being naked, his role as mother to the buggers, hating violence, and so on. Any one of these would be an interesting choice for a male character but with all these and more, what is Card trying to say about Ender's gender (that's a tongue twister)?