“It was funny. The adults taking all this so seriously, and the children playing along, playing along, believing it too until suddenly the adults went too far, tried too hard, and the children could see through their game.” – Ender’s Game
Ender is one of thousands of child prodigies engineered by the government whose sole purpose is to be skilled in the art of war. At age six, he is transported to the orbiting Battle School in space that turns these young geniuses into fierce soldiers. Their training takes the form of “games,” where two teams face one another in an anti-gravity arena and attempt to reach the other team’s gate first. After advancing to the top of the games, Ender quickly discovers that the teachers feel he has the perfect combination of cunning, aggression, and sympathy to be Earth’s commander in the inevitable war against the hostile aliens.
Ender’s Game is a classic young adult sci-fi novel that has continued to top science fiction and fantasy lists since it was published in 1985. Considering I recently read The Hunger Games trilogy, I saw many parallels between the two works (besides both being young adult fiction and occuring in the future). For example, the dichotomy between the children and the adults within the Battle and Command Schools is like the relationship between the tributes and the Capitol in The Hunger Games. The children and tributes are manipulated for the benefit of the adults and the Capitol, and the true intentions of the superiors are protected by standing traditions of secrecy. You could replace each instance of adults with “Capitol” and children with “tributes” in the quote excerpted from Ender’s Game at the top of this post and it could be dropped anywhere into the text of Hunger Games. In both cases, the games are used for symbolic purposes to illustrate a system of power and control.
Ultimately, despite Ender’s genius abilities it seems he lets the adults manipulate him at their will and never makes a definitive rebellion. He is no Katniss Everdeen.
Image Source: Good Reads