Ender’s Game: Love, Goodness

Speaker: Brent Gibson, U of Mary Hardin-Baylor (since 1999)
“Goodness, Innocence, and Love in Ender’s Game”

best authors know each story has a message of its own.
Some authors want to tell and interpret their story.
Problem when interpreter is not as strong as storytelling.
Places in text where author loses control of the text = misspeaking

Card’s interpretation problematic.
Ender Wiggin as a good person who loves his enemies.
Ender = Christ-figure
BUT Ender is not good, not innocent, and does not love his enemies. Plus, he doesn’t have to save the world.
Disparity between what said about Ender and what Ender does.

Barbara Johnson critiques Billy Budd “discrepancy btw character and action”


Love = feeling? Totally disconnected from actions.

Far from Aristotle’s definition and of Christian love.

Mt. 5:44 Jesus says “love your enemies.” Giving life for enemies is highest form of love.

Empathy followed by destruction.

Is he innocent?
To be innocent is to not know.
Ender does know.
Ender doesn’t know that he is committing genocide.
Ender did know that he was being called to commit genocide. Kill or be killed, said the generals.
“The real decision is inevitable. If one of us has to be destroyed, …”
Ender’s response makes clear he is committed. “As for me, I am in favor of surviving.”

What kind of person is Ender?
How do you read all the descriptions of Ender as good?

Goodness = virtue (Aristotle)? Ender doesn’t meet this.
Goodness related to intention? Ender doesn’t meet this.

Ender’s actions Nietschian

Notes from CCTE 2016: Literature 5 Biblical Themes

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