This is the final week of the series “Breaking Down Dystopia” by the One Room Bloggers. On week one, I talked about the supposedly perfect world of Enders Game. On week two, I discussed the breakdown of the world. Basically, what fell apart and what went wrong. This week I will tell you all about what I think that the author was trying to teach us through the book.
So, the basic premise of the book implied that they were using children for soldiers, because, there was a theory that the children thought in different ways than adults and as such were more fit to fight the Formics, aka, the Buggers (the alien race that was growing larger and could potentially invade earth a second time, causing massive casualties and damage). The commanders in Battle School saw Ender through surveillance and they noticed his brutality and ruthlessness. They recruited him to the school and trained him rigorously. After about a year they transferred him to a small moon Eros, that used to be a former base of the Buggers. There, he received further training from the hero of the I.F., Mazer Rackam.
I think the author of Enders Game wanted us to contemplate three big questions: what is a just war, is the good of one person worth sacrificing for the good of many people, and is it acceptable to have child soldiers. This book, when read properly, is a shocking book. Children in a war that is designed to annihilate an entire race that is posing no immediate threat? That is some serious stuff. First, was the war on the Buggers a just war? I think that is was not. There was no immediate threat posed by the Formics. So far, they were peaceful and unthreatening. There was no need to attack them. Second, is the good of the one person worth sacrificing for the good of the world? Enders childhood was destroyed. He was about seven years old when he was enrolled in Battle School and about twelve when he finished. Was it really worth taking his early childhood and using him to defeat a possible threat to Earths future? I have mixed emotions on this question. Saving the world is certainly a good thing but taking a child out of his home to go in to the military is a bad thing. Lastly, is it acceptable to have children as soldiers? I think most, if not all people, would say that the answer is an unequivocal “NO!!!” Children should not have to bear the horrors of war.
Enders Game will make you think very hard. The whole book is one big ethical dilemma. It is a very serious book talking about some very serious stuff!
I hope this series, Breaking Down Dystopia, will encourage you to take a closer look at the dystopian novels that are flooding into the young peoples section in our local library’s.