Reaction to Ender's Game

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haysx065
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Reaction to Ender's Game

Postby haysx065 » Tue Aug 24, 2010 9:42 pm

Assignment for a class: let me know what you think I should know about Ender's Game and the series. :)

My reaction to Ender's Game was a positive one. Similar to the last time I read it, I enjoyed and was drawn into the story. I especially connected to Petra's character, feeling similar in personality. I also enjoyed Valentine. Are there any more books that focus partially upon characters like these?

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Postby Janus%TheDoorman » Wed Aug 25, 2010 1:13 am

I remember reading through and feeling strangely curious about Petra's character. She got more attention than a lot of Ender's jeesh, but still wasn't central to Ender's time at Battle School. It seemed like OSC had a couple of different directions he wanted to go with her, and none of them panned out. At first she seemed like just a perfunctory character to introduce Ender to Bonso, and then like she was the potential mother figure that Graff was insistent he not have, and towards the end of EG I got the feeling she was supposed to be a sort of Action Girl, pushing herself past her breaking point.

In Shadow, her character is pretty bland. There's some suggestion that she's haunted by having been the one of Ender's jeesh who broke, but other than that there's not much to the character at all. The only impression she leaves is of a character I care far less about than maybe OSC intended.
"But at any rate, the point is that God is what nobody admits to being, and everybody really is."
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Postby Psudo » Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:32 pm

I found Petra far more interesting than Janus did. I got the impression that Petra was an intensely aggressive girl who, in the end, didn't fit in anywhere. She's outcast from her gender just being in the battle school, and she's outcast from males because she's such an obscure example of something they don't know. She and Ender got along in Salamander because they were both outcasts, and they related on that level. At that point, Petra was the example of "so good they can't ignore you" that Ender wanted to be, and he emulated her. Later, her persistent history as the outcast was finally smoothing out as she commanded her own army, but Ender's Dragons beat her embarrassingly. She took the setback as a personal betrayal until Ender beat everyone at least as badly, making her actually look good by comparison. Still, it ensured she was on the outside again.

The name Petra is the feminine form of Peter. Just as St. Peter was the rock who faltered and denied knowing Christ on the cross, Petra broke twice; once when she almost baited Ender into a beating in the halls, and again when she froze up on Eros. It couldn't be done. No one could have endured what Ender put Petra through, trusting her with the bulk of his armies again and again. Bean ponders that in Shadow. She is a rock, but not infallible.

Even when she goes home again in Shadow of the Hegemon, she doesn't fit there either. Her only "home" is in the battle school, so she clings to that. All the Jeesh does, except Ender himself and only because Valentine goes with him. Petra is ostracized under Achilles, then with Bean from the world. Bean is the only home she has ever found, and she loses him too. Fate just won't let her fit, even in the sequels.

There are only two significant female characters in Ender's Game: Petra and Valentine. Valentine is almost an angel, beautiful and brilliant and benevolent, lovely in every way. Petra is the counter-example, the strong, gritty, sarcastic side of femininity, everything about women that doesn't fit in man's ideal, and but which surprises and attracts us to women we actually meet in the real world. She adds dramatic depth to OSC's portrait of the fairer sex.


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