Ender's Guilt

Discuss all things pertaining to the EnderVerse milieu.

For which would you feel the most guilt?

Killing Stilson and Bonzo
8
31%
The (near) xenocide of the formics
6
23%
The human lives lost due to your decisions during the Third Invasion
11
42%
Wouldn't feel guilt for any
1
4%
 
Total votes: 26

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Ender's Guilt

Postby neo-dragon » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:02 pm

Okay, quick poll question. If you were in Ender's place, which, if any, would you feel the most guilt for?
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Postby spanish_rockette » Mon Sep 13, 2010 9:25 pm

sure as hell, the killing of stilson and bonzo. ender was never told directly about their deaths, he had to kinda in a way find out himself. then he finally was told i a way. but if i were in his shoes, i would be haunted for life.
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Postby Janus%TheDoorman » Tue Sep 14, 2010 1:07 am

Probably Stilson and Bonso. The others are much easier to rationalize away, especially seeing as how Ender's involvement never got much more visceral than a video game - if one they were forced to play at literally breakneck pace. Stilson and Bonso would feel much more real to me, and much more like I had screwed up somewhere along the line and not prevented those fights before they broke out - they're the only ones where the deaths are accidental, realistically avoidable whereas the Buggers and the IF fleetmen were calculated costs of doing war.
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Postby lennyathena » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:38 pm

stilson and bonzo were avoidable, truly avoidable. ender could have run away the day he killed stilson. and after he fought salamander and "taunted" them he realized too late that he had pushed Bonzo too far. and I think in the end, they were the two deaths that really haunted him the most - not including the formic porn of course. he was later "forgiven" for his near-xenocide of the buggers and he pieced himself together over that, but the deaths of stilson and bonzo lingered with him his whole life.

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Ender's Guilt Poll

Postby simic004 » Mon Dec 13, 2010 11:45 am

If I were in his shoes I would feel more guilty about the loss of soldiers vs the killing of Bonzo and Stilson and the bugger extermination. Now I know it would be quite traumatic knowing you killed two people with your bare hands but the way I see it they attacked him, and if it were me in his shoes I'd still feel guilty but not as much as one might think because it was self defense. Also if I were in his shoes I actually wouldn't feel any guilt about exterminating the buggers because they were our enemy, and if they almost wiped out our species twice before I'd feel no guilt in wiping out them. Therefore I would feel guilty about the loss of the troops resulting from playing a game. I say this because we all know it's impossible to fight a war without casualties, we just aren't prepared for so many to die, and finding out afterwards that your game involved peoples lives, I think he would feel accountable for those who died needlessly, and would have used different strategies for victory, that could've resulted in fewer losses of life.

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Postby JohnLocke » Sun Dec 26, 2010 9:32 am

I agree with Simic. I could justify killing Stilson and Bonzo because I was protecting myself from harm and the buggers nearly wiped out my entire species....TWICE. The killing of the soldiers would have wounded my conscience the most because Ender could have easily used another strategy to destroy the buggers with fewer human casualties but he just wanted it to all be over which unforunately led to the result of hundreds of deaths. Knowing that I killed all of those men( unintentionally but killed them nonetheless) because I was tired of dealing with it would have followed me throughout my entire life.
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Postby neo-dragon » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:59 pm

I don't really think that there was another strategy that Ender could have used in the final battle.
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Postby JohnLocke » Sun Dec 26, 2010 10:35 pm

Well it's a hypothetical question that no one will really know but the whole reason that Ender thought up the idea was from sheer frustration. If Ender would have gathered together his elite group, they may have come up with something eventually. I think that Ender knows he could have formulated another strategy if emotions wouldn't have clouded his judgement, and that is why the death of the soldiers would affect his conscience more then the genocide of the buggers or the accidental murders of Bonzo and Stilson.
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Postby neo-dragon » Sun Dec 26, 2010 11:56 pm

I know it's all just speculation but since they were outnumbered something crazy like 1000 to 1 in the final battle, taking out the planet was the only way to win. No ship in the vicinity would have survived that, so everyone there was doomed from the start. If Ender had been worried about protecting lives, he probably would have played it too safe to get close to the planet, and his forces would have ben wiped out by force of numbers anyway.
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Postby JohnLocke » Mon Dec 27, 2010 11:07 am

That is true. I didnt really take numbers into consideration, but you cant say that Ender was thinking straight in the first place. He came to the conclusion that it was the best thing to do not because it WAS, but because his feelings of anger and frustration led him to that decision. In hindsight maybe Ender believes another route could have been taken to avoid human casualties(maybe not). But I personally would still feel guilty for the loss of so many because of my recklessness.
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Postby Jeesh_girl15 » Mon Dec 27, 2010 3:49 pm

Near xenocide, definitely. In any war, there are going to be casualties. (And I'm not trying to be blunt, but we can recover from that. People move on.) It's the nearly wiping out a whole species that would strike me as most guilt-provoking.

As for Stilson and Bonzo... It could go either way, very guilty or dismissive (but I'm not saying it wasn't big deal that he killed them). Ender was fully aware of his actions, as opposed to when he was fighting while under the impression that it was all a game (or he may have considered it training for the "real" Formic invasion...). But his actions were justified as self-defense. However, after finding out the fighting was real, I would still say I would be more guilty about the near xenocide.
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Postby ptr.arkanian » Tue Jan 11, 2011 9:54 pm

this is a clever question.

i think, as a young boy with emotions- Ender should be most upset about Bonzo and Stilston. Although they weren't nice, he did know them personally. And unlike those killed as a necesary sacrifice during the third invasion, Bonzo and Stilston didn't consent to their fate. The people on those star ships knew that they were risking the chance of dying.

Yet, Ender, in many ways, is different. His sympathy lies with the formics. They had twice attempted to wipe out the entire human race, and yet Ender feels sorry for them. I believe that this is because he relates to them in many ways. At a young age, Ender unknowingly murdered Bonzo and Stilston which is why he forgives the formics for the first and second invasion. They didn't understand what they were harming. Humanity abused the formics just like Peter abused Ender as a child. It is Ender's emotional connection to the formics that causes them to sympathize with the aliens which the rest of humanity hated.
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Postby Kill Devil Hill » Sat Feb 19, 2011 11:45 am

I voted the third option. As someone who has a soft spot for soldiers, it would kill me to know that I had unwittingly allowed the deaths of so many soldiers who had placed all of their trust upon me. Second place would go to the Formics. As for Stilson and Bonzo, I disliked the way they treated Ender so much that I would've killed them myself if Ender hadn't.

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Postby TheTranskinator » Wed Mar 09, 2011 9:47 pm

Like some of those before me, I believe that the death's of Stilson and Bonzo were in self defense (Bonzo's a bit more than Stilson. But Stilson still started the fight, and Ender truly believed he had to hurt him. Not his fault they gave him steel toe boots) The Formics were attacking all of the human race. However the fact that Ender could have saved one more ship, saved one more human, been one bit more careful, more aware. That would gnaw at me forever. I think thats what he feels most guilty about.

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Postby piers_styx » Mon Apr 25, 2011 7:32 pm

I wouldn't feel particularly guilty about any of it. Ender didn't mean to kill Stilson or Bonzo, though was trying to kill him. I especially wouldn't feel guilty about Bonzo. That was almost a case of straight kill or be killed. And everything else I simply didn't know about. Graff and Rackham really bear the weight of guilt for everything that happened in the Third Invasion.
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Re: Ender's Guilt

Postby OSCjunkie » Sat Oct 15, 2011 8:19 pm

I think all those deaths would haunt me, but I chose the soldiers. Its one thing to kill the enemy and something else to know that your friends/allies died because you messed up. I would've said Stilson if he weren't tied to Bonzo. Stilson was just a bratty, popular kid going through a bully faze (like most popular kids do). He had no training and probably wouldn't have done anything worse that given Ender a swirly. Bonzo, on the other hand, had to die. He was a highly trained phsyco who litteraly had Ender cornered. Whether he would have actually killed Ender is not the point. He had the intent to do serious damage and Ender had the right to use extreme force to protect himself. Stilson was a child acting like a child. I feel bad for him. Bonzo, not so much.
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Re: Ender's Guilt

Postby Platypi007 » Sun Oct 16, 2011 7:07 pm

While all three can be rationalized away: The boys attacked him, it was self defense. The buggers started a war with the humans, again, self defense. The soldiers knew what the risks were when they signed up. However, I am sure that any person in his shoes, psychopathy and shock aside, would feel some guilt over all of them (possible exception of the buggers, the fear and vilification of them in the culture Ender grew up in was great) but I think that the death of the soldiers, being innocent of offense against me, would be the greatest. (The boys attacked directly, the Buggers attacked Earth in the past and were at war with humanity in the present.)

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Re: Ender's Guilt

Postby neo-dragon » Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:18 am

Stilson was just a bratty, popular kid going through a bully faze (like most popular kids do). He had no training and probably wouldn't have done anything worse that given Ender a swirly.
That's a good point, but let's not forget that Ender was also just a kid, and at that point he didn't have any training either, nor had he faced any life or death situations (aside from Peter's threats which were never backed up by action). To a small child, a gang of bigger kids threatening to do you any harm is no doubt terrifying.

Nevertheless. I do agree with what you're saying. In fact, some time ago I think I made a thread (or perhaps just a post) about how Ender's encounter with Stilson is the one time when he did NOT understand his enemy. As you said, it's unlikely that Stilson would have inflicted serious harm on him, so unlike with Bonzo and the Buggers, Ender's response was quite disproportionate to the threat.
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Re: Ender's Guilt

Postby Mich » Mon Oct 17, 2011 6:38 pm

Nevertheless. I do agree with what you're saying. In fact, some time ago I think I made a thread (or perhaps just a post) about how Ender's encounter with Stilson is the one time when he did NOT understand his enemy. As you said, it's unlikely that Stilson would have inflicted serious harm on him, so unlike with Bonzo and the Buggers, Ender's response was quite disproportionate to the threat.
Wow, that's a very interesting point. I know that I'm going to forget about it next time someone brings it up, as I may already have done so if you've brought it up before, but I just wanted to say that's a rather earth-shattering revelation for me.
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