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Ender's Game

"'The enemy is the only real teacher.'" -Mazer Rackham
by

Abigail Melton

on 5 March 2013

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Transcript of Ender's Game

Abigail Melton "'The enemy is the only real teacher.'" -Mazer Rackham
Self-pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in this world.
Helen Keller The opportunity to secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.
Sun Tzu He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy.
Socrates Your best friend and worst enemy are both in this room right now. It's not your neighbor, right or left - and it's not God or the devil - it's you.
Edwin Louis Cole Better is the enemy of good.
Voltaire If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles.
Sun Tzu "Changing the world is good for those who want their names in books. But being happy, that is for those who write their names in the lives of others, and hold the hearts of others as the treasure most dear."
— Orson Scott Card

"You’re not a human being until you value something more than the life of your body. And the greater the things you live and die for, the greater you are."
— Orson Scott Card Most everyone in life has an enemy. Whether our enemy is a human being, our ambiances, or ourself, we are all battling someone or something. Today in our 21st Century society we have numerous universal themes that are enemy-related. "You are your own worst enemy." "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." We've all heard of these. But a theme that is not spoken of as much, and one that I think is quite accurate and significant, is: "'The enemy is the only real teacher.'" This quote was spoken by Mazer Rackham. Throughout Ender's Game, this theme is prominent. At the beginning of the novel, Ender had an encounter with Stilson and his posse. Stilson bullied Ender for being a Third. Ender knew that responding to the boys' taunts would make the situation worse, so he remained silent. More notably, he decided to fight back. Stilson and his gang were the first to illustrate to him that when he is attacked, he needs to fight back. On the flipside, he was distressed, for he felt that he was just like Peter in his actions. He, at this point in time, was his own worst enemy. He was making himself believe he was just like Peter, who is vicious, sadistic, and cruel. On the launch going up to Battle School, Ender was being beat up on by the boys surrounding him. He grabbed one of the boys by the wrist and flipped him over the seat. He broke that boy's arm. He showed us again how he has learned to fight back when attacked by the enemy. Shortly following his arrival at Battle School, Ender took an interest in the game room. One day, he challenged a boy who had just won a game against his rival. He played the boy two out of three. The first time, he lost against the boy. The second time, he beat the boy, but just barely. But the last time he played the boy, he creamed him. That boy and the game were Ender’s “enemies” in this situation. By taking on the boy and the game he learned how adept, bright, and quick-witted he is. The novel also mentions how the players after him learned new techniques from what Ender had just shown them. Throughout the novel, Ender does Free Play, which we otherwise know as the game with the Giant, Fairyland, the castle, the playground, and “THE END OF THE WORLD,” along with other things. Free Play not only is enjoyable for those who play, but also gives a psychological assessment of each player. Ender was often profoundly disturbed by images he saw in Free Play, such as when he looked in the mirror and saw Peter’s face with blood dripping down his chin and a snake’s tail protruding from a corner of his mouth. Free Play taught Ender what was going on inside of his head and what his strengths and weaknesses were, whether he realized it or not. In Chapter 11, Veni Vidi Vici, Ender is commanding Dragon Army. In one week's period they fight seven straight battles and win them all. "Veni vidi vici" means, "I came; I saw; I conquered." Dragon Army went into each battle, noted the enemies weaknesses, and defeated them. They also left each battle having learned where their weaknesses and strengths were, and used said knowledge to improve upon their army. The wise words of Mazer Rackham, spoken towards the end of the novel: "'There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong.'" The world's not a very comfortable place if you have a nightmare to face.
Tommy Lee Jones Closure I believe that Orson Scott Card is trying to convey to us several concepts through this theme. We must understand that whatever or whoever we face- our circumstances, a person, or ourself- is going to teach us something. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Quite often we dislike our enemies for the same reasons we dislike ourselves. Our enemies show us our strengths and weaknesses, as well as their own.
The only way we can ever get better at something is to struggle through it and learn from our mistakes. The same idea applies in this theme, also. The only way we can become better and more educated people is to face the hardships in front of us and take them on full-force. And those hardships are our enemies because we deem them so, even though they teach us, make us stronger, and make us into better people. Only our enemies can do that for us. If we didn't have enemies, we would never truly "learn."
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