There’s an intriguing essay posted up over at Peachfront comparing Ender Wiggin, the young genius strategist of Orscon Scott Card’s sci-fi classic Ender’s Game, with that bugbear of Internet arguments everywhere, Adolf Hitler.
It’s the story of a young boy who was dreadfully abused by the grown-ups who wanted to mold him into an exemplary citizen. Forced to suppress his own emotions in order to avoid being paralyzed by trauma, he directed his energy into duty rather than sex or love. In time, he came to believe that his primary duty was to wipe out a species of gifted but incomprehensible aliens who had devastated his kind in a previous war. He found the idea of exterminating an entire race distasteful, of course. But since he believed it was required to save the people he defined as human, he put the entire weight of his formidable energy behind the effort to wipe out the aliens.
It’s an interesting point, but I think a reading of Ender’s Game really supports the direct Hitler comparison.
First of all, the Buggers of Ender’s Game are obviously not comparable to the Jews, or the Gypsies, or the Homosexuals, or any of the other “undesirables” Hitler wiped out. In Ender’s Game, the Buggers attack Earth, brutally eviscerating any humans they capture. Mankind has every reason to believe that it has only narrowly averted being totally wiped out, and the only way to ensure the species’ survival is an attack on the aliens’ homeworld.
It is later discovered that the Buggers are an insect hive mind and misunderstood the nature of human sentience, thinking it was more like their own: the analogy used is that when they murdered people, they thought it was the equivalent of destroying a security camera — an annoyance to their antagonist, but not fatal. The point is that Ender does not have this information when he commands the fleet against the alien homeworld. In fact, he isn’t even aware he’s commanding real troops in a real battle. If Ender is a Hitler, he’s an accidental one.
There’s some other aspects of the essay that don’t really grok for me: is it really surprising that an 8 year old boy would eschew sex as a coping mechanism for youthful psychological trauma? Ultimately, Peachfront’s comparison seems stretched way too far. But I find these sorts of view points worth reading, if only to clarify my own thoughts about a book. You may well enjoy doing the same.
ender and hitler: sympathy for the superman (20 years later) [Peachfront, via Cynical-C]Read More