Ender Wasn’t A Child Soldier

Written by Aaron Davis on November 18th, 2009
The ‘exploitation’ seen in Ender’s game is something that always has and always will happen to children who show unusual talent and promise.  The unusually bright and intelligent, elite athletes, and gifted musicians are singled out at very early ages, isolated form their peers and given special attention at the best schools and by the best coaches.  They spent hours after schools and during summers perfecting their skills, and are expected to perform and compete at a very young age.  It is true that they have failed to experience aspects of a ‘normal’ childhood, but no more so then any impoverished child who doesn’t have the same opportunities as most.
So there is nothing particularly egregious about Ender’s situation.  His parents consented, he continued to do what was asked of him, and in turn he received special skills and status that he used later in life.  This situation is touched upon by Valentine who tells Ender: “Welcome to the human race.  Nobody controls his own life Ender.  The best you can do is choose to fill the roles given to you by good people, by people who love you.”
That being said, the genuine exploitation of children occurs and occurs often and should be avoided by any decent society worth preserving.  It’s not necessary to specify childhood as a specific right, but the basic human rights of life and safety ought to be guaranteed to children, even when extraneous circumstances retract them from adults.  Enders game seems to have relevance to the practice of child soldiers, of whom here are an estimated 250,000 fighting in conflicts around the world.  There seems to be no justification to the placing of children in direct combat in the modern world.
 

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