Saturday, January 29, 2011

My Favorite Book and Parenting

As a self-proclaimed geek, it is my duty to adore Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I read it for the first time in college and identified with this tortured child who wants to do the right thing but keeps being pushed to the dark side. OK, maybe I am mixing up my references, but like yelling home run at a football game, it made a little bit of sense.

I recently read the article Creating the Innocent Killer: Ender's Game, Intention and Morality by John Kessel. It made me think about why I was so easily able to forgive the horrific acts of this boy as a young person. I saw myself in him, being told what to do by grown ups and other kids. Often seeing vengeance as justifiable. Mind you, this was well before Columbine and many of the other bully-related tragedies of the past decade. When the news covered these events, they were quick to condemn the act, but also victimized the accused, saying these tragedies could have been prevented.

One of the things Kessel points out is the role adults play in the "creation" of Ender. As a child reading the book, I paid no attention to the fact that his parents were relatively absent in his life. Why were they not protecting him from Peter? Why was there no discussion of what happened with the bully at school? The boy was 6!!!! My little guy punched a peer his second week in kindergarten. They were playing superheroes and my son took it too far. Believe me, not only did the principal get involved but I was right there explaining to him what he did wrong. Over and over again in the book, adults purposely don't get involved in the bullying of Ender in order to teach him to defend himself. He ends up killing 2 kids and an entire alien population in the process. Good job guys. 

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