In the award-winning novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card there are many characters that influence Ender throughout his travels. Ender is influenced in one way or another by just about every person he comes into contact with. Most of these influences, however, are very subtle and do not make a direct or dramatic change in his life. There are three main people that Ender spends a lot of time with that influence him the most.
The first character that influenced Ender was Peter, his older brother. All throughout their early childhoods, Peter would force Ender into playing cruel games similar to “cops and robbers” or “Cowboys and Indians,” but this was Buggers and humans. Ender was always the Bugger who would get beaten badly by the “human,” Peter. Peter would often make death threats to Ender and his sister, Valentine. Peter was never really sure if Peter was serious with these threats or not, but he was smart enough to know that if he had wanted to, Peter could have killed them both. As a direct result of these rough games and threats, Ender developed a ruthless, battle- minded. He displayed this trait at the fight after school with Stilson while he was still on Earth and the fight in the locker room with Bonzo at the battle school. Both of which ended in the death of Ender’s overconfident opponents. In his own defense Ender said, “Knocking [Stilson] down only won the first fight. I wanted to win all the next ones, too. So they’d leave me alone.” Secondly Colonel Graff also had a great influence on Ender. Upon entering the battle school, Colonel Graff pointed Ender out as a “star student” among all the others. This got them aggravated and made it extremely hard for Ender to make and keep friends. This was all part of the Colonels plan to isolate Ender from the other boys in order to open up his creativity and brilliance. Ender was first just a part of the team under the suppressing leadership of Bonzo. Ender was not allowed to shoot anyone and just floated around aimlessly. Until, that is, he was finally traded and was able to actually fight in the battles and prove his worth. He was soon promoted to toon leadership and quickly after that became the youngest team commander in battle school history. This only made the older kids resent him more. Upon being promoted to commander he was given a completely new team of rookies and children who didn’t even know how to handle themselves on gravity, let alone in zero G, and was allowed no trading. They also gave him a battle every single day, opposed to the normal 2 week stretch for most teams. This was all to test Ender’s capabilities of leading the human fleet against another Bugger invasion. Ender would also sometimes fight 2 or 3 battles in one day or even two teams at once and his team was extremely tired and worn-down. But despite these hardships, Ender found a way to win each and every game. Graff arranged all of this and because of him Ender learned how to handle himself in intense situations, one of Ender’s greatest characteristics in the long run.
Finally, Mazar Rackham had a tremendous impact on Ender. He was Ender’s private teacher once he got to the I.F. Academy. He told Ender that he was the enemy and never to trust him. Ender never knew when Mazar was going to turn on him or help him, and this taught Ender to never trust anyone completely, because of this he became more self-reliant and it kept him on his toes. Mazar also taught Ender all of his knowledge on his defeat of the buggers in the second invasion. Ender studied classified information and played the simulation game with his crew, who, as it turned out, were all his good friends from battle school. Then all of a sudden it switched to actual battles with the buggers with real lives at stake, but Ender was never told. Then finally, through Mazar’s wonderful teachings, Ender reached the final battle with the Buggers. Ender and his fleet were outnumbered 10,000 to one. Ender thought it was incredibly unfair and thought that Mazar had programmed the simulation. Also, with people in uniforms watching on, Ender felt uneasy. Finally he decided that he didn’t care what happened and it didn’t matter, so he decided to fly in to the home planet and use the largest and most powerful weapon. Ender blew up the planet and all of the surrounding ships. At this point everyone in the room began cheering and Ender finally realized that these “simulations” were actual battles in the final invasion of the Bugger home world. Ender learned from Mazar to do his best under pressure, even if he thought the outcome didn’t matter.
From all three of these very important people, Ender learned at least one new character trait. From Peter he learned to be ruthless and show no mercy. Then from Colonel Graff he learned to be resilient and crafty in his ways. Finally, from Mazar Rackham he learned to be clutch, do his best at all times, and to never fully trust anybody. In Card’s Ender’s Game, the use of characters helps to develop Ender’s character throughout all his travels. In this particular novel those three characters compose most of Ender’s personality traits that he learned while growing up. Ender experienced more in the short 11 years of his life than most people would in 3 or 4 lifetimes, and Ender has Peter, Graff, and Mazar to thank for that.