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Studying the Characters--And Their Traits--In Ender's Game

written by: Margo Dill • edited by: Trent Lorcher • updated: 2/18/2014

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a popular science-fiction book with many important characters. Although Ender is by far the most important and complex character, the others play crucial roles in his story. Use this lesson plan with students to conduct a character study.

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    Instruction

    Begin this Ender's Game lesson plan with an introduction or review of character emotions, traits, and motivation. Use Ender as your Ender's Game example and for your class discussion since students will be most familiar with him, even if they are not completely finished reading the novel. Ask students to write down what they perceive to be Ender's character traits. (To remind students what character traits are or to give them some examples, we have a resource on character traits.)

    Once students have made individual lists, compile a class list of Ender's traits. Although students will have different opinions, in general here are some traits for Ender: intelligent, frustrated, naive, brave, independent, and logical. While compiling your list, discuss specific events where he shows certain traits throughout the novel.

    The class can also discuss Ender's motivation and emotions in the events your students mention. For example, what is Ender's motivation for treating Bean the way he does? What are his emotions when he finds out the truth of what he has actually been doing at Battle School?

    For a look at important quotes and themes from Ender's Game, follow the link.

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    The Activity

    Besides Ender, there are several other important characters in the novel: Valentine, Peter, Colonel Graff, Mazer Rackham, Major Anderson, and Bean. (Your students can actually argue for any character in the novel, but they will want to pick one that they can gather enough information on for this Ender's Game lesson plan.)

    Ask students to choose a character from the novel--not Ender. Students should let you know which character they are choosing for their character analysis. Students will be doing the same activity on their own that you did in the introduction (but with their own character) . For example, if they choose Valentine, they will first list Valentine's character traits. (You may want to give students a number of traits to list such as between five and ten.) Next, they will find an example in Ender's Game of each character trait. They should write the page number and a brief description of the scene. Finally, they will write the character's motivation for her behavior in each scene and what emotions she is feeling and/or displaying. Motivations and emotions should be clearly labeled and explained after each scene description. You may want to show your students an example of how you would like this assignment to look on paper to make it easier to grade.

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    Discussion and Closure

    This Ender's Game lesson plan may take more than one day to complete--depending on how much of the students' work is conducted in class. Once students have finished their character analysis, they will meet in small groups to discuss their findings and conclusions with other students. You can organize these groups in one of two ways: put students together whom all chose the same character or place students in groups where everyone chose a different character. Students should share a character trait, a scene, and the motivation and emotions. Other group members can ask questions, agree or disagree, or help the student if there are any problems.

    Students turn in their work to you either before or after the small group discussions, according to your goals and objectives for the Ender's Game lesson plan.