Saturday, December 14, 2013

Ender's Game, Reviewed by Caroline

At 13, Caro already has voice and tone in her writing, as well as an exceptional grasp on analysis. She wrote this review for her gifted language arts class, and her teacher liked it so much, he had it sent to the school paper for publishing as an example for the other students. Every day she does or says something to be proud of -- EVERY DAY -- but today can I be obnoxious and brag?

Book Report: Ender’s Game
Editors’ Note
This is a exemplar book report written by Caroline H. in Mr. Key’s Humanities class and edited by Michelle G.

In a futuristic Earth bound society, only one person is capable of stopping the alien “buggers.” Enter Ender Wiggin, the most cunning and brilliant military strategist in the world, and also an 8-year-old child.
Orson Scott Card weaves a story so intricately balanced that the reader is swept away by even the slightest nuance in the plot. Instead of overlooking minor details that might be skipped in many other books the reader notices. The details make the reader feel tremendously involved in the plot, making the imagery vivid and stunning in front of the reader’s very eyes. Although the book is mostly devoid of color or happiness, the overall mood retains a hopeful feel, and carries the reader on a wave of crisp language and brilliant imagination.

Card’s masterpiece, Ender’s Game, caught the attention of the public quickly, and for good reason. Ender’s Game was a new kind of science fiction back in 1979, one that beckoned to readers. No famous science fiction writer of the time had even come close the Card’s idea of an advanced society, which left the book original and ahead of its time.

Published in the 1970’s at the close of the Cold War between the United States of America and the Soviet Union, Ender’s Game quite possibly represented the war itself. The book was written by an American author from an American viewpoint. Card uses “the humans” (suggesting that the Soviets were not humans like everybody else) in the book, whom displayed reason, intelligence and a large amount of willpower and compassion to represent the Americans in the Cold War. By the same stroke of insight, one can see where he used the antagonists of the book, the “buggers,” an alien species who, in Card’s brief explanation were seemingly emotionless, painless, dangerous killing machines, devoid of compassion or a basic sense of moral justice, to represent the Soviet Union.

It would seem that the buggers/Soviets cared only about pride, honor and conquering the humans/Americans, which was the view from an anti- Soviet Union perspective. Another example of bias against the Soviet Union should be more obvious to even the least perceptive of readers, which is that of the actual references to the Soviet Union in the book and their involvement with Ender’s Game’s “fictional” world politics. The Soviets in the book had a tight fisted grip on trade and technology, and a wish to destroy the main character because of reasons not clearly stated in the book, as if implying yet again that the Soviet Union was altogether a terrible country to be feared and who frequently targeted and attacked people (especially our country’s young children) without provocation. This book is actually an example of anti- Soviet propaganda.

A book one might compare to Ender’s Game would be the timeless novel Animal Farm. In Animal Farm there are political representations as well, and is written from another anti- Soviet Union perspective. Using farmyard animals, Animal Farm relays the Soviet public’s view on current political issues and military figureheads and personnel.

Ender’s Game is really about the Cold War, but even from xenophobic literature comes both a moral and immoral undercurrent. In Ender’s Game, besides the Soviet Union being very, very bad, the themes are of a positive nature. The other themes are that of human resilience, determination and leadership. These are expressed through the struggles that are faced head on by the main character, Ender, and the people he encounters on his struggle to greatness. This book is an A-List book for the following reasons: Ender’s Game is the recipient of two awards, the Hugo Award, and the Nova Award. Ender’s Game is also on nearly every A-List book list in the world because of its imagery, imagination and fabulous writing style. It was also highly progressive for its time in many ways, including that of women’s rights. In the book women hold the same positions in government and other non-knitting committee occupations as men, which was quite uncommon for the time. In 1979 there was still a great deal of discrimination in the workplace against women, and it was uncommon for a science fiction book with an American male author to be a sponsor of women’s rights.

Ender’s Game is a fabulous book with great detail, but a lot of xenophobic propaganda. Even though the internal messaging was not great, the writing style was inspired and the scenes vivid. Ender’s Game will continue to amaze.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Wonders! Miracles! Deception for Souls!

On leaving the base exchange, Caroline noticed a poster that read: "Wonders! Miracles of Science! Come join us for scientific experiments and family fun with Dean Ortner!" Then at the bottom, with her Super Spidey powers, she detected in tiny letters, "Sponsored by the Kirtland AFB Chapel"

She turned to her dad and whispered satirically, "I suspect treachery!"

Yes, treachery and trickery indeed. Let us pray.

Monday, February 4, 2013


This past weekend we went hiking in the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert. Caroline chattered away the whole time, as always -- she saves it up, apparently, because her teachers always complain she's too quiet in class. Spending the weekend with her and Calvin, laughing and talking and exploring natural wonders was such a relaxing way to spend our free time. Here are some photos of the trip.

Friday, February 1, 2013

She's Got Your Number, Draper.

   Commissary day. Caroline was helping me do the grocery shopping, and we were almost finished when I realized I'd forgotten to pick up peanuts eight aisles back. I explained to Caro what kind to get and asked if she'd run back to the snack aisle and get them for me.  She cheerfully ran off, always happy to help.

   I finished the final two aisles, and still she hadn't returned, so I went to the bakery for the breads and finished that. Still no Caroline. I was just about to go find her when she came back, breathless.

"What took so long? I was about to come find you."

   "Sorry, Mom. I got distracted by the snack foods, and the more I looked the more I was struck dumb by the sheer amount of dishonest advertising! Snack companies think we're so easy, don't they!"

How do I tell her that almost everyone falls for it?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Watch Out For Big Brother Google.

We were on our way home from Arizona yesterday when from the back seat Caroline spoke up.

"Mom, Dad, I've been thinking about something..."

"Yeah? What?"

"Well, I just think people should be reminded not to scratch their butts when they're outside."


"Yes, a lot of people may not know this, but Google Maps might be taking pictures from their satellites at just that moment."
And then she added thoughtfully, "No one wants to be immortalized as a butt-scratcher."

And How am I Supposed to Title THIS?!

Neither Calvin nor I  heard Caroline get up early, so we weren't aware of having an audience while we were canoodling in the hallway (What can I say? He's irresistible!) until we heard an irritated throat clearing, followed by, "EXCUSE me! When you two are finished with this embarrassing display of affection, maybe one of you could teach me to make scrambled eggs...?"