Ender’s Game

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Mr. Wiggin / Father Character Analysis

Ender’s Father is a gentle, kind-hearted man who nonetheless can’t connect with his youngest child on an emotional level. He and his wife are given the chance to have a legal third child because the government suspects, correctly, that the child would be an outstanding military leader. While Father, a Catholic, is overjoyed to have more children, he secretly hates himself for breaking the rules of his faith by not having more children. As a result, he finds it hard to be open and loving with Ender, and after Ender is shipped to Battle School, he seems to forget about his third child.

Mr. Wiggin / Father Quotes in Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game quotes below are all either spoken by Mr. Wiggin / Father or refer to Mr. Wiggin / Father . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Tor edition of Ender’s Game published in 2008.
Chapter 2 Quotes

Dad pointed out that the war wouldn’t go away just because you hid Bugger masks and wouldn’t let your kids play with make-believe laser guns. Better to play the war games, and have a better chance of surviving when the Buggers came again.

Related Characters: Andrew “Ender” Wiggin , Peter Wiggin , Mr. Wiggin / Father
Page Number: 11
Explanation and Analysis:

In this quotation, Card explains why games have become so important to the world in his vision of the future. For centuries, people have learned about fighting, war, and strategy by playing games—chess, for example, has trained generals for thousands of years. In the future, Card explains, games continue to train people to fight from an early age. Parents encourage their children to play games in which they fight "Buggers," the alien race that is (supposedly) the archenemy of humanity. By playing games of this kind, children like Ender inadvertently train themselves for a lifetime of war with the Buggers.

One of the reasons that games are so important for the generals and warriors of the future is that they're not real. As the quotation suggests, the death and destruction is "make believe." (The real violence comes later.) By playing games that use fake violence, children gradually become desensitized to the idea of violence itself, so that when it's time for them to fight a real Bugger, they won't feel pangs of guilt or hesitation about killing it. At the end of the novel, it'll become clear how games have taught Ender to suppress his natural feelings of sympathy and compassion.

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Chapter 3 Quotes

“They look at you and see you as a badge of pride, because they were able to circumvent the law and have a Third. But you’re also a badge of cowardice, because they dare not go further and practice the noncompliance they still feel is right.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin , Mr. Wiggin / Father , Mrs. Wiggin / Mother
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:

In this passage, Colonel Graff walks a fine line between honesty and manipulation. Graff explains to Ender that his parents—religious people forced to live in a secular society—took a great risk when they had Ender. In Ender's society, it's illegal to have more than two children. The government gave Ender's parents permission to have another baby, because their genetic "stock" was considered to be good for producing future generals. Graff claims that Ender is a badge of pride for his parents—by definition he's a very special child—but adds that he's also a source of shame for them.

Graff's logic is a little confused: he claims that by having "only" one extra child beyond the legal limit, Ender's parents are bringing themselves shame, since they secretly believe that people should have the right to have as many children as they can (particular because of their religion). It doesn't really follow that Ender should make his parents ashamed, simply because they haven't gone far enough in rebelling against a controlling government. Graff appears to be manipulating Ender in order to make Ender more likely to agree to leave his family behind and go to Battle School. Ender, for all his intelligence and leadership abilities, can't quite see through Graff's distortions of the truth.

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Mr. Wiggin / Father Character Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the character Mr. Wiggin / Father appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: Peter
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...Ender’s mother, whom he simply calls Mother, tells Ender that she’s sorry about his pain. Father points out that it was an honor that the government allowed their family to have... (full context)
Chapter 3: Graff
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...Peter enters the room and teases Ender for being “slimy.” As Peter, Ender, Mother, and Father bicker, there is a ring at their front door. Father answers the door and finds... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
Father calls Ender to talk to the military man. Mother and Father tell Ender what the... (full context)
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...that Ender has the choice to attend the school or not—a statement that Mother and Father find absurd. Undeterred, Graff tells Ender that he’ll be a great soldier at Battle School,... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...well—in other words, he knows that Ender will miss Valentine, but won’t miss Mother and Father. Graff explains that Father was born Catholic, and had eight siblings—something that Ender finds appalling.... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...back into the house and says a quick goodbye to his family. He hugs his Father and Mother (who cries), and shakes hands with Peter. Valentine cries and kisses Ender. With... (full context)
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
As they walk through the woods, Peter asks Valentine to ask Father to give his children his “citizen’s access,” which will enable Peter and Valentine to write... (full context)
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
In the coming weeks, Valentine succeeds in convincing Father to give his children internet access. Peter and Valentine begin writing articles and posting them... (full context)
Chapter 13: Valentine
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...for the rest of his family. As a result, he’ll only visit with her, not Father, Mother, or Peter. Valentine agrees to come with Graff. In the car, Graff tells Valentine... (full context)