Ender’s Game

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Mrs. Wiggin / Mother Character Analysis

Ender’s Mother is, like her husband, a kind, gentle, and deeply religious woman. She’s given the chance to have a legal third child because the government suspects, correctly, that the child would be an outstanding military leader. In spite of her love for Ender, Mother finds it difficult to show him affection, particularly because Ender’s status as a “Third” alienates her from the other people in her community. When Ender is shipped to Battle School, Mother seems not to miss her youngest child remotely as much as Valentine does.

Mrs. Wiggin / Mother Quotes in Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Wiggin / Mother or refer to Mrs. Wiggin / Mother . 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 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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Mrs. Wiggin / Mother Character Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Wiggin / Mother 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
...Astronauts and Buggers, Ender’s parents come home from work. Ender’s mother, whom he simply calls Mother, tells Ender that she’s sorry about his pain. Father points out that it was an... (full context)
Chapter 3: Graff
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...at school. 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... (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 man has just told them—Ender seriously hurt Stilson, sending... (full context)
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...tells him 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... (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
...Ender very 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... (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
...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 this, Graff... (full context)
Chapter 13: Valentine
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...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 the... (full context)