During Ender Wiggin’s time at Battle School, he’s encouraged to play a virtual reality in which he confronts a Giant, who challenges him to choose between two potions, one of which is poisonous and one of which is harmless. Ender discovers that the game is a cheat—no matter which potion he chooses, he always “dies.” Ender demonstrates his genius for lateral thinking by refusing to obey the Giant’s rules: instead of choosing between potions, he chooses to attack the Giant, winning an unwinnable game. Ender’s attack on the Giant is one of the more overt symbols in Ender’s Game: as Colonel Hyrum Graff and Major Anderson study Ender’s game playing, they recognize that Ender’s victory symbolizes his refusal to play by the rules, his ability to think outside the box, and his disturbing ability to be brutal and violent at the right time.
Tap here to download this LitChart! (PDF)
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Giant appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6: The Giant’s Drink
Chapter 7: Salamander
...a colleague. Graff and the colleague discuss how Ender is capable of “the impossible”—defeating the Giant in the virtual reality game. They also agree that Ender handled the conflict with Bernard... (full context)
Chapter 8: Rat
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
...School, but he’s been slumping lately, and needs something to inspire him. He describes the Giant game that Ender plays, and mentions the images of Peter that Ender repeatedly sees. Valentine... (full context)
Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici
Chapter 14: Ender’s Teacher
...friend in any way. At night, Ender worries about his friends, and dreams about the Giant. Sometimes in his dreams he sees wolves with the faces of children—Stilson, Bonzo, and Peter,... (full context)
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
...and an old, rusty playground—details from Ender’s old elementary school, as well as from the Giant game that Ender played at Battle School. Ender realizes the truth: the Buggers built this... (full context)