Throughout Ender’s Game, Ender acts as an agent of destruction: the IF grooms him to be a perfect commander, capable of leading soldiers to glorious victory against any enemy, no matter how deadly. This culminates in the penultimate chapter of the book, in which Ender seemingly destroys the entire Bugger species in a large battle. In the final chapter, however, we discover that the Buggers have left behind a single hive-queen pupa, which they want Ender to care for. Ender, overcome with self-loathing at having exterminated an entire species, agrees to find a new home for the pupa. In a sense, the pupa—as small, smooth, and innocent as a newborn baby—symbolizes Ender’s rebirth as a force for peace, not war. Just as the Buggers will be reborn in a new planet, so Ender gets a miraculous “second chance” at being a good person.
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The timeline below shows where the symbol The Hive-Queen Pupa appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
...introduces himself as Andrew Wiggin, speak for the dead. Throughout their journeys, Ender carries his pupa and looks for a new home where the hive-queen can live in peace. The book... (full context)