Ender’s Game

The Mirror Symbol Icon

After defeating the Giant, Ender spends his virtual reality game exploring a mysterious palace in which hangs a large mirror. When Ender looks in the mirror, he sees many things: his own face, his brother Peter’s face, and his sister Valentine’s face. The mirror is a symbol of Ender’s introspectiveness and need for self-knowledge. Ender is always trying to understand what kind of person he is: is he barbaric, like Peter, or gentle, like Valentine? (This reminds us that Ender was born to be a combination of Valentine and Peter.) In the end, Ender once again refuses to play by the rules of the virtual reality game. Just as he refuses to choose between the Giant’s two potions, he refuses to choose between Peter and Valentine. Instead, he smashes the mirror and walks away—a powerful assertion of his own identity and freedom.

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The Mirror Symbol Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Mirror appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
...away one of the stones, and finds himself drowning in water. He also notices a mirror, in which he can see Peter’s face. (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
...game. He returns to the End of the World, and sees Peter’s face in the mirror. Then it occurs to him that the IF has forced Valentine to write the letter... (full context)
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
Inside the castle, Ender finds the mirror in which he once saw Peter’s face. Behind the mirror, Ender finds a large silky... (full context)