Ender's Game (mild spoilers)

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at charter.net
Mon Mar 17 13:33:23 EST 2003

Melissa (and Jacob),

Thanks so much for bringing your perspective on these issues to this group.

I appreciate your comments about not generalizing about Mormon 
beliefs and practices - that Mormonism is a complex faith and 
culture. You've given me, anyway, new perspective and a deeper 



>On Sun, 16 Mar 2003 21:49:38 -0000, Dorian E. Gray wrote:
>>Well, I wasn't trying to judge Mr. Card (whom I have met, and he is a really
>>really nice man, btw); my intent was a sort of half-assed attempt to explain
>>a percieved misogyny in "Ender's Game".  I'm not myself entirely certain
>>that that misogyny exists (see my previous post about paranoia in book
>>recommendations), but I was aiming at trying to see how a writer's own
>>background can inform and colour his/her writing.  We all have our own
>>conscious and unconscious assumptions about how the world works, and that's
>>bound to come out to some extent in our fiction.
>While I agree with you about unconscious assumptions, I think the point is
>that unless you understand how Mormon culture really works, it's not
>possible to accurately judge what those assumptions are.  In this specific
>instance, while it is certainly possible to have a Mormon writer operating
>from the idea that women should be gentle homemakers and thus not good
>soldiers, it's not a universal enough belief to be a given.  Because I know
>how Card fits into our church in general, and his specific objections to
>certain annoying assumptions of our culture, I know that's not where it's
>coming from.  But as you say below:
>>And while I'm not saying it's true in OSC's case, it's certainly possible
>>that someone whose society encourages women to be mothers, and mothers to be
>>primary caregivers, might assume that women are no use as soldiers
>I could TOTALLY see this happening with certain Mormon writers and you're
>absolutely right.  The difference is that Mormon culture is not as
>monolithic as people think; because the ward unit is autonomous, and there
>are many people who live in the same ward with the same people their whole
>lives, interpretations of doctrine and culture vary widely.  So a person
>whose novels arose from the above assumptions would not just be a product of
>the religion, but also of the culture--two VERY different things.  Having
>lived all over the United States (of AMERICA :) I have seen how very
>different "the Church" appears depending on where you are.  So you could
>just as well say that a Mormon who writes about strong women and generous,
>kind-hearted men is influenced by his/her religion, because we have that
>tradition too.
>(I personally have only had two LDS men make misogynistic remarks to me.
>One was our bishop and he was trying to be sweet, so I let it go.  The other
>was a confirmed nutter who believed all sorts of crackpot notions, most of
>which were doctrinally unsound.  The advantage to appearing brilliant and
>well-versed in scripture (get it?) is that only a very few people are
>willing to go ten rounds with you on any religious subject.)
>  >(note I'm
>  >also not saying that Mormons encourage women to be mothers; I don't know
>  >whether they do or not.  This here is hypothesis).
>Well, if you count all those older women making personal comments about
>"when are you going to get pregnant, dear?"....
>The family is the most important unit of our faith.  We are encouraged to
>marry and have children, but we are not condemned if we don't or can't.
>That's the official line.  In some parts *coughUtahcough* there can be
>extraordinary pressure to marry and have children, regardless of whether or
>not you're ready for it.  There's more to this, but it's not really germane
>to the discussion.
>Melissa Proffitt
>buzz buzz
>If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a 
>horrible warning.
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The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two 
opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the 
ability to function
F. Scott Fitzgerald

Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at charter.net
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