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Brittney's Letter to Orson Scott Card
By Brittney Dobbins
Genre: Non-fiction Level: High School 10-12
Year: 2003 Category: Letters About Literature

28 October 2002

Dear Mr. Card,

I have never had the opportunity to read a life-changing book, until now. Through Bean's experiences in Ender's Shadow, I have learned many of life's greatest lessons on relationships with family and friends.

First, I did not realize that I could leave a feeling of rejection on someone in my family until I read Bean's feelings about Achilles. How he felt that Achilles had left Poke and himself out of the "family" simply by refusing to eat a bite of their bread. I have often unknowingly done the same thing by playing a game with one brother while refusing to play the same game with another. I am beginning to wish that I had taken that extra moment to play a game of basketball or tic-tac-toe, so that my family could see that I actually did, and do, care.

Second, I learned that I take my family for granted. As the children cried themselves to sleep their first night in Battle School, the thought came to mind, you don't know what you've got until it's gone. So, I asked myself, What do I have? I live in a home where both of my parents are my birth parents. I have a house over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, food in my belly, and clothes on my back. Most of all, I have a family who loves me. I can't believe I've ignored people who mean so much to me for so long.

Next, my parents and siblings can be my friends. I found it a bit more than ironic that Bean's best friend turned out to be his brother. Someone once told me that members of our families should be our best friends. I never really believed it until recently. A few months ago, my family and I moved halfway across the country. Since I'm so shy, I have had difficulties forming friendships. Your book reminded me that I still have my parents and brothers. It reminded me that they will always be there despite my imperfections. That is what a real friend should be and what family members are.

Fourth, I learned that true friendship is more than just trust. It's also respecting the other person's wishes. While I was reading this book, one of my new friends and I were going through a rough time. I didn't know what to do. It just so happens that I read about Bean trying to convince Nikolai to be part of Dragon Army's extra Toon with him. He realized that he couldn't force him. Which made me recognize that I needed to respect her wishes. I did and now we are friends again.

Last, I discovered a second aspect of true friendship. I should support my friends in their beliefs, preferences, and decisions just as Bean did with Ender. A couple of years ago, a friend of mine and I got in an argument about one of her choices. We made up and were friends a little longer. We did not stay friends though. It didn't occur to me that our lost friendship was due to that argument until I saw how Bean acted under Ender's control. I should have been more accepting.

I know that I cannot change all facets of my life at once to align with these views, no one can. I am, however, going to try my hardest, even if it takes me years, to see my family for what they are worth and to be a better friend, like Bean. Thank you very much for letting me see the error of my ways. It means so much to me.

Brittney Dobbins
12th Grade
Robert Service High School, Anchorage, Alaska
Teacher: Mrs. Patti Irwin

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