Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card

My Copies


Introduction (George Slusser, 1992)

focuses on analogy of Ender to Christ

1: Third

Ender has his monitor taken out, then (now that he is unmonitored) is attacked by jealous kids at his school, led by the bully Stilson. He convinces Stilson to fight him alone, and not only wins but kicks Stilson hard while he's down, so as to deter future attacks from others.

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2: Peter

Peter delights in the removal of Ender's monitor; threatens to kill him and Valentine, only to relent and say it was a joke. Comes and whispers an apology when Ender thinks Peter thinks Ender is asleep. It's clear that he is both abusive and manipulative, in a way that Ender/Valentine are uniquely aware of.

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3: Graff

Graff comes to tell the Wiggins that Ender passed selection—because of why he handled Stilson the way he did. He talks straightforwardly in private with Ender about his family situation and how the Fleet needs him. Ender chooses to come.

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4: Launch

Ender's cohort gets on a shuttle to Battle School. He naturally plays with the reference frame of gravity. Graff socially isolates him with exuberant praise. He starts being hit, and breaks the arm of his assailant. Afterwards, Ender confronts Graff about it, who explains the IF's purpose and strategy in cultivating him as a leader.

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5: Games

This chapter has four main scenes:

  1. Introduction to the bunk: Ender is relegated to the perceived lowest-value bunk, the low one near the door, and it turns out this is the spot for the leader, so he is considered one by the school by default. He is quicker to set up and look through his locker than the others.

  2. The cohort goes to lunch, and an older failure named Mick comes and takes Ender's pudding. Points out that he's the "bugger" (runt) of the group. Gives advice on how to become a leader (= making friends). Ender doesn't engage. He gets a sense of pride, and resolution, to succeed and not be the runt. He wills himself not to be seen crying, almost uniquely among his group.

  3. Ender goes to the game room, watches older kids playing. Challenges one to a 2/3 match, calls him scared / a coward for not wanting to play. Loses the first game learning the controls, barely wins the second, dominates the third. The older kids insult him but he sees them trying to replicate his strategies. He gains confidence in his ability to succeed at Battle School.

  4. Battles with Bernard: the kid whose arm he broke is a bully, and gains a following. Ender watched, identified a few people chafing under his rule, and used a hack of the computer system to make anonymous jokes at Bernard's expense (in defense of Shen, one of the kids). Bernard gets angry, is told off by Dap (the group's adult), and loses face / dominance as a leader. Ender makes Shen feel better without admitting his role or insulting Bernard directly, is no longer socially isolated.

Overall, the chapter introduces various aspects of the Battle School (dorms, lunchroom, game room, desk technology), shows the relative magnitude of Ender's raw strategic skill, tells the story of his emotional adjustment to the place, and gives an example of how he creatively uses resources he discovers to strategically rout Bernard without even overtly engaging in combat.

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