Ender's Game Study Guide

Ender's Game

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game follows the story of Ender Wiggin, one of a group of remarkably intelligent children chosen by the government to attend Battle School. Here they undergo training in military tactics to prepare them to fight the buggers, Earth's greatest foe. Ender's journey and its shocking conclusion, ending with him unknowingly committing genocide against the buggers, is a complex story that raises questions about the meaning of reality, humanity, and accountability.

  • "I'll lie to him.""And if that doesn't work?"

    "Then I'll tell the truth. We're allowed to do that, in emergencies. We can't plan for everything, you know."

    • Ch. 3: Graff
  • He toyed with the idea of trying to be like the other boys. But he couldn't think of any jokes, and none of theirs seemed funny. Wherever their laughter came from, Ender couldn't find such a place in himself. He was afraid, and fear made him serious.
    • Ch. 4: Launch
  • As a species, we have evolved to survive. And the way we do that is by straining and straining and, at last, every few generations, giving birth to genius.
    • Colonel Graff, Ch. 4: Launch
  • Human beings are free except when humanity needs them.
    • Colonel Graff, Ch. 4: Launch
  • He could see Bonzo's anger growing hot. Hot anger was bad. Ender's anger was cold, and he could use it. Bonzo's was hot, and so it used him.
    • Ch. 7: Salamander
  • So he believed. Believed, but the seed of doubt was there, and it stayed, and every now and then sent out a little root. It changed everything, to have that seed growing. It made Ender listen more carefully to what people meant, instead of what they said. It made him wise.
    • Ch. 8: Rat
  • The world is always a democracy in times of flux, and the man with the best voice will win. Everybody thinks Hitler got to power because of his armies, because they were willing to kill, and that's partly true, because in the real world power is always built on the threat of death and dishonor. But mostly he got to power on words, on the right words at the right time.
    • Peter, Ch. 9: Locke and Demosthenes
  • Remember - the enemy's gate is down.
    • Ch. 10: Ender
  • There was no doubt now in Ender's mind. There was no help for him. Whatever he faced, now and forever, no one would save him from it. Peter might be scum, but Peter had been right, always right; the power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you.
    • Ch. 12: Ender
  • Perhaps it's impossible to wear an identity without becoming what you pretend to be.
    • Ch. 13: Valentine
  • "In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them -""You beat them." For a moment she was not afraid of his understanding.

    "No, you don't understand. I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don't exist ."

    • Ender&Valentine, Ch. 13: Valentine
  • "Human beings didn't evolve brains in order to lie around on lakes. Killing's the first thing we learned. And a good thing we did, or we'd be dead, and the tigers would own the earth."
    • Valentine, to Ender, Ch. 13: Valentine
  • "If one of us has to be destroyed, let's make damn sure we're the ones alive at the end. Our genes won't let us decide any other way. Nature can't evolve a species that hasn't a will to survive. Individuals might be bred to sacrifice themselves, but the race as a whole can never decide to cease to exist."
    • Graff, to Ender, Ch. 13: Valentine
  • He had long since learned that when something unusual was going on, something that was part of someone else's plan and not his own, he would find out more information by waiting than by asking. Adults almost always lost their patience before Ender did.
    • Ch. 14: Ender's Teacher
  • "All right," Ender gasped. "You win."The man's knee thrust painfully downward. "Since when," ask the man, his voice soft and rasping, "do you have to tell the enemy when he has won?"
    • Ch. 14: Ender's Teacher
  • "I am your enemy, the first one you've ever had who was smarter than you. There is no teacher but the enemy. No one but the enemy will tell you what the enemy is going to do. No one but the enemy will ever teach you how to destroy and conquer. Only the enemy shows you where you are weak. Only the enemy tells you where he is strong. And the rules of the game are what you can do to him and what you can stop him from doing to you. I am your enemy from now on. From now I am your teacher."
    • Ch. 14: Ender's Teacher
  • "Remember, boy. From now on the enemy is more clever than you. From now on the enemy is stronger than you. From now on you are always about to lose."The old man's face grew serious again. "You will be about to lose, Ender, but you will win. You will learn to defeat the enemy. He will teach you how."
    • Ch. 14: Ender's Teacher

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