Now more convinced that Ender is the one they have been looking for, the conversation of the two people is focused on how to get him away from his sister, as their mutual love and affection creates a weak point in him. They determine to bring about their separation by taking Ender away, either through lies or, if it comes to it, by telling him the truth.
The scene around the Wiggin breakfast table is a fairly average one-Ender is not eating, worried about going to school, and Mother is concerned about him while Father reads the paper. Peter comes down to join them. Shortly afterwards, an officer of the International Fleet (IF) comes, and Mother and Father leave the room to find out what he wants. Peter tells Ender that heís in trouble over the fight at school, though Ender does not believe him. Valentine then walks into the kitchen, pretending to be sick to get out of an oral exam, a ploy Peter sees right through.
Father calls Ender into the parlor, where his parents are upset after hearing about his fight with Stilson. The IF officer, however, is more interested in Enderís reasoning behind continuing to beat the boy, than in reprimanding him for doing so. Ender says he wanted to win all the fights, fight in the first one such that there would not be others, and though he begins to cry, this is the motive that the officer wanted to hear. He reveals that his name is Colonel Hyrum Graff and that he is there to ask Ender to enter the Battle School. Ender is the one the government wanted after all; taking away his monitor had just been the final test, not a result of his rejection.
Father and Mother have already given their consent, which they had to do before Ender was allowed to be conceived, but they are nonetheless upset at the thought of Ender being taken away from them. Graff makes it clear though that it is Enderís choice, since Battle School is training to become an officer, a position which requires one to be a volunteer in order to have the right attitude to serve well. Ender wants to go and recognizes that there would be some advantages, namely avoiding school and Peter, but those reasons are not as big as the disadvantage of leaving Valentine and becoming a soldier (he does not like the kind of people who use power-physical or mental-over others).
Graff wants, and gets, a private conversation with Ender, in which he tells the boy that it will not be easy. He will not be able to return on leave until he is 12 years old, and his training will last until he is 16. This means that Valentine will grow up in his absence and he will not know her. Graff knows he will not miss his parents as much, nor will his parents miss him for long.
Graff explains that they are both religious; Father is Catholic and Mother is Mormon. They have renounced their respective religions in order to be acceptable to society, but they have not stopped believing, as seen in their childrenís names and Fatherís secret Baptisms of them. Ender is therefore a source of pride (they were able to have a third child), cowardice (they did not do more against compliance), and shame (having a Third prevents them from being wholly a part of society, despite having already given up so much). While his parents love him, his presence is a reminder of their forbidden past. Valentine, on the other hand, loves him completely and so it is more difficult to leave her.
Ender asks about life at the Battle School and Graff describes it as tough classes, with an emphasis on math and computers, and a military focus. The Battle Room overshadows it all though, with its war games where children are organized into armies which train and fight against each other in zero gravity. The school is mostly boys, with some girls but none like Valentine since she is too mild.
While Ender might be happier staying where he is and that he might not work out after all, Graff feels he must ask anyhow because, while they have made all the military preparations it could in the 80 years since the last war, the only thing that saved mankind from the buggers last time was finding Mazer Rackham as a commander. Now they must find someone to lead the next war, and Ender could be it. Ender agrees to go though he is afraid, but Graff makes him rephrase himself until he says simply that he does not want to go, but he will.
He does not need to pack anything, since it will all be provided at the school. He says goodbye to his family and walks out. Valentine cries out that for him to return and that she will love him forever as he gets in the car.
There are few parallels between the Wiggin children and the saints they are named after. Saint Andrew was the brother of Saint Peter. One of the relics of Saint Andrew is part of the top of his skull, and Ender will become respected for his mental abilities. Valentine is one of the, if not the most, loving characters in the book, and Saint Valentine has become closely connected with love. All three of them will eventually become respected throughout the world, though Enderís will turn out to be a bit fickle by the time of the sequel (Saint Andrew was crucified, in a far less metaphorical way).
By referring to Enderís parents as Mother and Father, not only do the general, familiar titles make them universal representatives of parenthood but also the capitalization makes their positions of authority in Enderís world certain.
The comparison between fighting and war to games and playing is continued in this chapter by Graff. He tells Mother that the fight with Stilson was not a charade, a term she had used even though she knew the boy had been sent to the hospital. He then says that the bugger wars must seem like a game to Ender, a statement that will be even more true at the end of the book.
Cite this page:
McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on Ender's Game".
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