Two speakers (it is not possible to tell whom, but they both hold high positions on Earth) are discussing the Wiggin children. They know that Demosthenes and Locke are Valentine and Peter, respectively, but decide not to expose them. They comment on how odd it is that their writings do not match their personalities, but consider that it is probably for the best.
The Demosthenes and Locke identities are becoming more and more established in the public mind, especially Demosthenes. Peter is not happy that it is Valentine’s figure that is receiving all the attention, and, even after she assures him that the deeper respect that Locke is seeking just takes longer to achieve, he remains upset. Not only has Father continued referencing Valentine’s column and Demosthenes has been offered a public position, but Valentine herself is starting to become more comfortable with many of his stated opinions.
After school one day, Graff is waiting to take her to Ender, Valentine being the only one in the family that the boy cared to see. They arrive at the lakeside property and, before Valentine goes to talk with Ender, the issue of trust is brought up. Graff tells her that he knows who Demosthenes is but that she does not need to worry about it, and he will not bug her conversation with Ender. In return, he will ask questions afterwards, and he hopes she will not tell Peter about the day’s events. Ender’s break has been extended so much as he has seemingly lost interest in returning to his training. Graff once again hopes Valentine will help get rid of this mood and, this time, she is much more willing to do so.
Valentine and Ender greet each other and go out on the lake on the raft that Ender built. In response to his comment about the two of them being strangers, Valentine moves to tickle him, but he stops her, clearly tense before he recognizes the familiar action. After swimming, Valentine lies down on the raft. A wasp lands near her, but she ignores it. Ender, though, kills it. He tells her that he was an excellent soldier.
Valentine tells him about Peter’s plan and how they have used the names Locke and Demosthenes on the nets. When she brings up how she is supposed to get him to return to training, Ender corrects her, that it is not studies, but just games, and says he is tired of the manipulation that is a part of them. He tells her how he used to spend time looking at the videos of the buggers over and over, but they remain a difficult enemy for him because the videos do not show enough of them for him to understand them. Once he understands an enemy completely, he loves that enemy but it is at the same time that he destroys him completely.
With this revelation, Valentine begins to question the boundary between Ender and Peter. However, she is able to honestly tell him that she is not afraid of him. They talk about how Peter will one day gain power, and Valentine realizes that enough of what makes Peter the way he is, is in Ender that regardless of how drained and disinterested he seems, there is motivation in him. She finds it, when she says she is concerned about herself (with regards to the buggers), and brings up how she used to defend him from Peter.
With that, Ender says he is afraid he will not be able to beat the buggers, since, after all, he could never beat Peter. He does not want the responsibility of being the one to save everyone, so that he is a killer either way, responsible for killing the buggers if he does do battle with them or for the deaths of people if he does nothing. Valentine mistakenly takes that to mean that Ender wants to beat Peter, but really what he want is for Peter to love him, something that Valentine cannot assure him of. She knows when she leaves though, that Ender will return to his studies.
When he returns to the house, Ender gets ready, a quick matter since he has no possessions, and he and Graff leave. In the car, Ender realizes that his stay at the house on the lake was to make him, after having spent so much of his life at Battle School, love Earth, which he now does. They arrive at the spaceport, and Graff tells him that he will continue traveling with him. Ender thinks about how he has used his own power, and what Earth, with Valentine there, means to him. Graff touches Ender’s hand at one point, but Ender soon decides that it is just another calculated move.
When they arrive at their tug, Graff talks to the captain, who is quickly furious at him; because I.F. Command is in a secret location and the captain does not have the security clearance to know it, the captain will be assigned to stay there until the end of the bugger war, an indefinite period of time. It is a three month trip to get out there, and Ender and Graff pass the time by talking, mostly about buggers. The most interesting aspect of the creatures, with their ant-like appearance, is that they can communicate instantaneously. Humans now have the technology to do so as well, through a device called an ansible, butt the buggers’ method, which does not use a machine, is not understood.
Graff also tells Ender that Earth is not defending itself at all, but rather they have sent out ships to the bugger home world to attack. Although the ships have not seen any sign of the buggers en route, humans have sent more ships over the years as the technology has become better. The ships will all arrive around the same time, in about five years, at which point, they will need someone, most likely Ender, to command them. Ender asks why the war started in the first place, but although there are many answers given, no one knows. Graff’s personal opinion is that it is out of fear of the other’s intentions since the humans and buggers cannot communicate with each other. Regardless, the buggers did attack first, and both Graff and Ender are agreed that humans want to survive.
Once again, the contrast between Ender and Peter is called into question. Ender kills the wasp; Peter killed a squirrel. While there are differences, such as Peter tortured the squirrel and Ender said that the wasps will sting without provocation, Valentine is still surprised at such action. Her thought that it is difficult to have an identity without becoming it, although it was in regards to herself as Demosthenes, is also true for Ender. He knows he will be a killer, no matter what he does, and Battle School has indeed turned him into one.
Talking with Graff on the tug about the buggers shows that he is once more ready to destroy his enemy, since he is seeking to understand them better. Command School being on Eros is another indication of this; Eros is the Greek god of passionate love, and Ender has said that he loves his enemy at the same time he destroys them. Graff’s line about how we would kill all the buggers if we could, will prove to be, unfortunately for Ender, a fairly accurate prediction.
Cite this page:
McCauley, Kelly. "TheBestNotes on Ender's Game".
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