Ender's Game: Novel Summary: Chapter 10 - Chapter 11
Summary of Chapter 10: Dragon
Graff and Anderson admit they are “the scum of the earth” for allowing Ender to be happy again just so they can subject him to more trials with “rigged games” (p. 155). They will make him a commander at nine and a half, and he will feel “the loneliness of power” (p. 155).
They give him “Dragon” for the name of his army and a “hook”, the box that allows him to go wherever he wants in the battle room. They will not allow him to trade, and they make him take new Launchies without experience. He begins to go into automatic commander mode, throwing around his authority until challenged by a small boy named Bean, who is intelligent and unafraid of Ender. Ender begins to praise Bean’s quickness, in the same way he was singled out by Graff, and then sees that it causes the same sort of embarrassment he experienced with the other boys. He is tough on the boys and drills them constantly.
Bean challenges Ender to give him a toon, because he knows how to handle it. Ender worries that he is becoming a bully like Bonzo. By watching himself interact with Bean, Ender realizes what Graff and the teachers did to him, how they isolated him to make him struggle. He wants Bean to struggle to make him good.
Anderson tells Ender that he may not practice with anyone but his own army now. Ender becomes lonely, because he cannot practice with Alai and his friends. Now Ender and Alai are enemies with opposing armies. Ender is angry and decides to defeat the real enemy—the teachers.
Commentary on Chapter 10: Dragon
Ender finds himself acting like a commander and that makes him lonely because he knows he has to push the boys into being soldiers instead of being their friends. In addition, he has to bear the blow of losing all his old friends, especially Alai. He begins to understand Graff’s technique of isolating him in order to make him better than everyone else, not merely competent. He starts to do the same with Bean, a boy of promise and ambition.
As a farewell to Alai, Ender says “Salaam,” but Alai says it means “peace be unto you” (p. 171), and they cannot have peace. Ender remembers his mother reading the Bible to him about Jesus saying he was not bringing peace on earth, but a sword. As a Mormon, Card inserts references to religion and religious thought in his fiction, though not in a heavy handed way. In this fictitious earth, religion is suppressed, but it surfaces in intimate moments to strike a deeper note about human nature. The fact that there is something spiritual between Alai and Ender indicates the depth of the friendship that the author repeats cannot be broken. Ender is so upset by this forced separation from his friend that his anger flares, and he resolves to turn his strategy to defeating the teachers instead of the other boys.
Summary of Chapter 11: Veni, Vidi, Vici
Graff and Anderson have changed positions in their argument about how to handle Ender. Graff is worried they are pushing him too hard, but Anderson says they are going by what the computer has told them, and the computer knows him best: “We’re bringing him to his full potential” (p. 173). In addition, Graff is being pressured by politics. The Polemarch has been to see the Hegemon about the agitation of American citizens on the nets against the Russians. Now Graff is worried about winning the bugger wars because it will unleash civil war on the earth and a renewal of national rivalries.
Ender only sleeps a few hours a night after becoming the commander of an army. In a few weeks Ender has turned his recruits into leaders. No army has been structured like his before or able to do so many maneuvers through the creativity of the independent toon leaders. Ender is bothered because he does not know if he is fulfilling the teachers’ expectations or going against them.
Ender’s Dragon Army fights the Rabbit Army, headed by Carn Carby. Ender’s army breaks the formations of Rabbit, and Anderson comes through the teacher door to give the victory hook to Ender. Carn Carby graciously congratulates Ender and is the only one who is friendly to him in the commanders’ mess hall. Dink comes up and challenges Ender, since they both have armies now. He also sees Petra and Bonzo who avoid him.
The next day Ender has to fight Petra’s Phoenix Army. Her army is more flexible and able to cope with Ender’s style. She is angry when he defeats her. He is losing his old friends. Dragon Army is made to fight every day, and every day it wins. Ender is making enemies in the school. He begins to get pushed and shoved in corridors.
Ender looks at the videos of Mazer Rackham’s victories in the First and Second Invasion, noticing that the buggers create confusion through seemingly random flight paths, drawing I. F. ships into traps. He studies the videos but notices they have cut out the parts of Mazer Rackham’s attacks. Anderson and Graff send for Ender and ask him why he is watching the videos. They are only for propaganda, they say.
They put Ender against Bonzo’s Army with no time to rest. Ender beats Bonzo’s Salamanders but is so angry at the way Anderson had set up the battle for him to lose, he refuses to go through the ceremony of the other army’s surrender. Ender has Bean criticize to the assembled soldiers what the Salamander Army did wrong, as if the boys are the teachers. Bonzo, with his Spanish honor insulted, is now dangerous.
Ender speaks to Bean privately, telling him he is the best thinker in his army. He is giving him a special toon for him to train. They will operate on their own except when Ender needs him.
Commentary on Chapter 11: Veni, Vidi, Vici
The name of the chapter is a famous quotation from Julius Caesar: “I came, I saw, I conquered.” Ender has become the commander the I.F. wanted. He can take any recruits and make them into an unbeatable army. He teaches all soldiers and toon leaders to be flexible and creative and to avoid rigid and predictable formations. His style is called “fluid” (p. 185).
Anderson gives the Dragon Army an impossible schedule of battles, one a day. After Ender challenges Anderson to give him a good army, Anderson sends in Bonzo’s army with more preparation and warning than he gives to Ender. In spite of Anderson’s cheating, Ender wins but angrily speaks out his public criticism against Bonzo’s army and the teachers. Bonzo is hot tempered and jealous of his honor, so there will be consequences.
Meanwhile, Ender is becoming a better and better commander. He does not try to be popular with the other boys. He lets the toon leaders get credit and keep up the morale while he is the fair but firm leader. Yet, after the clash with Bonzo, Ender is afraid. He does not know if the teachers will protect him from the hostility of the school. He takes Bean into his confidence; allows Bean to see he is vulnerable; and asks his help. He tells Bean he is the best and can shape his own special toon any way he wants. He passes on his trust because he knows the younger boy is worthy.
He also passes on his values to Bean, telling him the reason they are learning to fight has to do with their patriotic duty, not the games. Some of the boys are only interested in the game, but they must win against the buggers. Ender takes his mission so seriously he watches the videos of the last wars to study bugger tactics. He sees how they trap the I. F. ships, but the footage has been edited so he cannot study Mazer Rackham’s winning strategy. Nevertheless, he is learning something no one else can see, including Graff and Anderson. They understand he is slipping away from their control. He refuses to play the computer mind game anymore and simply says he already won.