Ender's Game: Top Ten Quotes

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  1. “Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth” (Chpt. 1, p. 2).

    The nurse tells Ender it will not hurt to have the monitor taken out of his neck. He knows it is a lie, but comforting lies from adults are predictable and what society is built on, whereas the truth is unpredictable and more frightening.
  2. “Peter was a murderer at heart, and nobody knew it but Valentine and Ender” (Chpt. 2, p. 14). 

    The genius Wiggin children are the only ones who can really evaluate each other. Peter looks playful to adults, while he is actually cruel and will do anything to achieve his goals. Valentine protects Ender from the “accident” that Peter threatens to cause his little brother.
  3. “If Graff was setting him up, there’d be no help unless he helped himself”  (Chpt. 4, p. 33).

    Graff immediately begins his policy of isolating Ender from the other children by making him seem the teacher’s pet. He does this to foster Ender’s creativity. Ender understands he will get no help from adults and has to solve his own problems.
  4. “Alai suddenly kissed Ender on the cheek and whispered in his ear, ‘Salaam’” (Chpt. 7, p. 69).

    As Graff tries to force opposition in Ender’s life to keep him creative, Ender keeps turning enemies into allies. Alai becomes a loyal friend, and Ender sees their friendship as sacred.
  5. “Fairness is a wonderful attribute, Major Anderson. It has nothing to do with war” (Chpt. 8, p. 97).

    Major Anderson is unhappy with Graff’s decision to make the war games unfair to bring out Ender’s ability to make new strategies. Graff argues that Ender has to get used to war conditions, which are not subject to rules.
  6. “Listen Ender, commanders have just as much authority as you let them have. The more you obey them, the more power they have over you” (Chpt. 8, p. 102).

    Dink Meeker tells Ender the secret of freedom within constraint. He learns where he can make his own way and when he needs to follow rules. He should not be a blind follower. He can think and be a creative individual, even in the military.
  7. “What Peter had detected was a fundamental shift in the world order” (Chpt. 9, p. 126).

    Peter, like Ender, is a genius, who has his eye on becoming the world ruler. Even as a boy he detects subtle political shifts no one else can see and realizes that the Russians are arming to start a civil war on Earth. Nationalism is secretly returning, despite the current world government run by Americans.
  8. “Now he was the master soldier, and he was completely, utterly alone” (Chpt. 9, p. 140)

    Ender’s success as he rises to the top also seals his loneliness.
  9. “Only the enemy shows you where his 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”  (Chpt. 14, p. 263).

    Mazer Rackham, the hero of the last war, becomes Ender’s teacher, passing on what he knows of the bugger race.
  10. “We are like you . . . We did not mean to murder . . . We thought we were the only thinking beings in the universe” (Chpt. 15, p. 321).

    Ender receives a message from the Formic (bugger) queen, thus beginning his work as a Speaker for the Dead. He revives her species as he perceives their mutual mistake of not understanding that other life forms are intelligent and have a right to exist.

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