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ENDER'S GAME STUDY GUIDE
CHAPTER FOUR: Launch
The beginning conversation about Ender this time is how to isolate him from the other kids at Battle School. They want to keep him out of mainstream thinking so that he is able to be creative, but, at the same time, he needs to be able to work well with subordinates; both components are necessary for him to be the leader for whom they are looking.
Ender and the other 19 boys walk to their shuttle, all dressed in the same one-piece uniform, all being watched and filmed, and all, except for Ender, talking and joking around. Ender however, is in a serious mood, and finds nothing funny except his imaginary interview in which the announcer has chosen him as representative of all the boys. Not only is this humorous from the readerís point of view because Ender is so different from the other children, but also because, from Enderís point of view, there is so clearly a gap between what he is capable of doing and the impression that is given.
Once on board the shuttle, Ender is already realizing a change in his reference-he can easily reorient himself to see any direction as ďupĒ and heís thinking of Earth as any other planet with none of the emotional attachment that one would expect of his home. Graff is also coming, since he is the administrator of Battle School. Initially, Ender feels relieved that he already knows someone there, but then, in response to Enderís humor over picturing Graff standing on his head, Graff singles him out in front of the others as the competent one. As soon as Graff leaves, the other boys turn against him. Ender realizes that help will not come to him and he must take care of the situation himself. He grabs a hold of the arm of the boy hitting him in the head and pulls it hard. The boy is propelled through the air and ends up with a broken arm.
As Ender takes in the fact that he really had meant to inflict pain on the boy, Graff returns and gives the group a lecture. He tells them that they are to be soldiers picked as the best of the best, so they should not get in the way of others; even death has been a consequence of such behavior at Battle School.
Ender is hurt at Graffís behavior, but as they are leaving the shuttle, Graff tells him that his job is to create the best soldiers in the history of the world, not to make friends with children. The only way Ender can now get along with the others is to be so great that they have to relent. Individuals are tools that do not matter when there are buggers and humankind needs its geniuses so it can survive. Graff admits that this is only half the truth to Ender, but later, once Ender has left, Graff concedes even more to Anderson, one of the teachers. Graff knows what will happen to Ender and that the fate of the world may rest on the boy, and so he hopes, because he is Enderís friend and recognizes that the boy is good, that Ender is not the one they want.
Enderís ability to reorient himself directionally with ease is one which he will come to rely on. In a symbolic sense, it also shows how easily Ender is able to adopt a different frame of reference in other areas of thought. For example, he is less upset over the incident involving the boy with the broken arm than he was over Stilson, his first violent incident. This change in basic arrangement (seeing the Earth as another planet, making ďupĒ be any direction he chooses) foreshadows the way Battle School will change Enderís mindset.
Along with this, Enderís shuttle trip makes him realize that the movies he had seen did not capture the violence of the ride. He has also seen movies of battles. Now he is to be fighting them and will come to see that there is more violence in the reality of those as well.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version