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ENDER'S GAME CHAPTER NOTES

CHAPTER EIGHT: Rat

Summary

Graff is set on thinking up ways to make the battles the children have more difficult. Although Anderson argues that the battles are such an integral part of the childrenís worlds that replacing the battlesí randomness and fairness with intentional disadvantages will ruin the school, he agrees not to take it up with the political leaders, known as the Hegemony.

Ender finds the Rat armyís room to be disordered and their leader, Rose the Nose, has taken advantage of the impression that his Jewish heritage will make him a good leader. Ender soon finds he has nothing to worry about though, as far as the quality of his training goes, when he finds his platoon leader, Dink Meeker. Dink has been watching Ender and asked Rose the Nose to get Ender for him so he could train him. Since Dink operates his part of the army independently, he gets the others under him to learn Enderís feet-first approach. Especially at the beginning though, they do so with limited success because they are unable to change their orientation to correctly think about the process, as Ender is able to do.

Although Ender is tired after a real practice, he continues practice with the Launchies, while Petra and Dink watch for awhile. When Ender gets back to the room, Rose confronts him about him using his desk (which Rose had forbidden him to do until he froze two soldiers in the same battle) and his decline in the standings. Ender, as Dink had recommended, stands up to Rose and tells him that he was the reason Bonzo had gotten a stalemate in one of the battles. Nonetheless, Rose is annoyed that he had been tricked into accepting Ender and so sends him out first. Though Rose intends for it to be a suicide run, Ender manages to shoot a number of enemy soldiers by emerging quickly, a technique that quickly spreads to the other armies.


Ender continues with his training to become part of a toon. One day, Ender stays behind to see what Dink does after practices-float about in the practice room. Dink says that he has been promoted twice but refused both times because he does not like being watched and manipulated by the teachers, though he loves the game too much to go home. He thinks Rose and the other commanders are crazy, because children are not supposed to be in such positions. From looking at old books and what he remembers of home, he knows that children are not supposed to act the way those at Battle School do. He finds it disturbing that no one talks of home or cries.

So Dink spends time just floating to prevent going crazy. He says that those in charge will not be nice to Ender and that he does not even think there is a bugger war; the whole thing is just another case of adults lying to keep the power balance on Earth stable. While Ender disagrees with Dinkís assessment that there is no bugger war, it does make him question the meaning behind things.

With the rumor that commanders disapprove of Enderís practice sessions, fewer Launchies attend them, fearing it will hurt their chances of getting into an army. When some of the boys start to be harassed, Ender wants to stop practice for a few days but those that came, especially Alai, talk him out of it. Some of the older boys begin taunting them at practice, and the scene quickly turns into a fight.

Under Enderís orders, the boys quickly disperse in all directions, ending up away from the bigger boys and by the door. Ender, however, in using his own flight to push a boy to safety, is still in trouble. Ender manages to use the weightlessness and his personal combat training to fight his way out. Although there are four older boys injured, the teachers do nothing about the incident.

Ender returns to playing the game with the dead Giant but that provides little relief from violence. When Ender crushes the snake in the tower room, a figure of Peter appears in the mirror. The mirror cannot be broken until the snake is thrown at it, at which point more snakes emerge from the hole in the wall where the mirror was. Ender stops playing, but although practices with the Launchies are now without incident under the approval of the commanders (even with some of the soldiers attending for practice), Ender remains disturbed at the side of himself that continues to cause harm.

Notes

A major theme in the book is the adult-child relationship. It is not as clear cut as one would think, since the conversations between adults are often those in which they admit they do not know what they are doing, whereas the children, especially Ender, seem to have a very solid grip on what they will do. Rather than any of the traditional distinctions, the division between adults and children is one of distrust. As proved by Dinkís conversation with Ender, the adults are seen as liars, if not outright, then at least by withholding information. Children, who are often portrayed as covering things up from parents and other adults out of fear of reprimand, are now the honest ones. The distrust in adults, at least to a degree, will prove to be well-placed, but the main point of interest is how the novel challenges traditional concepts of children and adults, often by inverting roles. This is true down to that it is a child who is supposed to save the world.

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