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NOTES FOR ENDER'S GAME STUDY GUIDE
CHAPTER FOURTEEN: Ender’s Teacher
Graff and Admiral Chamrajnagar discuss the future of Ender’s education. Graff will be kept on as an advisor for Ender’s education, but it is up to others to teach him about weapons and introduce him to the feeling of mysticism of commanding a fleet. There are also other children that have been brought over from Battle School.
Ender finds Eros to be disconcerting. The slope of the floors downward combined with lower gravity makes him feel like he is falling. The low ceilings and presence of so many strangers around does not help. All the people remain strangers because of Ender’s continued isolation, but it allows him to devote his time to studies. The battleroom has been replaced with the simulator, a highly developed video game that gives increasingly more control and variability to the player, such as having command over more ships. After one year though, the simulator was no longer a challenge to Ender.
The next morning, he wakes up to see an old man sitting silently in the room. The old man will not speak and the door will not open, so Ender does a few exercises, until the man grabs his leg, sending Ender to the floor. The old man does not move again until Ender goes to get his desk and then, in just a second or so, he has Ender in a hold that the boy is unable to move at all. It is only then that the old man speaks. He tells Ender that he will be his enemy, one that knows more than him, and therefore his teacher. They fight again, but after that, the man tells Ender that they will be fighting through the simulator, him coming up with increasingly more difficult scenarios for Ender to overcome. Ender attacks him as he is about to leave, but the old man strikes back quickly. Ender then asks his name; the man replies that he is Mazer Rackham.
Ender and Mazer are together from that time on. With his teacher though, Ender is finally able to see the complete versions of the videos of the bugger wars. Mazer explains that he was sent on a starship afterwards to slow his aging so that he would be able to teach the next commander. No one knows the buggers better than him. Ender asks to see how Mazer defeats them, but the video is exactly as he had thought, with a single explosion ending the battle.
Mazer thinks the buggers operate like an ant colony. Because he had hit the ship carrying the queen, all the others ceased to act, and eventually died from a lack of will. Ender is able to see in the video what Mazer believes. One ship does seem to contain a queen-like creature, controlling all other movements. It does not seem to have occurred to the buggers that Mazer would shoot and kill her.
Ender also finds out why Eros feels so uncomfortable to him-it is a post built by the buggers. When they blacked it out, humans sent a tug to investigate, which continued transmission even while the buggers killed the crew. Even if the action was a result in the difference in perspective of the importance of the individual (it is only the queen’s life that matters to the buggers), the fact that they still killed the humans does not excuse them in Mazer’s mind. When humans were able to take over the post, they learned much of their technology, such as gravity manipulation.
In future battles, the buggers will have learned from the experience and it will not be possible to simply target the queen ship. But humans do have intelligence and new weapons, including one called Dr. Device. It uses a sphere-shaped field that destabilizes molecular connections so that, when the field is gone, only a collection of dirt remains. It even cuts through shields.
The simulator is changed so that Ender can work with squadron leaders. Although they are not face-to-face, Ender can communicate with them through a headset. He is worried about how he will get to know his leaders, but once he puts on the headset, he finds he already knows them-they are Alai, Bean, Petra, Dink, Crazy Tom, Shen, Carn Carby, other students Ender knew at Battle School. It starts off fun, and Ender learns the strengths and weaknesses of each as a leader, so that he is able to use them more effectively with time. Watching their battles, Ender realizes that they have started acting like the buggers, reacting quickly, but demonstrating a degree of independence that the buggers never could.
The disadvantages Ender will face in battles against the buggers are that he will always be outnumbered, and the enemy adapts to new tactics quickly. Because of this, Mazer tells him that he will try to destroy Ender if he can. Ender is not the first student and his happiness is not important; winning is all that matters, and if Ender is weak, Mazer intends to expose it. Ender says that he is stronger.
In their first battle, they are able to use Dr. Device because the enemy is grouped close together enough for a chain reaction to take effect. The battles are harder after that, but the squadron leaders and Ender develop a deeper trust in each other. Although Ender knows it does not matter, he is lonely, as his position as commander separates him, while those under him become closer with each other. Ender starts to have twisted dreams on a regular basis, while the simulator controls his waking life. With more battles, Ender starts to fear that his difficulty sleeping is responsible for making some of his mistakes.
The pressure starts to affect everyone. Petra breaks in the middle of a battle, and, after that, Ender becomes more cautious of using commanders too often. One night, Ender awakes to discover that he has chewed on his own fist in his sleep, a sign of his anxiety. He becomes concerned about the fate of those who failed before him, and Mazer’s dismissal of this, does not stop his concern. Ender loses interest in eating. Other commanders begin to break as Petra did, as the battles become longer. Ender himself passes out during a practice, and is out for a few days. When he awakes though, he is immediately sent back into battle.
Ender dreams of hearing Graff and Rackham discuss him with sympathy, but he thinks of it as just a dream. His life is a cycle of sleeping and battles. On his last day at Command School (though it is unknown to him that it is such), he awakes to find himself free and alone. He soon discovers he has nothing to do though, and goes to the simulator. He is tired, but Rackham tells him of the importance of the coming battle. There are other people there who will be observing the battle to evaluate Ender as a kind of final examination. A planet has been added to the scenario, and Rackham leaves it up to Ender if he should use the Little Doctor against the planet itself or not.
The squadron leaders do not know that the battle determines if Ender graduates or not. Ender ponders the thought of losing, just so he can go home. Then the bugger ships appear, and outnumber the human ships by incredible odds. Ender is overwhelmed, and does not know what to do until Bean makes a comment reminding everyone about the last battle they had fought in Battle School, the one against two armies. With that, the seriousness is gone and Ender no longer cares about the rules. He sees a way out, to prevent himself from becoming a commander.
Ender sends his fighters in. They seem to travel at random, but all the while, they are moving closer to the planet. As they come into range, the fighters focus their Little Doctors on the planet. With that, the planet and the bugger fleet are destroyed.
Ender takes off his headset and realizes everyone in the room is cheering and congratulating him. He does not understand, having expected them to be annoyed at his method of destroying the fleet. Mazer Rackham appears and explains it to him. Since he became Ender’s teacher, the battles had all been real. Ender had sent real men into the fights and had destroyed the real home world of the buggers. Ender leaves the room and sleeps.
Graff and Rackham wake him up the next day, but Ender is extremely upset over their trickery. He did not want to kill. Graff argues that they had to trick him, because he would not have been able to do it otherwise, and Rackham adds that it had to be a child so they did not know the reality of battle. With the victory over the buggers though, events on Earth are collapsing into war and they want to move Ender to a safer location. Ender, however, ignores them. The two adults talk among each other about how they have pushed Ender so far, that maybe it was too far, but it did win the war. When they leave, Ender again falls asleep.
He sleeps through the conflict on Earth, his odd reams occupying his mind for five days. When he wakes up, he realizes there is someone nearby, and reacts, ready to kill. It is Alai though, who tells him what has been going on while he slept. The I.F. seems to be winning against the Polemarch, but the whole Earth is united in their love of Ender, as they have seen the complete videos of the battle he won. The other squadron leaders enter the room, and announce that the conflict on Earth has ended, through the Locke Proposal. They are concerned about Ender, but he has realized after he was ready to kill Alai, that he will be okay, but he is through commanding.
When Alai asks aloud what they will all do now that the wars are all over, Petra says they’re children, so they’ll probably have to go to school, at which they all laugh.
Admiral Chamrajnagar’s feelings about the fleet being something sacred, like a religion, are reminiscent of part of the Foundation novel by Isaac Asimov. In it, a character named Salvor Hardin establishes a religion in which the priests control the technology of the civilizations. Card may have had this in mind when he had the Admiral echo similar sediments about spaceflight. This seems to be true in light of his comment to Graff about how he as a soldier would never understand, that it is a religion.
The Locke Proposal gives an indication of Peter’s success. As events on Earth played out as he predicted, he was apparently able to use his persona on the nets to suggest a peace.
The book’s title becomes even more meaningful after this chapter. Although previously it may have seemed as though it was all in the hands of the adults, now it is revealed that the war with the buggers was a game only to Ender, and the other children, as a result of the adults’ deceit. To the adults themselves, it was reality. Ender did fulfill the comment by the boy at Battle School about his name being appropriate and Graff’s wish to destroy all the buggers. Events also proved the children’s distrust of adults to be well-placed.Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version