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Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card


Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes


Graff is furious that the computer threw the image of Peter into Ender's game. He is arguing with Major Imbu, who seems to be the computer expert. Graff wants to know why Ender's brothers picture was shown, and Imbu explains that the mind game is between the child and the computer. The computer must think that it will help Ender to see that picture. Graff points out that the photo is a recent one that could not have been taken from any I.F. network and Imbu points out that the mind game program can take information from anywhere. Then Graff wonders why Peter is so important to Ender and Imbu admits he has no idea—further, he states, the computer does not either since it is making up the program as it goes along. This makes Graff feel slightly better, since he is doing the same thing.

Meanwhile, Valentine has not forgotten Ender, even though the family moved to Greensboro. She celebrated his eigth birthday on her own, but what worries her is Peter. He is outwardly normal, but she knows he is still evil inside. What she counts on is that he acts out of nothing but pure self-interest, and there is a certain comfort in that. Valentine knows Peter will never do anything that is not a calculated move designed to help him. Peter has figured out that Russia is preparing for land war. The Warsaw Pact, which joined the nations together under the threat of the bugger wars. He realizes that something big is happening in space and that the nations of earth are preparing for its aftermath. Valentine knows that Peter can find peoples fears and manipulate them and that she can persuade people to do what she wants them to do, and realizes that there is much of Peter in her—they both manipulate in their own ways. He has a plan to take over the world. As he explains to her, he will gain power, one way or another. It is in his nature to control. With her help he can rule over something worthwhile. They begin to use the nets to communicate political ideas, Valentine as the radical Demosthenes and Peter as the moderate Locke. Their ideas begin to spread, and Peter has lots of patience.

Back at Battle School nine year old Ender is the top ranked soldier and a platoon leader in Phoenix Army with Petra as commander, but he hates his life. Ender still cannot get past the part of the mind game where he sees his brother's face, and he feels only despair. Graff comes to talk to Valentine because he believes Ender needs help. He asks her what makes Ender different from Peter and also if Peter is really that bad a person. Graff wants her to help Ender and convinces her to write him a letter. Valentine writes the letter and Ender reads it, but he sees through it instantly. He realizes that they must have made her write it and that it's goal was clearly to show him he is not like Peter. Therefore they must know about the mind game. Ender is furious that they have taken from him his last true memory—that of his sister. He goes back to the mind game and yet somehow, this time, the snake that has crushed under his feet in the past turns into his sister and they walk to the mirror together. Peter does not appear and behind the mirror is a stairway that he and Valentine walk down. Ender is happy that Valentine will always be with him.


This chapter deals with the relationships between the siblings. At the same time that Graff is freaking out because of Ender's computerized similarity to Peter, Valentine realizes that there is much of Peter in her as well. Valentine and Peter's actions demonstrate that on earth just as in space it will be the Wiggin children who hold the power. Although they have not yet started to exert real influence, it seems clear that Peter will get what he wants. Peter is scary because his intellect is matched only by his ambition, and there is no doubt that he can manipulate almost everyone. The only question is whether or not Valentine can temper his actions. Although she is going along with him, her motivations are different. Valentine enjoys having power but does not thirst after it the same way that Peter does. She also knows that Peter is right, that things are changing, and that they can make a difference.

The interaction between Valentine and Graff is especially interesting because he makes no attempt to deceive her. He basically makes it clear that she can have some influence on helping Ender even as Graff manipulates her letter for his own use. Graff is the only character in the book so far to see the Wiggin children for what they are—mature minds inside the bodies of children. He treats Valentine as an intellectual equal. The effect that her letter has on Ender is at once tragic and helpful. It destroys for him the only memory that still meant anything to him, but at the same time it angers him. Ender has been in a state of despair, and his anger reaches enough of an emotional peak to move him farther in the mind game than he had ever been. It was only by taking away Ender's most precious posession that Graff could spur earth's savior onward to step outside of the rules again and figure out a way to do the impossible. The sacrifice for Ender was great, and it has made him view Graff and the teachers as the enemy, but Graff's manipulation worked perfectly, for Ender is once again ready for battle.

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Ender Vs. Peter Motivation

by ICanReadMusicToo, June 03, 2013

I think the foil of the brothers' motivations can be simplified like this:

Ender is always doing the wrong thing for the right reasons:
Ender always wants to do no harm, but is often forced to harm/destroy by situations beyond his control. He does his best to do things in the most moral way, and for only the most moral purposes, but that's not always as possible as he would like.

Peter does the right thing for the wrong reasons:
Peter simply wants to do whatever is the easiest/most beneficial for himself, and is in... Read more


330 out of 357 people found this helpful


by GrammarJunkie18, July 12, 2013

Some theories: Can Peter, Ender, and Valentine represent the id, the ego, and the superego? Seems likely to me. Also, what is the significance of all the names in the novel? Note that Peter, Andrew, and Valentine are saints. What did they do? I guess Valentine is something love-related, and Peter is the bad apostle, right? Also, who were Locke and Demosthenes historically? I know that John Locke was an English philosopher in the 1600s, and Demosthenes was a Greek philosopher, right? And Eros, the name of the planet - what's the significance ... Read more


70 out of 87 people found this helpful


by Cillaejobbigjustnu, October 16, 2013

The teachers doesn't show any compassion to the pupils of the battle school. Althought we (me and my ego's) think that they have more compassion and care alot more of the children than they show through. We think that it is to make strong soldiers and that they don't want them to be weak and want to go home etc.

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