Skip over navigation

Ender's Game

Orson Scott Card

Chapter 7: Salamander

Chapter 6: The Giant's Drink

Chapter 8: Rat

Summary

A conversation between Graff and an I.F. commander who reveals himself as General Levy reveals that the general is concerned with the fact that Ender is just a kid. Graff is happy that Ender both solved the problem with Bernard and got past the Giant's Drink, which no one had ever done before. General Levy is concerned that the children at the Battle School do not act like normal kids. Graff points out that they are highly intelligent and that their job is to save the world. The general tells Graff not to hurt Ender, and when Graff responds incredulously, the general qualifies his statement—Graff should not hurt him any more than necessary.

The night starts out with Ender and Alai eating dinner together discussing the security systems on the computers. Alai wants Ender to set up security for him the way Ender has for himself. Ender leaves his food unfinished (Alai points out that he never finishes), and goes back to the barracks. But when the get back they find that Ender has been transferred to Salamander Army, under the command of Bonzo Madrid. Alai hugs Ender, kisses him on the cheek, and says the word "Salaam" in his ear. Ender knows that Alai has given him a gift of a word that has tremendous personal import.

Ender plays the mind game again, moving farther along and figuring out how to get past obstacles until he gets to a door the is labeled "The End of the World." Ender moves through the door and soon finds himself in a tower room with no visible escape. But just then the screen goes blank and a message pops up telling Ender to report to his commander. As he goes he imagines that beyond the end of the world is the end of the games, where he can just go and live normally, whatever that means.

In Salamander Army Ender is befriended by Petra Arkanian, an outcast herself, and is immediately disliked by Bonzo Madrid. The commander of the army assumes that Major Anderson, who is in charge of the games, gave him Ender as a trick. Bonzo tells Ender not to do anything in battle and to stay out of the way. Petra tells Ender she will teach him how to fight in the battleroom. Petra does so, and also tells him that they can control gravity and do many things that the adults do not tell them about. The adults are the enemy in her mind. Ender turns seven. Since he cannot practice with Bonzo's army, during free play Ender takes those who are willing from his launch group into the battleroom to practice. Bonzo does not like this and tells him to stop. Ender convinces Bonzo that he has to let Ender do it, since he cannot control free play, and also suggests to Bonzo that he authorize it so he does not lose face. Bonzo hates Ender for this.

At the end of his first battle (in which Ender is the only Salamander not frozen) he is ranked first on the soldier efficiency ratings is high—not only was he not frozen but he did not miss a single shot (though he took none). He could have helped but since Bonzo ordered him to remain still he did, and the enemy assumed he was frozen. After a few more battles where Ender does nothing, at the end of a fight against Leopard Army he freezes enough of their remaining soldiers to force a draw. Bonzo is further enraged, trades Ender to Rat Army, and slaps and punches Ender for his disobedience.

Analysis

The children in Ender's Game, while exceptional, create a community which plays out may of the concerns of the adult world. Ender and his companions may be more intelligent than normal children, but they have all of the same hatreds and jealousies that plague the rest of humanity. Alai is Ender's one bright spot, the one other human being with whom he really feels comfortable. Unfortunately for Ender, he is taken away from Alai and his launch group just when he is comfortable. However, the gift that Alai gives him is enough to let Ender know that they will always share something. He needed to share something again with another human being, since he has not come close to relating to anyone since he left Valentine.

Ender establishes a moral universe with rules that differ from the militaristic world into which he has entered. Salamander Army is tough for Ender because he is not used and his talents are rotting under Bonzo. Ender manages to learn from Petra but, more importantly, figures out a way to learn more and maintain a relationship with the Launchies—he starts training them in the battleroom during free play. What Bonzo does not understand is that Ender is too good not to be used and too smart not to figure out a way to do something. Bonzo sees Ender at first as a waste of a soldier and then as a threat after Ender forces him to let the free play practice sessions continue. Even though orders from a commander are considered sacred, Ender breaks Bonzo's in order to help his army. Breaking orders is wrong, but a wrong that is committed in the cause of winning is fine for Ender. Furthermore, Ender always looks at the bigger picture, and he quickly realized that Bonzo does not. This ability to see beyond the immediate future is what Ender uses to manipulate Bonzo and also the reason why he starts training his launch group.

More Help

Previous Next
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

0 Comments

230 out of 247 people found this helpful

Symbolism

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

4 Comments

43 out of 51 people found this helpful

Teachers

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.

See all 13 readers' notes   →

Follow Us