But Ender knew, even as he thought it, that Peter wouldn’t leave him alone. There was something in Peter’s eyes, when he was in his mad mood, and whenever Ender saw that look, that glint, he knew that the one thing Peter would
notdo was leave him alone.
As Ender goes to get his monitor removed, he wonders if he and Peter will get along better as Peter won’t be so jealous of Ender having the monitor. He quickly dismisses the thought, admitting that Peter exemplifies nothing but pure evil. Even before readers meet Peter, Ender’s fear of him and certainty that Peter will not change reveal Peter to be a cruel and heartless person.
“I could kill you like this,” Peter whispered. “Just press and press until you’re dead. And I could say that I didn’t know it would hurt you, that we were just playing, and they’d believe me, and everything would be fine. And you’d be dead. Everything would be fine.”
While pressing his knee into Ender’s chest, Peter makes the first of several death threats that he issues to Ender and Valentine throughout the novel. He tortures Ender not only by threatening him, but by explaining how he would get away with saying Ender’s death was an accident and that everything would be “fine.” Unlike Ender and Valentine, Peter lives completely devoid of any compassion.
Peter has always been a husbandman of pain, planting it, nurturing it, devouring it greedily when it was ripe; better he should take it in these small, sharp doses than with dull cruelty to children in the school.
After Valentine discovers squirrels in their yard that Peter tortured and skinned, she feels horrified. However, she rationalizes that Peter torturing small animals is better than him doing the same to other children. In this situation, Valentine’s pragmatism wins over her compassion: She understands that nothing will change Peter’s cruelty and that no matter how she feels about his behavior, Peter needs to unleash his torment one way or another.
I was a vicious, nasty brother. I was cruel to you and crueler to Ender before they took him. But I didn’t hate you. I loved you both, I just had to be—had to have
control, do you understand that?
Peter tries to convince Valentine to help him in his plan to rule the world. He acknowledges that he has been cruel to both Valentine and Ender. His treatment of them, from his point of view, stemmed more from wanting to control them than hating them. Especially because he can’t control the fact that Ender possesses more talent than him, he derives his sense of power from controlling others.
But he was angry, for days, and ever since then he had left her to think through all her own columns, instead of telling her what to write. He probably assumed that this would make the quality of Demosthenes’ columns deteriorate, but if it did no one noticed.
Here, the narrator explains how Peter responds to the fact that Demosthenes has become a more admired figure than Locke. Peter feels so angry with Valentine that he tells her not to go to a presidential council and then refuses to speak to her when she still does. Even though Peter created Demosthenes, and Demosthenes’ success helps Peter’s plan, Peter remains so competitive with his siblings that he can’t stand the thought of Valentine being better than him.