“Everybody’s better than I am,” Ender said, trying to dissociate himself from her contempt for the boys who would, after all, be his near bunkmates.

As Petra insults the abilities of the other boys in the Salamander Army, Ender automatically downplays his own abilities. Stilson, Peter, and the other children at the Battle School tortured him because they felt jealous of his intellect and talents. In Ender’s world, everything feels like a competition, and everyone unites in hatred against the winner. At first, Ender feels uncomfortable with people knowing his talents because he knows they will cause him to suffer for his superiority.

These other armies, they aren’t the enemy. It’s the teachers, they’re the enemy. They get us to fight each other, to hate each other. The game is everything. Win win win. It amounts to nothing.

Dink explains to Ender what he has learned about Battle School since he arrived. He sees the teachers pitting the different armies against one another and drilling in the idea that winning is all that matters. In reality, the teachers need the children to be as competitive as possible. They want them to hate each other because friendships would only distract the students from the one true goal: killing the buggers.