Ender's Game

by: Orson Scott Card

Chapter 7: Salamander

Summary Chapter 7: Salamander

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.