Notes on Ender's Game Themes

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Ender's Game Topic Tracking: Anger

Chapter 1

Anger 1: Ender, having verbally deflected Stilson's assault, then attacked his assailant. Stilson went down hard on the first kick, but Ender continued to kick, knowing full well that he was breaking the unwritten rules of combat. Afterwards, he spoke threatening words to Stilson's gang. This example of anger is the one aspect of himself that Ender hates the most, and he cries to himself that he is "just like Peter." (Chapter 1, pg 8)

Chapter 2

Anger 2: Peter quickly gets angry that Ender "beat him," by going further into the I.F.'s monitoring program than Ender. Peter's mood was not inviting: "Ender looked at Peter only to detect anger or boredom, the dangerous moods that almost always led to pain." (Chapter 2, pg 10) Peter's angry assault was nearly fatal, due to its wrath, but Ender survived.

Chapter 5

Anger 3: Bernard and Ender both get angry in this chapter, and Ender analyzes it. "What enraged Ender was how willingly the others went along with [Bernard]." (Chapter 5, pg 48) Ender refuses to let his anger control his actions, instead waiting for a time to let thoughtfulness defeat his enemy.

Chapter 6

Anger 4: "I hate this game. It isn't fair. It's stupid. It's rotten." (Chapter 6, pg 64) It is not until Ender gets so angry at the Fantasy Game and decides to give up "playing the game" that he can defeat it. His anger enables him to find a way to break the rules and win.

Chapter 7

Anger 5: Ender, angry at his assignment to an army without the rest of his launch group, decided to prolong the misery by avoiding reporting to barracks. He instead went to play the personalized game in the game room. There, he vents his anger by defeating another puzzle that is less direct. One thing leads to another in the puzzle, and Ender's anger allows him to intuitively see the cause, and does the harshest possible thing: he kills apparent bystanders.

Anger 6: "Bonzo's anger [was] growing hot. Hot anger was bad. Ender's anger was cold, and he could use it. Bonzo's was hot, so it used him." (Chapter 7, pg 87) Ender understood that he needed to use his anger as a tool. Still, "Bonzo was not such a fool that anger kept him from recognizing good sense..." (Chapter 7, pg 87) Ender was able to effectively harness his anger at Bonzo to get what he wanted and be magnanimous, while Bonzo let the anger control him and cloud his judgment.

Chapter 8

Anger 7: Ender's anger at the fantasy game, for making him into Peter, gives way to a cold realization that maybe he is a killer, only better at it than Peter because Ender wins so soundly when faced with a challenge.

Chapter 9

Anger 8: Ender and Valentine both get angry at Graff for Graff's use of Valentine to make Ender want to be productive at Battle School. Both get angrier when it works. However, it only works because Graff tapped into the one source where there was no bitterness for Ender, Valentine. Valentine's rage allowed her to write an article exalting a third child, as Demosthenes.

Chapter 10

Anger 9: It is Ender's anger at himself that allowed him to come to his most important realization. It wasn't some social fluke that caused his isolation, it was Graff during the flight to Battle School. This, connected with Dink and Petra's warnings about the teachers, led Ender to the momentous decision: to turn his anger away from the other armies and himself, and toward the adults.

Chapter 11

Anger 10: Ender's anger reaches a breaking point. His army is being run ragged, still winning, and he is tired of the adults. When they meet to talk with him, he is short and snaps at them. After the battle with Salamander, he feels rage towards the adults for being incompetent. I the back of his mind, he knows his rage would be misinterpreted by Bonzo as a critique on the latter's command style.

Chapter 12

Anger 11: Ender's anger in his fight with Bonzo is cold, and he uses it to provoke Bonzo into fighting with honor. Bonzo flies into a rage at Dink's remark that Ender is needed, and is hot anger allows him to try to kill Ender. Ender, again, uses his calculating anger to defeat Bonzo soundly.

Chapter 14

Anger 12: Ender's anger at the adults makes him give up and try to be deemed unfit for command. He, of course, does the one taboo thing he can do, destroy the planet. It turns out the simulation was real, and his anger at the adults boils over. His body shuts down in reaction to the overwhelming grief and anger.

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