Community Quotes in Ender's Game
How we cite our quotes:
Graff reached out and touched his hand across the aisle. Ender stiffened in surprise, and Graff soon withdrew, but for a moment Ender was struck with the startling thought that perhaps Graff felt some affection for him. (13.206)
While Ender mostly thinks about his failure to form a community with other kids and his family, there’s this one set of relationships that he doesn’t think about so much: his relations with the teachers of the Battle School. Or, rather, when he does think about the teachers, he considers them the enemy. But here Graff’s mask slips slightly and we see his affection for Ender. (It helps that Graff has told others that he’s Ender’s friend and he thinks Ender is a great kid.) Ender and Graff will never be very close, but there’s a sense of a possible relationship here – which Ender is not entirely comfortable with.
"If the other fellow can't tell you his story, you can never be sure he isn't trying to kill you." (13.282)
In this section, we’ve been thinking about several possible roots for communities. Maybe you can form a community with people who share your hobbies. Or maybe you can only form one with people who treat you as an equal. In this quote, Graff offers maybe the most basic requirement for a community: the people in it are able to communicate with each other. That makes the buggers’ telepathy perhaps the ultimate form of community; instead of having to talk about what they’re feeling or thinking, they simply transmit the feeling or thought: “What one thinks, another can also think; what one remembers, another can also remember” (13.280).
“Our genes won't let us decide any other way. Nature can't evolve a species that hasn't a will to survive. Individuals might be bred to sacrifice themselves, but the race as a whole can never decide to cease to exist.” (13.286)
This is Graff’s theory of the species and the individual. What’s important, according to Graff, is that genes live on. Again we get a notion of something like a community – here we have individuals sacrificing themselves for the species, which those individuals can never know in a direct way. Seriously: can you meet all humans? You’d have to have a lot of free time. Yet, even without meeting everyone in the species, Graff seems to think that the species makes some demands on the individual. This sounds a little bit like a community. As you can see, this book covers many different kinds of communities, from the small (the family) to the large (the species).