| Quote #4
“He doesn't know why anybody wins or loses. Nobody does." (8.132)
This is Dink’s diagnosis of why Rose is crazy (and why everyone else is also nuts). The students at the Battle School have elevated competition to being the only thing they care about. But Dink remembers that this is just a game, even though he loves it; and he recognizes that the uncertainty of the game can be a little damaging to these kids’ psyches. Competition can bring out the best of us, but it can also deform the players.
| Quote #5
“The world is always a democracy in times of flux, and the man with the best voice will win.” (9.102)
This is Peter’s view of the world and the opportunity that’s about to open with the end of the bugger war. According to Peter, there’s competition all over– it’s not just about who gets into the Battle School and performs best in the war. According to Peter, democracy is also a competitive field that allows the best person to rise to the top. And Peter sees himself as that man.
| Quote #6
“If anybody deserves a cheer, it's you. But that's life. Make them eat dust." (11.86)
This is Carn Carby, showing how to be gracious when you lose. Carby thinks the other captains are being jerks because they aren’t recognizing Ender’s win. What’s curious here is that Ender won the game, fair and square. As Carn notes, though, that win doesn’t translate into respect in real life, because life is unfair. (At least, that’s what people usually mean when they say “that’s life.”) So there’s some way in which the game is set apart from regular life.