by Orson Scott Card
Isolation Quotes in Ender's Game
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
The fear stayed, all through dinner as no one sat by him in the mess hall. The other boys were talking about things – the big scoreboard on one wall, the food, the bigger kids. Ender could only watch in isolation. (5.46)
The “fear” that Ender feels is because Bernard is gathering a gang of bullies while Ender has no one, not even Valentine, to protect him. Ender has often stood outside the mainstream (check Chapter 4, where Ender thinks about being like the other boys). But here that isolation comes with an additional cost: it’s not just about being lonely, but being vulnerable. Here’s an unexpected negative side effect to isolation – Ender has no friends to talk to, sure, but he also has no friends to watch his back.
For a moment, as Ender looked around at the laughing, jeering faces, he imagined their bodies covered with hair, their teeth pointed for tearing. Am I the only human being in this place? Are all the others animals, waiting only to devour? (7.103)
Every once in a while, Ender will say something that sounds like he’s a budding serial killer, like this. (That is, once you imagine that other people aren’t even human, it’s kind of easier to kill them; and in this case, Ender might think he’s killing them out of self-defense since they’re the dangerous animals.) We could also look at this quote and note how isolated Ender is – after all, if he’s the only human in the place, not only does he not have friends, but he couldn’t really make friends who were his equals even if he tried.
“It has a private meaning to Ender.” (9.10)
This is Major Imbu thinking about the phrase “End of the World.” In some ways, “private meaning” has to be the most isolating thing in the world. Because if some phrase has a private meaning for one person, then that one person won’t be able to communicate that meaning to others.