by Orson Scott Card
Isolation Quotes in Ender's Game
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
“But I didn't hate you. I loved you both, I just had to be – had to have control, do you understand that?” (9.108)
Ender is probably the most isolated character in the book, but since the Wiggin kids are so similar in other ways, what about isolation? Here Peter is telling Val that his urge to control was so overpowering that he couldn’t really connect with his brother and sister. Don’t get us wrong – Peter really seems like a monster at the beginning. But it’s interesting to think that, in some ways, he might be just as isolated as Ender.
"Isolation is – the optimum environment for creativity. It was his ideas we wanted, not the – never mind, I don't have to defend myself to you." (9.304)
Graff starts to explain why isolation is necessary for Ender’s training (and why Ender didn’t get Val’s letters), but then he stops midway to say that he doesn’t need to defend himself. Which is what people always say when they want to defend themselves. We pulled this quote because in it, Graff nicely explains the positive side of isolation (“the optimum environment for creativity”); but the fact that he wants to defend himself shows that there’s something wrong about purposely isolating a kid. No matter the benefit of isolation, we should recognize the unhappiness it causes.
It wasn't to unify the rest of the group – in fact, it was divisive. Graff had isolated Ender to make him struggle. To make him prove, not that he was competent, but that he was far better than everyone else. That was the only way he could win respect and friendship. It made him a better soldier than he would ever have been otherwise. (10.147)
After he starts to treat Bean badly, Ender finally realizes what the advantage of isolation is, and why Graff isolated him when he was first starting out at Battle School. The fact that multiple characters come to the same conclusions helps the reader get the idea.