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Quotes

Quote #4

"And the mind game is designed to help shape them, help them find worlds they can be comfortable in." (9.8)

We tend to think of manipulation as a bad thing, but here Major Imbu (the computer specialist) is describing how the mind game is meant to mess around with students for the sake of their own happiness. That is, the mind game seems like therapy: it manipulates the children into working through some issues. Is this still manipulation?

Quote #5

"Val, we can say the words that everyone else will be saying two weeks later. We can do that." (9.80)

Peter is the most manipulative of the Wiggin kids. Or is he? Maybe he’s merely the most open about it. Here he is, planning with Val about how they should manipulate the world. In this case, his form of manipulation will be almost entirely verbal. (By contrast, the school teachers try to manipulate Ender through a number of techniques, such as isolation.) Peter and Val are useful for us because they talk a lot about their plans for manipulation (so we can see exactly how they plan to do it); and also because they demonstrate that manipulation is not totally about Ender. (See also 9.37 and 9.63.)

Quote #6

He's manipulating me, she thought, but that doesn't mean he isn't sincere. (9.112)

In our opinion, this is one of the most interesting comments about manipulation in Ender’s Game. Here Val notes that Peter’s manipulation of her doesn’t necessarily mean he’s lying. In this case, he’s crying in front of her and saying he needs her help. On one hand, that’s a calculated move – he wants her help and he’ll do whatever it takes to get her to. On the other hand, maybe he’s crying because he’s actually upset. It’s useful for us to realize that not all manipulation is lies. As Graff (probably) notes, sometimes telling the truth will get the desired result too (3.8).

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