Strength and Skill Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[…] everything of value was in the school computer or his own head and hands. (7.289)
Here’s a curious thing: Ender is a super smart and super skilled kid but most of this book details how he destroys things. (And by “things” we mean people and an entire alien species.) At least Peter (maybe with some help from Val) comes up with a peace treaty, the Locke Proposal. It’s interesting to keep in mind that, for most of the book, all of Ender’s smarts and skills – all stored in his own head and hands – are used to take things apart. Maybe that's one reason why he doesn’t need to take anything with him when he goes to Rat Army – because he hasn’t actually made anything.
"Ender Wiggin is ten times smarter and stronger than I am.” (8.26)
Do we trust Graff when he says this? We’ve seen how smart Ender is (see the first quote in this time), so maybe this is just a reminder that Ender is the best at what he does. But when Graff says “stronger,” he’s not talking about physical strength – he’s talking about Ender’s identity. Do you agree with him that Ender has a strong character?
Smarter than you, Father. Smarter than you, Mother. Smarter than anybody you have ever met.
But not smarter than me. (9.40-41)
Ender might be the best in some ways, but for all his work in Battle School, we’re reminded that he’s constantly being manipulated (which makes him seem a little less smart). If we want an example of some one who’s smart enough to do the manipulating, we might want to look at Peter and Val. For one thing, they work together to manipulate the world. But there are also serious questions about which one of them is manipulating the other. Here Val comes out and thinks about the issue. At its heart, the question is, who is the smartest Wiggin? Which might remind us that all the competitions and battles happen in regular life as well, not just at Battle School.