| Quote #1
He always knew the answer, even when she thought he wasn’t paying attention. (1.50)
The first thing we hear about Ender is from the two military guys telling us that he’s probably “the one,” and pretty soon, we see some examples of what makes Ender special. He understands that “it won’t hurt” means “it will hurt,” and he’s just generally so beyond the other kids at school. Like, he hacked the computer network at school and told the other kids how to send messages. All of this seems to get the message across pretty clearly: Ender is great at what he does.
| Quote #2
“There's only one thing that will make them stop hating you. And that's being so good at what you do that they can't ignore you. I told them you were the best. Now you damn well better be." (4.77)
Ender later says pretty much the same thing to Bean, but here Ender is hearing it from Graff. Ender might have thought that Battle School was a chance to start over and become friends with kids who are as smart as he is. But Graff has other plans: he wants to isolate Ender, and here he says the only way out of that is for Ender to be the best. OK, so being the best isn’t necessarily the best way to make friends, but that’s another issue that Ender will face. (Though it’s interesting that the issue of skill and social position are so connected.)
| Quote #3
All he had to do was watch the game and understand how things worked, and then he could use the system, and even excel. (5.118)
In case we thought that Ender wouldn’t be any good at games, we get this reminder that um, yes, going to be quite good at games. (Here’s another hint: the book is called Ender’s Game, which is a title that really promises that Ender’s going to be OK at games.) But notice that this remark slips from talking about “the game” to talking about “the system.” What system is that? Is this thought about how Ender is pretty good at games or about how Ender has actually found a good place at the Battle School?