by Orson Scott Card
Warfare Quotes in Ender's Game
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
[…] the power to cause pain is the only power that matters, the power to kill and destroy, because if you can't kill then you are always subject to those who can, and nothing and no one will ever save you. (12.110)
Here’s a philosophy that Ender tries out for a while – that the power to kill is the only real source of power. In other words, war (in some form) is the ultimate basis for all relationships. This might be a momentary position of Ender’s, but it seems to match up with a lot of his relationships – even the one with himself. But does he hold onto this thought?
“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them –"
"You beat them." For a moment she was not afraid of his understanding.
"No, you don't understand. I destroy them. I make it impossible for them to ever hurt me again. I grind them and grind them until they don't exist." (13.127-129)
Ender may be a product of war, and he may be very good at it, but in some ways, he’s also a casualty. Think about it. If Ender loves the enemy, then destroying the enemy is always going to be a little painful. (Or very painful.) This is part of why Ender seems like a sad character in this book: the thing that he’s so great at (war) is painful. (Although the fact that we see Ender’s pain but not the pain of, say, Stilson, does strike us as a little odd. It’s important to remember that Ender isn’t the only casualty of his wars.)
"Maybe they gave up and they're planning to leave us alone." (13.253)
This is Ender’s (correct) guess about the buggers. This hints at Ender’s big wish in his wars: that people would just leave him alone. For instance, he fantasizes about Peter leaving him alone (1.16) and he cries out to Dink that he didn’t want to attack Bonzo and wished that people would just leave him alone (12.122). What’s curious here is that Ender’s personal enemies simply won’t do that, but the buggers really are leaving humans alone.