Study Guide

Ender's Game Chapter 3

By Orson Scott Card

Chapter 3


  • The two guys stalking Ender have a problem: Ender loves his sister, which is a total buzz-kill for them. Well, they’ll get Ender to come with them one way or another.
  • Then we see the Wiggin family at breakfast. After yesterday’s death threats and violence, this breakfast seems really regular, like a sitcom family right before something crazy happens to help the ratings.
  • Here, Peter is being a smart aleck, Valentine says she’s too sick to go to school, Ender’s mom is trying to make sure Ender eats breakfast, dad is reading the paper (well, actually he’s watching news in the table – because this is the future), and Ender is worrying about what the bullies will do today.
  • So, totally normal. But you know it can’t last.
  • Right on schedule, normal breakfast is interrupted by Colonel Hyrum Graff of the International Fleet.
  • Graff asks Ender about Stilson. And though Ender at first refuses to give his reason, he soon crumbles and confesses that he beat Stilson to a pulp to make sure no one would ever come after him again. (We find this scene kind of funny: Ender will stand up to bullies his age, but when an adult asks him a question, he quickly breaks down.)
  • (Also when they talk about the fight, Ender’s parents don’t ask “why” – they’re just upset over how Ender fought an unfair fight. Which just goes to show, that even in the future, parents just don’t understand.)
  • That’s just the answer Graff wants to hear apparently, because he invites Ender to Battle School…in space.
  • Ender thinks about Graff’s offer. He would have to leave his school (which is good), and his brother (which is even more awesome than leaving school), and his parents (which is OK), and his sister (which is sad).
  • Plus, Ender doesn’t like fighting. As Orson Scott Card hints, “Ender didn't like fighting. He didn't like Peter’s kind, the strong against the weak, and he didn't like his own kind either, the smart against the stupid” (3.80).
  • But Graff explains to Ender some important stuff about his parents and their religious upbringing and how they have mixed feelings about him. (Be sure to read this a couple of times, to get a handle on the religious aspect of this book.)
  • Then, Graff goes on to explain that Battle School is like regular school, but with battles in the Battle Room. (We suspect there’s also a Battle Cafeteria – maybe a Battle Art Class as well?)
  • And, after all, Ender wouldn’t really have a great life down on Earth since he’s a Third and so obviously smarter than all his classmates. He might as well go to space.
  • Graff explains that the military needs a super-genius to command their fleet to protect humanity from the buggers: “The buggers may seem like a game to you now, Ender, but they damn near wiped us out last time” (3.119).
  • Ender agrees to go even though he doesn’t want to. But humanity needs him. (To get the full effect of that last sentence, you should put your foot on a chair and shake your fist in the air, while saying in a serious voice, “Humanity needs me!”)

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