Study Guide

Ender's Game Chapter 4

By Orson Scott Card

Chapter 4


  • This chapter opens up with – surprise – two guys talking about Ender. They decide that they need to isolate Ender so he remains creative. One of the voices promises that he’ll have Ender isolated by the time they reach school. Even though Ender is a sweet kid.
  • Ender and nineteen other boys are getting onto a space shuttle that will take them to the Battle School.
  • Then, when Ender gets into the shuttle, he has this amazing, awesome realization: without gravity, any direction can be down. Ender realizes this when he sees a wall that’s carpeted, as if it were a floor.
  • In space, Graff walks on what used to be a wall, which makes Ender laugh. Graff seems like he’s going to yell at Ender for laughing (like all those military movies where the instructor is mean. You know what we’re talking about, Full Metal Jacket).
  • But instead, Graff yells at all the other kids; he tells them that Ender is the only smart one of the bunch – which is a great way to ensure that Ender doesn’t have any friends.
  • (Ah, so one of the voices at the beginning of this chapter was Graff’s. He’s the one who will make sure Ender’s isolated.)
  • The kid behind Ender starts to hit Ender on the head repeatedly, so Ender grabs his arm and pulls. Except the kid isn’t wearing a seatbelt and this is in null gravity, so the kid goes flying and breaks his arm.
  • Yeah, Ender’s not making any friends. But at least he’s really smart. So it all evens out, right?
  • Ender feels bad about having to hurt this kid.
  • When they arrive at Battle School, Ender stops to accuse Graff of messing things up. Graff tells him two things that are hugely important and that you might want to re-read:
  • 1) “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” (4.77).
  • 2) And Graff goes on to explain his theory of the human species, which is basically this: as long as the species survives, it doesn’t matter if a little genius kid is happy – all of us are tools for the survival of the species.
  • After Ender leaves, Graff confesses to Major Anderson that he likes Ender and that Ender is “clean. Right to the heart, he's good” (4.100).
  • (Of course, the kid who now has a broken arm might have a different opinion about Ender. But that’s what’s great about the future: everyone can have his own opinion.)

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