Chapter 1 Summary
Two unnamed people argue with each other. The first says that someone—a person called only “he”—will help them save the world. The second speaker disagrees, saying that he is weak, too willing to do what others want. Eventually the second speaker gives in; the first speaker can do what he wants.
Andrew “Ender” Wiggin is in the doctor’s office. A woman says she is going to take a monitor out of the back of his neck. Ender hopes that once the monitor is gone, his brother, Peter, will stop hating him. Peter will still bully Ender but will stop being jealous that Ender kept the monitor longer than he did.
The doctor does something that causes Ender extreme pain. Ender thrashes and falls off the examining table, then finds he cannot remember how to speak. The doctor is disgusted that the monitor stayed in Ender’s neck for three years, a period of time that is normally considered much too long. The doctor says the removal could have killed Ender.
Ender goes to school. In the classroom, the girl behind him quickly notices that his monitor is missing. Ender receives a message on his electronic desk. It says, “Third.” This is an insult because Ender is the third child in his family. Families are only allowed to have two children. Even though the government specifically authorized Ender’s birth, the kids in Ender’s class treat him as a freak.
When school is over, Ender waits in his classroom. He knows bullies will be waiting to taunt him and possibly hurt him now that the monitor no longer records everything he sees and hears. This prediction is correct. A boy from his class, Stilson, is waiting with several friends. A couple of kids grab Ender and hold him. Ender does not panic. Instead he laughs. “You mean it takes this many of you to fight one Third?” he asks.
The kids let go so that Ender and Stilson can to fight one to one. Ender kicks out, and Stilson falls. Ender knows that the other kids will continue to bully him if he does not scare them now. Although he knows it is cruel, Ender kicks Stilson several more times while Stilson is on the ground. Ender tells the other kids he will do worse to them if they come after him.
After he wins the fight, Ender hides alone and cries. He thinks, “I am just like Peter.”