Chapter 11 Summary

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Opening Section

Graff protests against the grueling schedule of battles Anderson has prepared for Ender’s Dragon Army. Normally soldiers get three months before a battle and then have only one battle every two weeks. Anderson wants Ender to do much more, but this may wear Ender out beyond the limits of his abilities. Anderson says a computer created the difficult schedule and predicted that Ender would do best under these harsh conditions.

At the end of the conversation, the two men discuss recent news that Russia and America want to destroy each other as soon as the battle with the buggers is finished. Both men are incredulous. Graff jokes that humanity may not be worth saving.

Main Narrative

After less than a month of practice, Ender is beginning to realize that his army is excellent. He knows he does not need the full three months of training that most groups get, and he silently wishes for a battle. At that moment, he receives his orders to appear for a battle the following morning.

At the battle, everyone in Dragon Army knows what to do, and all of Ender’s toon leaders have clear authority over their groups. Dragon Army destroys its opponent, Rabbit Army, in three minutes. When all of Rabbit Army’s soldiers are frozen, Ender’s five toon leaders perform the ritual that ends the game: four of them plug their helmets into spaces by Rabbit Army’s door, and the fifth passes through.

Now that he has won a battle, Ender is entitled to eat in the commander’s mess. At first the other commanders refuse to speak to him. Ender pretends not to notice, and eventually Dink Meeker, who is now a commander, comes by to say that the other boys see Ender as a threat. Even Petra Arkanian, whom Ender had counted as a friend, avoids talking to Ender. Only Carn Carnby, the commander of the army Ender just defeated, acts friendly. Carn says nobody believes him when he says Ender’s army is the best. “So I hope you beat the snot out of the next army you fight. As a favor to me,” Carn says.

The next morning, Ender is assigned another battle. Dragon Army is shocked. “I can’t pretend I like the way they’re screwing around with us,” Ender tells them, “but I do like one thing—that I’ve got an army that can handle it.” Dragon Army easily beats Phoenix Army, led by Petra Arkanian. Petra feels humiliated, but Ender knows she did better than anyone else is likely to do. He hopes she will forgive him soon.

For the next week, Dragon Army battles and wins every day. Ender soon gains the respect of the other commanders. Some try to learn from him; others try to hurt him when nobody is looking. Ender ignores the bullies and does his best to teach himself new tactics. He watches old videos of the bugger wars and studies the buggers’ strategies.

In the afternoon after Ender’s seventh battle, Ender is called in to speak with Graff and Anderson. The teachers probe Ender for his thoughts about his army and its abilities, and Ender answers that the boys can handle the pace. He demands to know when Graff will pit Dragon Army against a good opponent. Hearing this, Graff laughs and hands Ender a battle assignment. Dragon Army is scheduled to fight another battle, its second battle of the day, in ten minutes.

This time Ender is facing Bonzo Madrid, his first commander, who received his battle orders twenty minutes sooner than Ender did. When Dragon Army arrives, the battleroom appears...

(This entire section contains 830 words.)

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to be empty—but it is not. Bonzo and his army are poised around the wall by Dragon Army’s entrance, ready to shoot any soldier who comes through the gate.

In the hall, Ender freezes his larger soldiers and silently shows his smaller soldiers how to use the frozen boys as shields. Ender enters the room last and finds Bonzo’s army already destroyed. Ender rages against Major Anderson, saying that if the teachers are going to cheat, they should train the enemy to cheat intelligently.

Ender is only angry at his teachers, but he soon realizes that he has personally insulted Bonzo without meaning to. Bonzo has hated Ender since his arrival, and now he has a real reason to take revenge. Ender assumes that the teachers will protect him if it comes to violence.

That night, Ender speaks with Bean privately. The boys agree that there must be a reason the teachers are pushing them so hard. The next war against the buggers will certainly happen soon, and Ender and his friends are going to be needed. Ender confides in Bean, revealing his fear of losing. He asks Bean to work with a small group of boys and come up with ideas Dragon Army can use against the unfair obstacles the teachers give them.

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