Chapter 2 Summary

Opening Section

A speaker says he needs to see what Ender will do to his brother now that the monitor is off. A second speaker worries that Peter will hurt Ender. “We’re going to screw him up,” this second voice says. The first speaker does not argue; he merely says that screwing Ender up is his job.

Main Narrative

Ender arrives at home. His sister, Valentine, says she is sorry his monitor was removed. Peter, however, is angry. Peter only kept his own monitor until he was five, and Valentine had hers removed at three. It infuriates Peter that Ender was monitored until the age of six. “He almost made it, little bastard, little bugger,” Peter says.

Peter demands that Ender play buggers and astronauts with him. Peter claims the role of astronaut and tells Ender to be the bugger, a member of the alien race that once attacked Earth. Ender agrees even though the bugger in this game always gets hurt.

Ender puts on a mask that makes him look like a bugger. Peter hits Ender, knocks him over, and kneels on his chest. Ender knows that Peter may want to kill him. Peter claims he will do exactly that so their family will no longer be shamed by having three children.

Valentine comes to Ender’s rescue, saying that she will tell on Peter if he kills Ender. Peter threatens to kill her too, but Valentine has already planned for that eventuality. She has a secret letter on file at the public library saying Peter is a murderer. Peter lets Ender up, laughing and claiming it was all a joke. Ender shows off Stilson’s blood on his shoe, hoping to scare Peter, but Peter is unimpressed.

When Ender’s father sees that the monitor is gone, he acts thrilled. He exclaims at how lucky his family is to have three children and to be allowed to keep all of them. Ender thinks these words are not true. He knows it would be less inconvenient and less embarrassing for his parents if they only had the normally allotted number of kids. Ender is sorry for his parents’ sake that the government took out the monitor and did not take him away.

That night Peter comes to stand over Ender’s bed. Ender looks for a weapon in Peter’s hand but does not see one. Peter whispers that he is sorry and then climbs into his own bed. Ender cries himself to sleep.