Chapter 3 Summary

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Opening Section

Two voices discuss Ender’s sister. One says Valentine is a problem because Ender loves her and may not want to leave her behind. The other speaker seems confident that Ender can be tricked into leaving home. If tricks do not work, the second speaker says, it is always possible to tell Ender the truth.

Main Narrative

At breakfast, Ender cannot eat. He worries about facing Stilson and Stilson’s friends at school. Around him, his family bickers good-naturedly. Suddenly the table beeps, signaling that someone is at the door.

Ender’s father checks the door’s video surveillance and sees a member of the International Fleet waiting outside. “I thought it was over,” Father says.

The man from the fleet tells Ender that Stilson is in the hospital. He asks if Ender enjoyed kicking Stilson when he was down. Ender says that he did not. He explains that he had to hurt Stilson badly to stop future bullying. “You took away the monitor,” Ender says. “I had to take care of myself, didn’t I?”

Father argues with Ender’s reasoning, saying he should have asked an adult for help. The fleet officer ignores this and introduces himself as Colonel Graff. Graff explains that he needed to see what Ender would do after the monitor came off to see what kind of person he is. He offers Ender a place at Battle School.

Mother is appalled that Graff wants to reward Ender for putting another boy in the hospital. Graff says he does not care about what Ender did; he just had to know why Ender did it.

Mother and Father do not have any choice but to let Ender go to Battle School. When Ender was conceived, they signed a form stating their willingness to let him go. If they had not done so, the government would never have allowed Ender to be born. Ender, however, has a choice.

Ender considers his options. He does not want to leave his parents or his sister, and he does not like fighting. The idea of becoming a soldier does not appeal to him. However, he worries that Peter might try to kill him if he stays.

Speaking to Ender alone, Colonel Graff explains that if Ender goes to Battle School, he will be away a long time. Ender and Valentine will no longer know each other when Ender returns, and this will be sad because the two kids love each other. However, Colonel Graff also says that Ender’s parents will not miss him much. As a third child, Ender is an inconvenience.

Colonel Graff tells Ender a little about Battle School, about studying hard and treating older boys and occasionally girls as officers. Graff assures Ender that the kids at school are not like Peter. The reasons Ender hates Peter are the same reasons why Peter was not accepted to Battle School.

Graff says that life at Battle School will be worse than life at home, but that the human race needs Ender’s help. It is possible the buggers will attack Earth again, as they did eighty years ago, and Ender's abilities will be necessary if that happens.

Ender is terrified of leaving home, but he thinks about the videos he has seen of small human ships winning against huge bugger fleets in the last war. This makes him feel stronger. “I don’t want to go,” Ender says, “but I will.”

Battle School will provide all the clothes and school supplies Ender needs. He is not allowed to take anything with him, but he is allowed to say good-bye to his family. He hugs his parents and sister and shakes Peter’s hand. As Ender climbs into the car to go away, Valentine calls after him, “Come back to me! I love you forever!”

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