Chapter 4 Summary

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Opening Section

A voice, presumably that of Colonel Graff, explains that Ender must be isolated from his peers. This will force him to excel and lead. Graff promises to separate Ender from the rest of the boys by the time he arrives at school. A second voice muses that Graff seems to enjoy breaking kids down. Graff does not quite agree, but he says that the kids are better people by the time they put themselves back together again.

Main Narrative

Ender lines up with a group of boys to board the shuttle to Battle School. The other boys talk and laugh amongst themselves, but Ender does not join in. He sees adults watching everything the boys do, and he knows they must have noticed him standing apart. Still, he chooses not to join the other boys.

News cameras film the boys getting into the shuttle. Ender wishes he could run to the camera and say good-bye to Valentine. However, he knows this would not be heroic. Battle School boys are supposed to be heroes.

In the shuttle, Ender is relieved to see Colonel Graff, whom he considers a friend. When they get into space, Colonel Graff stands up in front of the boys. Ender realizes that in zero gravity any direction could be up. He tells this thought to Graff, who berates the other boys for not thinking of it first. Graff points at Ender. “Take a good look at him, little boys. He’s going to be a commander when you’re still in diapers up there.”

The boys immediately turn on Ender, poking him painfully and calling him names. Graff does not stop them, and Ender realizes that the colonel has separated him from the other boys on purpose. As soon as Ender understands this, he also knows he must help himself if he wants to stop the other boys from bullying him. He pulls on the arm of the boy who keeps poking him. Because there is no gravity in the shuttle, this small movement sends the boy flying into a wall. The boy breaks his arm. Ender is horrified.

As the shuttle nears its destination, Graff tells the boys that they are meant to be soldiers and killers. He repeats that Ender is the best of them. When the other boys disembark, Ender stays in his seat to talk to Graff. “I thought you were my friend,” he says.

Graff tells Ender his job is not to be a friend. His job is to produce good soldiers who can destroy the buggers before the buggers destroy the humans. Ender is a genius, and he has been conscripted to save humanity. He is no longer a person but a tool.

After Ender gets out of the shuttle, Graff stops and talks to a teacher named Anderson. The two of them muse about whether Ender is really the one who will save humanity. Graff seems sad about what he did to Ender in the shuttle and about the way Ender will suffer at Battle School. Graff tells Anderson he really is Ender’s friend, but Ender cannot know it. Anderson says that someday Ender will be the best commander in history.

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