Chapter 5 Summary

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Opening Section

Colonel Graff claims it was an accident that Ender broke another child’s arm in the shuttle. Graff thought Ender would ask for help. The other man says it is good that Ender relies on himself. When Ender fights the buggers, he will not be able to call for help. Graff and the other man agree that Ender will be ruined if he ever comes to believe adults will help him with his problems.

Main Narrative

Ender enters his new dormitory and discovers that everyone else has already chosen a bunk. He is left with the bottom bunk by the door. Ender worries that others will see him as weak if he meekly accepts the worst spot in the room. He pretends to be genuinely glad to have the place.

Exploring his surroundings, Ender figures out how to program his lockers to open at his command. He finds several lockers containing clothes, an electronic desk, a suit that looks like a spacesuit, and a gun that looks like a real laser gun. A teacher, Dap, enters and tells Ender that the gun is not real and that he will use it in a game.

Dap explains some of the basics of Battle School, including how the boys can find their way around by following lighted color codes on the walls. Dap also tells them how to program their lockers. He mentions that the group leader usually gets the low bunk by the door and that Ender will keep the spot since he has already programmed his locker.

Dap says he is the closest thing the boys will have to a mother at Battle School, but he warns them not to come crying to him if anyone pushes them around. The boys must solve such problems for themselves. “But I warn you—murder is strictly against the rules,” Dap says. Anyone who deliberately injures anyone else will “ice out,” which means he will be sent home.

At dinner, the new boys in Ender’s launch group—“launchies”—gather around Bernard, the boy whose arm Ender broke. Nobody sits with Ender. Ender feels horribly homesick, but he holds in his tears until after the lights go out that night. Then he cries in his bed. Unlike some of the other boys in the room, he cries silently. By the time Dap comes in to give the boys a little comfort, Ender’s eyes are dry again. Silently, Ender thanks his brother Peter for teaching him to hide his feelings. Ender knows this ability will help him stay strong at Battle School.

Classes at Battle School are difficult, designed for the super-intelligent children who are students there, but games take up most of the kids’ attention. On Ender’s first visit to the game room, he ignores the two-dimensional games the little kids play. He goes to watch the older boys playing three-dimensional games instead. He watches one game until he figures out what is going on in it, then he challenges an older boy to beat him in two out of three games.

The older boys do not take Ender seriously, but Ender goads the boy he has challenged: “How come you scared to play me two out of three?” The boy agrees to let Ender play. Ender spends the first game learning the controls, then wins the next two games. Afterward, Ender sees the older boys mimicking some of his strategies. For the first time, he feels like he might do well at Battle School.

However, Ender still has to win the friendship of the boys in his launch group. Bernard, who turns out to be a...

(This entire section contains 823 words.)

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typical bully, gathers a gang of followers, all of whom make Ender their enemy. Ender bides his time, watching and waiting for a chance to improve his position within the group.

Ender is not the only target of Bernard’s gang. Bernard ridicules a boy named Shen, saying Shen wiggles his butt when he walks. Grabbing his chance, Ender sends a message to all the electronic desks in the room: “COVER YOUR BUTT. BERNARD IS WATCHING.” Instead of allowing the message to show his own name, Ender programs it to say it is from God.

Although Ender refuses to take credit for this message, Bernard assumes Ender sent it. He and his cronies bully Ender more than ever. Ender does not protest outright, but he sends another message to the group. Ender makes this one appear to come from Bernard himself: “I LOVE YOUR BUTT. LET ME KISS IT. —BERNARD.” Bernard is furious, but the other boys think the message is hilarious. Bernard complains to Dap, who refuses to do anything about it. Bernard begins to lose social power.

Ender is no longer an outcast. He becomes the leader of a small group of outcasts, including Shen and two other boys. Although he says nothing to the others, Ender quietly declares war on Bernard.

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