Chapter 7 Summary

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Opening Section

Two officials discuss Ender’s progress. One claims that Ender must be a monster because of what he did to the Giant. The other, who is probably Colonel Graff, points out that it is a good sign to see Ender win a game that couldn’t be won. Graff says that Ender will soon have to move on. The other voice agrees but asks Graff not to hurt Ender any more than necessary.

Main Narrative

Several weeks have passed, and Ender still refuses to admit that he sent the message signed with Bernard’s name. However, Alai knows Ender must have been responsible. After teasing Ender about it, Alai asks for help setting up a computer security system. Ender agrees, but when he arrives at his bunk he finds a note saying he has been promoted.

Ender is upset to be moved out of his launch group so early. He is still six, and most boys are never assigned to an army—which is the Battle School name for the teams the older boys play on—before age eight. Ender's launch group has just started working together, and he and Alai are becoming good friends. Ender does not want to leave, but he knows he must. Alai kisses Ender’s cheek and whispers, “Salaam.”

On his way to his new barracks, Ender stops in the game room and signs into the mind game. Ender passes by the Giant’s corpse to go to Fairyland. In the game, Ender tries to play in a playground, but unlike the other children in the game, he cannot use the play equipment. He gives up and wanders into the forest, where he is eaten by wolves. After several attempts and failures, Ender realizes that he cannot defeat the wolves, so he goes back to the playground and kills the children instead. As each child dies, his or her body turns into the body of a wolf.

After that, Ender is able to go on through the game. He comes to a door labeled “The End of the World” and steps through it. He finds his way to a castle, where a snake threatens to kill him. Before he can fight the snake, he gets a message that he must stop playing the game and go on to his new dormitory.

At the new barracks, Ender immediately finds himself an outcast. The only person who shows him any kindness is Petra Arkanian, the only girl. Her attention places Ender in a worse social position because she is an outcast as well. Ender’s new commander, Bonzo Madrid, announces that he will neither train Ender nor let Ender compete with the rest of the group. There is nothing Ender can do about this; he hopes to be traded into another army as soon as possible.

All is not lost, however. Petra offers to help Ender train on his own, and the next morning after breakfast she coaches him in shooting. When the whole army practices with Bonzo later in the day, Ender is ordered to sit in a corner and do his homework. He stays out of the way, but he studies Bonzo’s army rather than his schoolwork. Ender admits to himself that he is not physically ready to do the kind of coordinated battle skills the other boys are practicing. However, he also sees ways he could improve on Bonzo’s strategy.

That night Ender invites Alai, Shen, and some other boys from his launch group to practice with him. By doing this, Ender is breaking a Battle School convention. Boys who belong to armies do not normally interact with launchies, but Ender...

(This entire section contains 784 words.)

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sees no other way to improve.

At Ender’s first battle, under Bonzo’s orders, Ender stays out of the way. Ender’s legs get frozen, but he is still capable of shooting and, therefore, capable of disabling another soldier and making the game a draw when his army loses. Bonzo orders Ender to continue sitting on the sidelines even in this situation.

As a consequence of Bonzo’s bad choices, Ender becomes the highest ranked soldier in the school. Never having fired his weapon, Ender has never missed. Never having played, he has never been frozen or disabled. Eventually Ender disobeys Bonzo and shoots several of the enemy team’s soldiers at the end of a battle, thereby saving his own army from a loss.

This disobedience makes Bonzo furious. He trades Ender to another army and beats him before sending him away. As he heads to his new barracks, Ender signs up for a personal defense class. He does not intend to let Bonzo or anyone else abuse him again.

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