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Shoot Straight - Chapter 1: "Third"

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An Ender's Game reread

Now that the introduction is out of the way, we can get started on Ender's journey. From here on out there is a huge spoiler warning: do not keep reading if you haven't read the book and are afraid of having something ruined for you. Go finish the novel! Then come back and chat with us. :)

Each week, I'll be including a list of any named characters we meet for the first time in that chapter as well as a "What Happens" section. This part will cover both the main characters' plotlines as well as the  International Fleet conversations at the beginning of most chapters. Below that will be my commentary and public discussion can take place in the comments! 

New Characters: Ender Wiggin, Deedee, Miss Pumphrey, Stilson

What Happens

International Fleet: Two unnamed people (who I assume are Graff and Anderson) are chatting about a particular boy who seems to be the answer to all of their problems. He has a brother and sister who "tested out" of something for various reasons but Graff has been watching this particular boy and believes he's perfect as long as he's constantly surrounded by enemies. Anderson seems to think this would equal a very unhappy childhood for a boy Graff claims to like but hey! As Graff pointed out, that's a far better deal than being dissected by the buggers next time they show up. Anderson agrees and gives the order to "take him." Yikes.

Ender: It's Monitor-Removal Day and Andrew "Ender" Wiggin is having a rough time of it. He's been pulled from school and sent to a doctor's office where he's being mothered over by an absolutely condescending nurse, Deedee. She cheerfully informs him he's going to have this monitor removed, it won't hurt a bit, and isn't this just the best day of his whole life? Ender humors her by nodding, and while he's waiting for the doctor to arrive, he contemplates life with "the little device missing from the back of [his] neck." He thinks of his brother Peter, who sounds like a real peach, and ends up admitting to himself that his lack of monitor won't really change much in their happy relationship.

The doctor comes in and begins the simple procedure, which leads to Ender convulsing on the table when the monitor is yanked out. All's well that ends well, though, and the boy is sent back to school for the last 15 minutes of class. Which -- couldn't he have just gone home for some shut-eye after all that? You'd think if anything would get you a sick note, it'd be almost dying on an examination table. Anyway, the poor kid is back in school, disoriented and confused, and his teacher, Miss Pumphrey, is really no help whatsoever. Thanks, Miss Pumphrey.

So, here's the problem: even though he's slightly drugged, Ender is still 100x smarter than everyone else in his class, and his peers know and hate it. His classmate Stilson, knowing Ender is no longer being monitored, confronts him after school. The bully and his cronies are probably just looking to push him around a little bit, but Ender is having none of it and drop-kicks Stilson to the ground before he really even gets started. Wanting to prevent anyone from seeking vengeance the next day, Ender proceeds to kick the kid violently in the groin and face while he lies bleeding on the sidewalk. He absolutely crushes him and then heads to the bus stop, spending the time until the bus comes crying that he's just like his brother Peter.

Thoughts

- Where did Ender have his monitor removed? In the book, I almost get the impression that this clinic was located in Ender's school, simply because there was no mention of Ender's parents in the waiting room and it seems he almost walked back to class on his own. I mean, next chapter you even find out no one in his family, including mom and dad, were even aware Ender was having his monitor removed today. Weird, right? You'd think at least the parents would get a heads up. Anyway, was monitoring children for the first few years of their lives so very common in Ender's world that schools would be equipped to remove the device or was Ender taken to and from some fancy I.F. hospital?

- When one of his classmates sends a message to his desk calling him a Third, Ender remarks that it isn't his fault, that the government authorized his birth. 
How else could a Third like Ender have got into school?"
Interesting. I think I always assumed that every Third would have been authorized, though not particularly welcomed in society. However, if only the authorized ones were allowed to go to school, apparently some people went against the government and just had a Third willy-nilly. An entire group of people ostracized from society and Ender was simply in the weird position of being an approved Third. Huh.

Favorite Quotes

"I've watched through his eyes, I've listened through his ears, and I tell you he's the one. Or at least as close as we're going to get."

Sometimes lies were more dependable than the truth.

I have to win this now, and for all time, or I'll fight it every day and it will get worse and worse.

* * *

« Intro by Orson Scott Card | Index | Chapter 2: Peter »

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