Ender’s Game

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Major Anderson Character Analysis

Major Anderson (later Colonel Anderson) is Colonel Graff’s immediate subordinate at the Battle School. He shares Graff’s belief that defeating the Buggers is humanity’s most important goal, but frequently objects to Graff’s harsh methods and callous manipulations of Ender. In the end, however, Anderson comes to agree—reluctantly—that Ender’s defeat of the Buggers justifies Graff’s actions.

Major Anderson Quotes in Ender’s Game

The Ender’s Game quotes below are all either spoken by Major Anderson or refer to Major Anderson . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Tor edition of Ender’s Game published in 2008.
Chapter 1 Quotes

“So what do we do? Surround him with enemies all the time?”
“If we have to.”
“I thought you said you liked this kid.”
“If the Buggers get him, they’ll make me look like his favorite uncle.”
“All right. We’re saving the world, after all. Take him.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Major Anderson (speaker), Andrew “Ender” Wiggin
Page Number: 1
Explanation and Analysis:

In this early quotation, two high-ranking officials in the "International Fleet" (IF) discuss the education they're planning for Ender Wiggin. Ender is a phenomenally brilliant young boy--his intelligence and leadership potential could make him the greatest military commander the world has ever seen. Graff and Anderson's strategy for Ender's education could be summed up as "survival of the fittest." In order to ensure that Ender becomes a first-rate commander (and defeats the biggest threat to humanity, the aliens known as Buggers), they'll bombard him with hostile opponents: rival students, bullies, aggressive teachers, etc. With these teaching methods, they hope to toughen up their prized pupil.

One of the key questions of Card's novel is how people rationalize cruelty and evil to themselves. In the case of Graff and Anderson, the answer is simple: the ends justify the means. Treating a small boy so cruelly might seem harsh, but—in the officials' view—the cruelty is outweighed by the threat of the Buggers invading once again.

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Chapter 15 Quotes

“We got the judges to agree that the prosecution had to prove beyond doubt that Ender would have won the war without the training we gave him. After then it was simple. The exigencies of war.”
“Anyway, Graff, it was a great relief to us. I know we quarreled, and I know the prosecution used tapes of our conversation against you. But by then I knew that you were right, and I offered to testify for you.”

Related Characters: Colonel Hyrum Graff (speaker), Major Anderson (speaker)
Page Number: 306
Explanation and Analysis:

In the aftermath of the Bugger War, Graff is prosecuted for criminal behavior. He's accused of turning Ender Wiggin into a monster: encouraging him to hurt other children and ultimately murder an entire race of creatures. As Graff explains here, he was able to get acquitted very simply: he just argued that Ender's brutal training was necessary for winning the war against the Buggers—in other words, to be against Graff is to be against humanity.

Graff's legal victory reminds us that Ender was only ever a pawn for the IF, and remains a pawn even after the Bugger Wars. As Graff makes very clear, Ender's only purpose was to defeat the Buggers: Graff cynically crammed him with lessons in violence and brutality, never caring about (or choosing to ignore) the fact that Ender might be permanently warped by this "education." And even now, after the Bugger Wars, Graff's judges are forced to admit that the ends justify the means: Ender's prolonged torture at Battle School (he's forced to murder children, for example) is less important than humanity's victory against the Buggers. 

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Major Anderson Character Timeline in Ender’s Game

The timeline below shows where the character Major Anderson appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4: Launch
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
As Ender walks away, Graff turns and talks to a teacher named Anderson, who’s been watching the conversation. Graff tells Anderson that Ender is wrong—Graff is the best... (full context)
Chapter 5: Games
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...with a conversation between X and Y (who, we can now guess, are Graff and Anderson, respectively). Anderson congratulates Graff for “masterfully” manipulating Ender into fighting his fellow students. Anderson also... (full context)
Chapter 8: Rat
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
The chapter begins with a conversation, this time between two named characters, Anderson and Graff. Anderson objects that Graff isn’t being “fair” enough with Ender, to which Graff... (full context)
Chapter 10: Dragon
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
Anderson and Graff discuss how to teach Ender. For some time now, Ender has been optimistic... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...thoughts, Ender goes to free practice in the battleroom, as usual. There, he finds Major Anderson, who informs him that from now on, he’s only allowed to practice with people in... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
...for him. Alai tells Ender he’d planned on practicing with him, only to find Major Anderson announcing the new rules. Alai and Ender try to joke with each other—Ender jokes that... (full context)
Chapter 11: Veni Vidi Vici
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
Anderson and Graff argue about the battle schedule Graff has planned for Ender. Anderson objects that... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
One day, Ender receives a visit from Anderson and Graff. They ask him how his army has been doing, and ask him why... (full context)
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
After the battle, Major Anderson enters the battleroom, approaches Ender, and congratulates him on his victory. Ender is furious, however,... (full context)
Chapter 12: Bonzo
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Childhood and Growing Up Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
The next day, Ender prepares to leave Battle School, accompanied by Anderson and Graff. Anderson has been promoted from Major to Colonel in the IF. Graff says... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
There is then a conversation between Major Imbu and Colonel Anderson. They discuss the recent death that’s occurred in Battle School: Bonzo Madrid’s death in the... (full context)
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Morality and Survival Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
The final chapter begins with a conversation between Graff and Anderson. Graff has recently been court-martialed for his manipulations of Ender. The court showed a jury... (full context)
Love, Empathy, and Destruction Theme Icon
Games, Computers, and Virtual Reality Theme Icon
Leadership Theme Icon
Control, Manipulation, and Authority Theme Icon
Graff and Anderson talk about Ender’s future. Graff tells Anderson that Locke and Demosthenes have arranged for Ender... (full context)