After defeating the Giant, Ender spends his virtual reality game exploring a mysterious palace in which hangs a large mirror. When Ender looks in the mirror, he sees many things: his own face, his brother Peter’s face, and his sister Valentine’s face. The mirror is a symbol of Ender’s introspectiveness and need for self-knowledge. Ender is always trying to understand what kind of person he is: is he barbaric, like Peter, or gentle, like Valentine? (This reminds us that Ender was born to be a combination of Valentine and Peter.) In the end, Ender once again refuses to play by the rules of the virtual reality game. Just as he refuses to choose between the Giant’s two potions, he refuses to choose between Peter and Valentine. Instead, he smashes the mirror and walks away—a powerful assertion of his own identity and freedom.
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Mirror appears in Ender’s Game. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9: Locke and Demosthenes
Chapter 15: Speaker for the Dead