In Ender's Game (at the end of Chapter 12):

Bean wondered about it as he walked back down the corridor to his own bed. The lights went out just as he reached his bunk. He undressed in darkness, fumbling to put his clothing in a locker he couldn't see. He felt terrible. At first he thought he felt bad because he was afraid of leading an army, but it wasn't true. He knew he'd make a good commander. He felt himself wanting to cry. He hadn't cried since the first few days of homesickness after he got here. He tried to put a name on the feeling that put a lump in his throat and made him sob silently, however much he tried to hold it down. He bit down on his hand ta stop the feeling, to replace it with pain. It didn't help. He would never see Ender again.

The problem with this is that in Ender's Shadow it is revealed that Bean grew up homeless on the streets of Rotterdam. No indication is given that he ever felt it as any sense of a home or that he regretted leaving there. For example read the account of Bean's first night at Battle School:

Bean slept lightly, listening, as he always did, waking twice that he remembered. He didn't get up, just lay there listening to the breathing of the others. Both times, there was a little whispering somewhere in the room. Always children's voices, no urgency about them, but the sound was enough to rouse Bean and kindle his attention, just for a moment till he was sure there was no danger.

So then why would Ender's Game have said that he was crying of homesickness?

  • The general feeling of "I don't want to be here" can translate to "I wish my life back the way it was before I came here", which in turn can translate to "I should go back to where I was before I came here", which is described as homesickness. Since it's by far the most common case that your home is where you'd want to be the most.
    – Flater
    Jun 30, 2017 at 11:54
  • 1
    Personally I think that Bean's character between the two books is quite dramatically at odds. Not really a fan of Ender's Shadow as it overpowers Bean and turns Ender's achievments and skills into a wishy-washy "well, Bean was actually much better but people liked Ender more". Mar 15, 2019 at 11:43

2 Answers 2


He was crying because of Poke and her sacrificing her life to save him (which Ender reminded him of when he analyzed Ender's selflessness in training other kids in Free time). And, partially, because he missed Sister Charlotta, who has given him his first real home.

If Ender Wiggin has this weakness, then I will not be anything like him. I am not going to sacrifice myself for anybody. And the beginning of that is that I refuse to lie in my bed and cry for Poke floating there in the water with her throat slit, or boo-hoo because Sister Carlotta isn't asleep in the next room.

He wiped his eyes, rolled over, and willed his body to relax and go to sleep. Moments later, he was dozing in that light, easy-to-rouse sleep. Long before morning his pillow would be dry. ("Ender's Shadow", Chapter 7 - Exploration)

Please note that Bean was NOT without emotions - he explicitly noted to himself in Ender's Shadow that he had normal human emotions; he simply refused to be governed by them.

  • 1
    Interesting, I guess the place that I looked at was Bean's nap to adjust to Battle School time, while the place that you brought was his actual first night. (I'll admit that while I've read Ender's Game multiple times, I've read everything else in the series only once.)
    – ibid
    Nov 22, 2015 at 23:34

The streets were still his home. Regardless of the squalid nature of where you grew up, it is still an important part of your life and the development of your character. That homesickness was most likely from the separation of the familiar. When a young person gets taken from everything they know, it's still traumatizing.

  • 1
    Bean found the streets themselves traumatizing and had gone out of his way to get off of them. Ender's Shadow gives no indication at all that Bean ever regretted his decision going to Battle School, even during the first few days.
    – ibid
    Nov 19, 2015 at 5:25
  • Then we can most likely chock this up as poor planning on Mr. Card's part. Not every author can be Rowling and have a closet full of explanations :P
    – user56021
    Nov 19, 2015 at 14:17
  • 1
    This is directly contradicted by canon. Sorry, -1 Nov 22, 2015 at 23:36

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.