How we cite our quotes:
"Not a joke, a game. I can make you guys believe anything. I can make you dance around like puppets." (2.64)
When we first meet Ender, a nurse is lying to him, but Ender sees through that (rather silly) attempt at manipulation. The first time we see Ender being effectively manipulated is when his brother plays this “game” with Ender and Val. (Game? Ding ding ding. Check the “Symbolism” page for more on games.) Whether or not this is a game, here we see how manipulation is not just going to be something that adults do to Ender – it’s something everyone does to Ender.
"Individual human beings are all tools, that the others use to help us all survive." (4.83)
Talking to Dink later, Ender seems to agree with this idea – he’s a tool meant for a particular job (8.155). If this is true, then manipulation is a perfectly fine way for people to interact. That is, “manipulation” is another word for using a tool for a job, but it sounds bad when we’re talking about people’s relationships because we usually associate that word with telling lies or tricking people. But what if you could manipulate someone without doing anything bad?
"I'm not going to let the bastards run me, Ender. They've got you pegged, too, and they don't plan to treat you kindly. Look what they've done to you so far." (8.150)
Here’s Dink talking about how he’s going to stay out of the system by refusing the school’s promotions. At the same time, he loves the game so much he can’t quit – so it’s more like he’s meeting the school halfway. Even if he’s compromising, he’s not being manipulated (according to him) because he knows what they’re trying to do.