Ready Player One starts with an age-old formula. A genius-turned-millionaire rises from nothing and when he dies, leaves behind a legacy. As co-creator of the OASIS, Halliday generates an entire world with seemingly endless possibilities. Yet there is a hideous irony here. Halliday himself is incredibly unfulfilled as a person. He spends his days locked in his room, programming new games. He falls in love with Kira, a woman who goes on to marry his business partner, Og. He essentially creates this huge community of OASIS users where people can socialize, shop and attend school, and he has no part in it. He even exits within the OASIS as Anorak, a wizard who seems out of another era and does not make any public appearances. Therefore, this irony only serves to emphasize the mystery that shrouds Halliday’s legacy, simultaneously increasing the value of the quest.
Wade's Optimism (Dramatic Irony)
At the beginning of the novel, Wade is optimistic that the money at stake in the contest could be used for the improvement of his society. His idea is that a small sample of the population and a copy of the OASIS could be sent out on a spaceship to escape the dying earth, in order to preserve the simulation. What Wade has yet to realize—but what the reader, in an instance of dramatic irony, quickly understands—is that many of humanity's problems had resulted from the OASIS itself. It had created a virtual world so important that the problems of the real world were forgotten.
The Third Gate (Situational Irony)
When the Sixers gain the Third Key before Wade and his companions, it is easy to feel discouraged, as though the game has been lost. The audience is shocked to learn that Wade, who had started the game by finding the Copper Key first, was at such a clear disadvantage. But two unexpected elements make Wade the only person in the game who could pass the Third Gate, however. The first is the fact that Wade had found the secret coin that gave him another life; the second is the fact that Wade had played the guitar and discovered that the gate could only be opened by three keys at a time. These advantages are clear evidence of Wade's skill at the game, in which his flawless instincts help him gain an edge over his opponents.
Identity (Dramatic Irony)
Identity is a large element of individuals' lives in the OASIS. One is able to achieve a lifestyle, career and style that are unachievable in the real world. At the beginning of the novel, Wade stresses that it is obvious who the low level avatars are, as they come in the standard outfit of jeans and t-shirt. Yet there remains an irony attached to this importance. There is so much focus on outward identity, yet in the OASIS, such identity is completely arbitrary, indicating nothing about the users' real lives. A great example is Aech and Art3mis. Wade strikes up a friendship with Aech due to their similarities as young, male gunters, finding common ground in the quest and their interest in girls. When Wade considers his feelings towards Art3mis, he has to clarify with her that she is definitely a girl in real life. Whereas with Aech, Wade does not think even to question his gender, accepting him as undeniably male. When Aech is revealed as a woman, Wade is subject to an irony that he was concerned with gender—but only in regard to his love interest. This is quickly overlooked as Wade realizes that Aech is still his best friend, despite the revelation. The OASIS is a world that directly associates identity with appearance, yet connects people via their personality.
Ready Player One Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Ready Player One is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
I don't like it. This is clearly a dystopian world. As a novel set in 2044 with the fossil fuel and global warming crises, Cline undeniably inhabits the dystopian genre. And as any dystopian society, there are those who suffered and those that did...