Evolution and Teamwork (Ready Player One by Ernest Clin Book Review)


What if there was a way to live a totally new life? Wade Watts, the main character of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, can do just that with the OASIS, a virtual reality system with infinite possibilities. Unfortunately, it is easy for people to get addicted to the software, and Wade is no exception. Author Ernest Cline expresses the theme of teamwork vs isolation in Ready Player One through Wade Watts character development from a self-minded addict to a selfless “sober” man.

The theme of Ready Player One is Teamwork versus Isolation. Cline elaborates that a balance is needed between the two. The first and second acts of the book heavily favor isolation. Wade finds the first key in Halliday’s contest without any outside help. Around the middle of the book, Aech, Wade’s best friend, offers partnership between himself and the other members of the “high five”, the nickname for the five people who found the first key fastest. The others quickly shut down the idea (Cline 244-245). When Wade and Samantha start to build a good relationship, Samantha decides to abruptly end things because she believes that it was a preventing her from winning the contest. Despite showing downsides of teamwork, Cline shows that it is still necessary to have individual success. He implies Wade would not have won Halliday’s hunt without his friends helping him during the final task. Winning the contest was a great individual success for Wade and his friends, one that would not have been possible without their willingness to help each other out. This theme is further pushed forward through Wade’s character development.

Wade Watts begins Ready One as a single-minded addict with little social life, and ends it as a selfless, “sober” man. His “addiction” is the OASIS, a virtual reality video game that has taken over the world. He uses it to distract himself from his struggles in the real world, “We’d been born into an ugly world, and the OASIS had been our happy refuge,” (Cline 52). Wade’s addiction gets worse before it gets better. After he is dumped by his girlfriend he falls into a deep depression, claiming to hardly be able to get out of bed in the morning (Cline 295). His depression makes him give into his addiction, and he spends every waking moment in his virtual world. He spends so much time there that he begins to consider it his real life (Cline 304). He would have been unable to snap out of his addiction without the help of his friends. With their help, he meets James Halliday, creator of the contest that drives the plot of the book, who fully locks the addiction away by telling him, “… as painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness…Don’t make the same mistake I did, don’t live in here forever.” (Cline 567). With the help of his friends, Wade breaks free of his attachment to the OASIS.

Wade develops into a more charitable and collaborative person as well. His main goal is to win James Halliday’s immense fortune by finding three keys hidden in the OASIS. Selfishly, he rejects any help from others in his quest to find the keys. He and his friend even cuss out clans, groups of people that work together to win Halliday’s fortune. (Cline 60). His selfish nature is only amplified when he finally obtains the first key. He is thrust onto an international spotlight within hours. With this fame came countless sponsorships willing to pay him to endorse their products. He accepts every one of these offers. Wade’s ego grows more and more, and his celebrity-like lifestyle pushes his closest friends away. He would have continued down this egotistical path if it were not for the antagonists. The antagonist of Ready Player One is IOI, a corrupt organization that is hungry for power. He finds files on their computers revealing they are planning to kill his friends. This discovery launches Wade’s turning point into a better person. He is only looking at these files so he can use the information to win money for himself, but as soon as he sees this, he risks his plan’s success to warn his friends. After winning Halliday’s fortune, he splits it between himself and the High Five, solidifying his new generous personality. Wade turning into a selfless and more collaborative person helps develop the book’s theme of teamwork vs isolation.

Wade Watts character drives the theme of teamwork versus isolation in Ready Player One. Author Ernest Cline uses Wade’s struggles with addiction to show that you can not overcome everything by yourself. He explains that working individually is better than teamwork in the right situation. Teamwork helps achieve individual success.

Works Cited Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. Crown, 2011.

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