Wade Character In Ready Player One By Ernest Cline
The main male protagonist of the science fiction novel, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline, is Wade Owen Watts. Taking place in 2045, the world has become a post-apocalyptic wasteland; everyone escapes to the virtual reality universe created by the genius James Halliday. Wade is obsessed with James Halliday and knows pretty much everything about his life. In fact, everything that Wade seems to enjoy or be passionate about — gaming, movies, etc. — is mostly influenced by his absence of friends and family and Halliday’s interests. His absence of family was because he had a tragic childhood that involved the death of both his parents. His home is a run-down trailer park where he barely has enough funds to purchase the gear that allows him to escape to the Oasis, the 3D universe. This means that although Wade is reasonably powerless, he has a secret advantage of immense knowledge about Halliday and skill at the video games Halliday liked and played. Wade is able to put this knowledge to significant use when he is the first person to discover the Copper Key, thereby emerging as the early frontrunner in the easter egg hunt that James Halliday put in the game; whoever found the easter egg would be awarded control of the game and the company which was worth hundreds of trillions of dollars. Wade’s name in the universe is Parzival, a reference to the Arthurian knight who was famous for his quest for the Holy Grail.
The Holy Grail to Wade is basically the easter egg. He ends up moving to Columbus, Ohio, and spends even more time in the OASIS than he already has been spending — pretty much all his waking hours; because of this, he gains a massive amount of weight and can’t even fit into his haptic suit, which really shows his commitment to the game. He decides he needs to focus time in the outside world, so in order to get back into the game, he starts a strict exercise regimen to burn off a lot of his weight. He also shaves off all his body hair — including eyebrows — to better experience the physical sensations his haptic suit gives him. All this hard work gives him the added benefit of a more muscular frame, a flatter stomach, and healthier, stronger immune system. Despite almost single handedly solving/finding Halliday’s easter egg and taking down an evil corporation who was trying to dominate the entire game and the world basically, Wade did not do everything perfectly. For example, he uses illegal file sharing sites to obtain many files and lets his friendship with his best friend Aech wither when Art3mis becomes a big part of Wade’s life. In fact, Wade almost ruins his chance of winning by becoming too distracted by his crush on the main female protagonist, Samantha Evelyn Cook, or known as Art3mis in the game. However, as the novel progresses, he becomes more confident, brave, wise, and mature-mostly in part through realizing the significance of prioritizing people other than himself.
By the end of the novel, Wade finally comes to accept Halliday’s advice that he cannot and should not spend all his time inside the OASIS. Even though Wade has won the hunt and is now a multi-billionaire who controls the simulation at this point, he realizes that he must also embrace the real world in order to have a meaningful life and actually places a restriction on everyone who plays the game by shutting the game down a few times a week. Throughout the entirety of the book, Wade truly exhibits his ability to grow and to persevere through even the toughest conditions; he has to defend his life in the real world while fighting for an Easter egg in the virtual world.
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