Study Guide

Ready Player One Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

By Ernest Cline

Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

Prologue
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

A new subculture was born, composed of the millions of people who now devoted every free moment of their lives to searching for Halliday's egg. (0.40)

A lot of people are banking their futures on a contest with odds in line with winning Publisher's Clearing House. Why hitch your dreams to such a rare wagon? Couldn't these people busy themselves making their real world better? Wouldn't that be a better dream to pursue?

Chapter 2
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

My only plan after graduation was to become a full-time gunter. (2.12)

What would he have done if the egg were found by someone else? Unlike his idols, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, who dropped out of school and became technology gods, this plan has a serious flaw in it, in that its success is dependent on the creations of others.

Chapter 3
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

The kid who won [the Earthworld contest] melted [the prize] down to pay for college. (3.75)

Sometimes you have to realize that your dreams aren't practical and alter them accordingly. This kid did the same thing, using a big videogame win as a stepping zone to something bigger.

Chapter 5
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Even though it was initially marketed as a new kind of massively multiplayer online game, the OASIS quickly evolved into a new way of life. (5.25)

A lot of people have given up having any hopes and dreams in exchange for escaping from reality. No wonder the world is such a bleak place; no one is doing anything about it.

Chapter 9
Art3mis a.k.a. Samantha Evelyn Cook

"If I win [...] I'm going to make sure everyone on this planet has enough to eat. Once we tackle world hunger, then we can figure out how to fix the environment and solve the energy crisis." (9.137)

In a world where people would rather spend money on digital clothing and gas for their spaceships, we're not sure they deserve a savior like Art3mis, but at least her heart is in the right place.

Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

"I'd have a nuclear-powered interstellar spacecraft constructed in Earth's orbit [...] stock[ed] with a lifetime supply of food and water, a self-sustaining biosphere, and a supercomputer loaded with every [thing] that human civilization has ever created." (9.133)

Well, looks like Wade's given this some thought. It's a little like pinning your hopes on winning Publisher's Clearing House, but even more ambitious. And we're betting he won't blow the money on a condo in Boca. He's dreaming big here.

Chapter 17
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I'd stopped attending classes altogether when I fled the stacks. (17.165)

Dropping out of school to pursue your dreams—commitment or craziness? Shmoop amongst yourselves.

Chapter 18
Art3mis a.k.a. Samantha Evelyn Cook

"It's not about the money. It's about what I could do with it." (18.69)

Art3mis's goals are a little more long-sighted than just making bank. She's setting goals beyond that, imagining what she can do with the money to heal the world. Of course, it all depends on her winning the money. What would her goals be if she lost? How would she have handled that monkey wrench?

Chapter 20
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

A lot of second-tier celebrities and pornographers [had their own OASIS channel], selling their virtual lives at a per-minute premium. (20.7)

D-list celebs and exhibitionist have hopes and dreams, too! And the OASIS lets them achieve these dreams without even leaving the comfort of their own home.

Chapter 39
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

"We're going to make the world a better place, right?" (39.33)

Wade only decides to make the world a better place because it's Art3mis's dream, not his own.