Study Guide

Ready Player One Identity

By Ernest Cline

Identity

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

Anonymity was one of the major perks of the OASIS. (2.8)

Anonymity not only allows people to live how they want and as who they want, but it also allows people to be total jerks without repercussion. I-R0k falls into this category, wouldn't you say?

I was a painfully shy, awkward kid, with low self-esteem and almost no social skills. (2.19)

This could be Halliday talking, but it's actually Wade. Just as Halliday transformed himself into the all-powerful wizard Anorak with the magic of the OASIS, Wade becomes Parzival online, using a knight of the round table as the basis for his new, heroic identity. Wishful thinking?

I couldn't bear the idea that [Art3mis] might actually be some middle-aged dude named Chuck with back hair and male-pattern baldness. (2.43)

Here's another downside of that anonymity thing: people might not be who they say there are, which means you might wind up smitten with an old bald guy you thought was a hottie with a body. We wonder what Wade's reaction would have been if Art3mis ended up being exactly what he had feared. Would they have become friends, at least?

Chapter 4
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

[Mr. Avenovich] could have been a small Inuit woman living in Anchorage, Alaska, who had adopted this appearance and voice to make her students more receptive to her lessons. (4.2)

Discrimination according to race, gender, and sexual orientation is still rampant in 2045, and might even be enabled by the OASIS, where many people feel obligated to portray themselves as white, heterosexual males in order to be accepted. Aech is one of these people.

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

"You could become famous in the real world too [...] if you reveal your true identity to the media." (9.123)

Being famous in the real world requires tearing down the wall between real-life and online identities, something Wade isn't ready to do at this point in the book, either out of fear or a simple preference for the two to remain separate.

Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

[Art3mis] was even cooler in person than I'd imagined. (9.43)

This is how closely a person's OASIS identity is tied into their actual, human identity. Just getting an eyeful of Art3mis's polygons counts to Wade as "in person."

Chapter 17
Art3mis a.k.a. Samantha Evelyn Cook

"Everyone thinks I'm a man in real life." (17.27)

Art3mis defies expectations that girls are no good at games and can't be geeks in the end by actually being female.

Chapter 19
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

In the OASIS [...] I was a legend. Nay, a god. (19.52)

As we've said, the OASIS lets you become whoever you want. For example, a mild-mannered teenager from Oklahoma can become an egotistical maniac. Hey, whatever floats your boat.

Chapter 31
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Bryce Lynch no longer existed. I was Wade Watts again. (31.29)

Wade doesn't just create an online identify for himself; he creates a separate real-life alias to evade IOI's surveillance.

Chapter 34
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Even though I now knew Aech was actually a female in real life, her avatar was still male, so I decided to continue to refer to him as such. (34.17)

For Wade, Aech's online identity still holds priority over her true identity. Since Wade's no longer compulsively obsessed with the OASIS at the end of the novel, maybe he can look beyond the avatar and see Aech for who she really is.