Study Guide

Ready Player One Immortality

By Ernest Cline

Immortality

Chapter 1
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Now you have to live the rest of your life knowing you're going to die someday and disappear forever. (1.31)

This is Wade's philosophy. As someone who doesn't believe in organized religion, it makes sense that Wade is unconsciously searching for another form of immortality: heroism, which he finds online.

Chapter 7
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

There was no such thing as a backup avatar. OASIS users could have only one avatar at a time. (7.54)

This is a plot gimmick to raise the stakes on the Hunt. If Parzival "dies," he has to restart at level one and lose everything. It's also a way that the OASIS mimics real life. You only have one identity, so be good to it.

A lich was an undead creature, usually an incredibly powerful wizard or king who had employed dark magic to bind his intellect to his own reanimated corpse, thus achieving a perverted form of immortality. (7.51)

The lich is also Halliday's "perverted form of immortality" because it was programmed by him and kind of acts like him. It's like a self-designed zombie.

Chapter 8
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I silently wished [...] that I could save my place. But [...] I couldn't. (8.15)

There are no saves in real life, and the OASIS's lack of save points adds to the tension of the plot. Sure, it may not be real life, but sometimes the stakes are the same.

The planet was the site of a meticulous re-creation of his hometown as it was in the late 1980s. (8.69)

Halliday didn't even like his childhood, but he preserved it anyway, like an insect in amber. He might have done it so he could pretend to go back in time whenever he wanted. To him, having a crappy childhood was better than a crappy old-hood. To which we say: fair enough.

I was actually playing against Halliday. (8.53)

The whole egg Hunt is a game against Halliday. It's Halliday's legacy, giving him eternal fame. Or at least fame that will last as long as the OASIS does. But is this the kind of legacy people should be striving for? Can Halliday shake the fact that people also remember him as a disgruntled lover scorned?

Chapter 10
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Halliday had preserved his childhood forever, here in the OASIS. (10.21)

Most of the OASIS seems to exist to preserve permanently Halliday's nostalgia. It's like a digital fountain of youth, a place that can take him back to his younger days, when life felt infinite.

The ability to save my place at any time basically gave me infinite lives. (10.39)

This might be one of the reasons video games unconsciously appeal to Wade. They give him the ability to defy death, to try things and again and again.

Chapter 36

CONGRATULATIONS! YOU HAVE AN EXTRA LIFE! (36.10)

One of Wade's religions—video games—does something that religion cannot: it definitively promises reincarnation.

Chapter 38
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

My avatar's level and hit-point counters both had infinity symbols in front of them. (38.42)

If Wade himself can't achieve eternal life (and who knows, maybe he can with his zillions of dollars), at least his avatar is immortal. Except, if there's no one left to control it, does it technically exist?