Study Guide

Ready Player One The Home

By Ernest Cline

The Home

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

I always found myself imagining that I lived in that warm, well-lit house [on Family Ties], and that those smiling, understanding people were my family. (1.10)

Wade feels safe imagining he's home with the Keaton family. Wade's real life is so terrible, he'd probably feel safe at home watching Breaking Bad.

Playing old videogames never failed to clear my mind and set me at ease. [...] There, inside the game's two-dimensional universe, life was simple. (1.7)

Even though Wade is miserable in his aunt's trailer, he's able to escape and feel safe inside the world of a videogame. Home is where the (virtual) heart is, we guess.

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

No one could even touch me. In [the OASIS], I was safe. (2.26)

Safety is a big priority for Wade, and is probably the main word he would use to define a "home." But is any place really safe? Even in the OASIS, very real dangers surface—it's just that their consequences affect the real world, rather than the virtual one.

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

I hated being stuck in a safe zone. (4.23)

This must be Wade puffing out his chest and trying to act all macho for us. We see right through it. His biggest hope in life is to find a safe zone of his own, a place he really feels at home. For now, that place only exists in the OASIS.

Chapter 16
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I wouldn't have to be paranoid about [IOI] monitoring my connection or trying to trace my location. I would be safe. (16.21)

Home is a fast internet connection. No, this isn't just advertising propaganda for your local ISP. When Wade's home is online, it's important to have a fast, safe connection so that his avatar doesn't get any glitches.

All I had to do was to get to my new apartment, set up my rig, and log back into the OASIS. [...] I would be back in familiar surroundings. I would be safe. (16.26)

Once again, Wade uses the "safe" word. Even though his apartment is basically an impenetrable fortress with an airlock, he still only feels safe inside the OASIS. He's at home there.

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

No outside light ever penetrated my apartment. (19.4)

Wade's apartment is less a home than it is simply a means to an end. It's a stronghold, as home-y as a fortress. He blocks out all light and doesn't even bother to decorate. All his efforts go into personalizing his digital home because that's the one that counts.

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

My stronghold was my home inside the OASIS. My avatar's sanctuary. It was the one place in the entire simulation where I was truly safe. (20.3)

Remember what we said earlier about Wade finding a safe zone inside the OASIS? He creates one for himself, a high-tech base on an asteroid with no neighbors. Here he isn't stuck, he's free to come and go as he pleases, and that makes it the perfect home.

Chapter 22
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Since the dawn of OASIS, thousands of elderly users had come here and painstakingly coded virtual replicas of local arcades they remembered from their childhood. (22.7)

Sometimes fond memories of home aren't even from the house you grew up in. They're from a place you had fun, met new people, and fit in. The arcades of the '80s were homes to many people.

Chapter 33
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

Aech's RV […] was a mocha-colored SunRider. […] A patchwork of solar cells covered the RV's roof. (33.48)

Aech's home isn't even a house. It's an RV, which proves home isn't only where the heart is, it's where your Internet connection is, and if you can take it with you wherever you go, well, more power to you.

Chapter 37
Wade Owen Watts a.k.a. Parzival

I was standing in a re-creation of James Halliday's office, the room in his mansion where he'd spent most of the last fifteen years of his life. (37.120)

Here, Wade gets a chance to see the home of his hero, which we might think of as a kind of home for himself. He's devoted so many years to getting inside Halliday's head, and now he's actually standing in the dude's house. Well, virtually speaking, at least.