Welcome to our critical casebook on Ernest Cline's novel Ready Player One. This casebook was crafted by Millikin University students enrolled in Dr. Tony R. Magagna's English 202: Writing About Literature course during the Fall 2016 semester. Although Ready Player One has enjoyed incredible popular success since its publication in 2011—and is currently being adapted into a film directed by Steven Spielberg—there has as yet been little published literary scholarship dedicated to the novel. Thus, the students whose work is collected here have put togethhis casebook as an effort both to build the scholarly conversation on the novel, and to showcase their own original critical contributions to the field of literary scholarship. By exploring this website, we hope that you will learn more about this incredible novel and the varied perspectives and themes that it confronts.
In addition to the in-depth academic analyses presented here, you will also find contextual information that we feel is useful to understanding and appreciating Cline's work. This includes: biographical information on Cline himself; profiles of key characters; an overview of the conditions of life both online and offline in the novel (in the section entitled "Wade's World")annotations of the films, games, and music referenced in the novel; and broader context on the the history of entertainment technologies leading up to the kind of virtual reality simulations described in Ready Player One. In addition, you will find here links to useful resources elsewhere on the Internet, including interviews, reviews, and media clips.
All of the information and scholarship presented in this casebook has been selected and generated by the English 202 students themselves. Ready Player One: A Critical Casebook joins several other casebooks produced by students in Millikin University's English department. In 2015, Dr. Magagna's students explored Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones, while in 2014 they took on Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs. Additionally, Dr. Magagna's students have studied Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad ( 2013), Gregory Maguire's Wicked ( 2011), Marjane Satrapi's graphic memoir Persepolis ( 2010), and Junot Díaz's novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao ( 2009). Other courses at Millikin have examined Toni Morrison's Beloved, Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake, and Helena Maria Viramontes' Under the Feet of Jesus.