English 011: Essay 2
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Cline sets the foundation for a consideration of an ethical and realistic approach to his fictional novel, specifically pertaining to the education system within the virtual reality of OASIS. The rise of technology has caused us to live completely different lives. Instead of finding a book in a library to research a specific topic, we can quickly type anything into the internet and receive answers in a matter of seconds. We can make strides towards some of the most prevalent unanswered questions in science due to the significant advances in technology pertaining to laboratory work. And, we have been able to make clear connections with Ernest Cline’s Ready Player One. Rapidly developing influences of technology have been proven as an enhancement for education purposes, according to DiEdwardo, due to the more interactive learning processes through the use of virtual reality. This is discussed by Alberge, and is demonstrated through the growing popularity and our connection to dystopian novels, such as Cline’s Ready Player One, and Cline’s connection to the present real world, demonstrating the positive and promising future for technology as a whole.
In Ernest Cline’s novel, Ready Player One, Wade is immersed in a virtual reality known as OASIS. The teacher of his world history class is able to take the students anywhere and truly allow them to engage and interact with history. Wade describes his class and states, “During our World History lesson that morning, Mr. Avenovich loaded up a stand-alone simulation so that our class could witness the discovery of King Tut’s tomb by archaeologists in Egypt in AD 1922,” (Cline, 48). This idea of interactive learning is very different from sitting in a classroom and learning about the history of the world. Having the ability to interact with these significant events in history can greatly influence our relationship with history and spark an element of passion and deep understanding of a specific topic. Having the ability to physically witness such important events can create a very strong connection to history, far more than students in the classroom setting might experience. Cline portrays the importance of education through its persistence in his dystopian world. The OASIS has replaced so-called normal means of communication and socialization through the alternative digital malls, movie theaters, and workspaces within the virtual reality. Although everything anyone could ever need is in this virtual world, education is still a presence, and Cline demonstrates its importance through this ethical approach. The current capabilities to socially, ethically, and educationally compare the virtual world of a dystopian novel to the technological advancements of the real world truly demonstrates the rapid development of technology.
Recent groundbreaking projects have become primary examples of the growing connection between dystopian forms of education and the real world. The Yorkshire Museum in York, England has established a new exhibit through the use of a virtual world. The viking invasions of ninth century Britain have been recreated in this virtual reality project. Becoming immersed in such a significant event in history can expand interest and curiosity, and therefore allow the education process to be more interactive. Physical evidence found at the historical site was also used to create this virtual world, further developing the project. Professor Dawn Hadley, one of the co-directors of the project, stated that, “Over 1,500 objects have been found, and the visitor will take part in a number of vignettes which show their use,’” (Alberge, paragraph 10). This idea of responsive education through technological advancements truly portrays the significance of technology within the school setting. Dalya Alberge discusses the interactive aspects of the virtual world of 865 AD Britain, and states that, “They are seen melting down stolen loot, repairing ships and playing a favourite strategic board game,” (Alberge, paragraph 4). In addition to simply becoming immersed in a virtual reality, the information and scene portrayed is factually accurate. Clearly, physical interaction with the recreated invader camp raises a curious interest in the history, as well as demonstrating factual evidence of its existence. Exploring a historic event through the lens of an individual walking through the actual scene raises many more questions and curiosities, as well as a foundation of an ethical consideration for the program’s connection with futuristic forms of education.
Wade’s education compares to actual interactive learning processes today, and through extrapolation, Cline provides a look into the future through his interpretation of a futuristic style of learning. Simply the fact that the world today is creating a virtual world similar to the virtual reality in Cline’s novel, OASIS, demonstrates the growing connection. Due to the rapid advancements in technology today, dystopian novels are seeming more and more realistic. For example, a dystopian play written in 1920 contains the first mentioning of the idea of robots. Karel Capek’s Rossum’s Universal Robots is now becoming more realistic, especially with the establishment of robot-like features within cell phones, such as Siri and Alexa, respectively from Apple and Amazon. Less than a century ago, technology was nowhere near where it is today. The almost instantaneous development of various technological elements such as “robots” and virtual worlds has allowed reality to connect with futuristic and dystopian works. Ready Player One is classified as a science fiction novel; therefore, the virtual world of OASIS was published and written as a fictional idea. However, only six years after the publication of this dystopian novel, a world similar to OASIS has been established and continues to develop each day. The growing connection of fictional worlds with reality is yet another piece of evidence indicating the rapid development of technology. While this gap between the fictional world and reality is diminishing day by day, the importance of education, especially interactive learning, is not. These technological advancements are being used to enhance the learning process through virtual worlds such as the ninth century viking invader camp. In addition, fictional, virtual worlds such as OASIS are also utilized through education, as described by Wade’s world history class. Cline’s novel is slowly starting to become less of a fictional work, due to the constant growth of technology in the real world.
The importance of technology and education, specifically shown through interactive learning processes, can be explained in other ways regarding the link between reality and a fictional, dystopian novel. In addition to this growing connection, many literary analyses have been published, discussing the importance of technology through education as well as rapid advancements to the technological world. DiEdwardo states, “Reading, writing, and arithmetic which served our industrial society may be enhanced by a new fourth “R” or remembrance as educational focus for the age of technology and multiculturalism,” (DiEdwardo, 3). Clearly portrayed in her essay, DiEdwardo explains the shift in significance between traditional educational values and advanced technological systems that have created a new foundation for learning. The new age of technology is drastically different and has started to develop a new form of learning and an entirely different classroom setting for students. Instead of sitting at desks and taking notes on scientific or mathematical topics, this new “age” has started to allow students to interactively engage in the learning material and become more curious through technological advancements. This groundbreaking progress within technology portrays the true significance of a proper education. However, the definition of a “proper education” is also beginning to change meaning. With more interactive educative systems, it is possible for students to truly engage in the various topics that may be taught in school. Having the ability to be immersed in the subject or environment is allowing students to become more connected in their own education. The shift in the idea of education itself as well as the growing significance of technology in the classroom setting also demonstrates an increasing connection between the fictional, dystopian world and the real world.
The advancements of technology in society have drastically increased and become more prominent within the last few decades. Less than a century ago, the idea of robots had just been established. The classroom setting consisted of children taking notes and engaging in the material only by choosing to participate in class. Dystopian novels were written about the fantasy of a virtual world where an individual could escape to learn and engage in more interactive learning. Now, advancements in technology have taken over the classroom and created an environment similar to the one described in Cline’s Ready Player One; an environment where students are able to physically interact and immerse themselves in a virtual reality in order to enhance education and participate in a learning process that evokes curiosity and physically engages through the mind as well as the senses. The virtual reality of OASIS in Cline’s dystopian novel is comparable to many new systems, such as the PlayStation, Google, and Samsung headsets. These allow any individual to completely transform the world around them and engage with a new environment. Although these systems could also be used for more recreational and entertainment purposes, the idea of bringing these advancements into the education system clearly demonstrates education’s continual significance within society, especially regarding the use of technology. Technology has taken over society, and although some may argue that this has hindered the importance of education within the community, many sources prove that education remains just as important, if not more significant within society. Cline’s novel relates to the development of technology as a truly imaginative science fiction work and extrapolates this concept to demonstrate his view for the future.
Alberge, Dalya. “Virtual Reality Brings Ninth Century Viking Invaders' Camp to Life.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 17 May 2017, www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2017/may/17/virtual-reality-brings-ninth-century-viking-invaders-camp-to-life.
Cline, Ernest. Ready Player One. Dark All Day, Inc., 2011.
DiEdwardo, Marianne. Imagined Architecture in Fiction Works Semiotic Praxis. Lehigh University Coursesite, ENGL011, 8 May 2017