Playing the game of literature: Ready player one, the Ludic novel, and the geeky "canon" of white masculinity

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Abstract

Ernest Cline's Ready Player One (2011) illustrates the anxieties and uncertainties of embodiment and identity in the digital age by constructing a pop culture "canon" of texts that all participants in video game culture must know. The texts in this canon are "taught" via a series of references and puzzles that the characters in the novel (as well as the reader) must solve. Being a "gamer" thus becomes synonymous with having proper knowledge of the canon. However, the construction of this canon privileges certain kinds of bodies and identities over others. The result is an image of gamer culture in which white maleness is the default assumption against which all participants are measured.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Modern Literature
Volume39
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016

Keywords

  • Ernest Cline / video games and digital culture / performativity / identity / the canon

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