The Veldt by Ray Bradbury


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The Veldt by Ray Bradbury

 

     The story of The Veldt, is a delving into the issue of how modern

technology can destroy the nuclear family.  The editor of the Encounters

book, John A. Rothermich comments that "This story is almost devoid of

characterization.", I agree with this statement and think it is key to the

plot of the story.

     The story begins with the mother of the family, who has quite a

generic name.  We are given no information of the characters background and

how they came to the point in time they are now.  The lines "Happylife

Home" and the familiar room settings like the parent's bedroom and the

nursery give you a sense that this is a typical suburban home of the time.

The mother seems alarmed or confused about something, "the nursery

is...different now than it was", this at first might lead you to believe

the mother has true individual characteristics.  However, when you read on,

you see the stereotyped reactions to every situation that comes about, the

parents then say "nothing's too good for our children".

     Later in the story the parents discuss the problems of the incredible

house and nursery, "The house is wife, mother, and nursemaid, Can I compete

with it?", and the father has a generic answer "But I thought that's why we

bought this house".  The parents in the story look upon their children's

needs as services instead of ways of expressing any love or care.

      In the story we never learn anything about the children except for

their obsession with the nursery, "I don't want to do anything but look and

listen and smell; what else is there to do?".  When the parents tell the

children the idea of shutting down the computerized house "for a vacation",

the children react shocked and stay with their one, single characteristic

given, they act shocked "Who will fry my eggs for me, or darn my socks?".

You see then the children's primary relationship is to the house and not

the parents, the children exclaim "I wish you were dead!".  And sure

enough, by the end of the story the children act on their on

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characteristic.

     This short story was published in the early 1950's, Using a major

issue of the time.  Ray Bradbury was trying to make a specific point about

the dangers of the new directions of our society, Television was becoming a

baby sitter to children in many homes.  Busy parents were replacing their

own affection and time for their children, with the goggle box.  The story

concentrates on how this relationship can eventually destroy the family,

even in a future society.  In order to do this, Mr. Bradbury concentrates

on his point and reduces the characters into universal "generic people".


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