The Themes of the Advancement of Technology and Its Effects on the Psychosocial Health of People in The Veldt, a Short Story by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is an award-winning author widely known for his descriptive style of writing in American literature. Branded by careful construction of ordinary details and use of figurative language he has demonstrated a great deal of success in using symbolism in his works (New World Encyclopedia contributors).‘The Veldt’by Ray Bradbury, is a short science fiction story published in 1951. It is one among a collection of eighteen other similar short stories in the book ‘The Illustrated Man’. The story is particularly stimulating the writer uses an array of themes to address the problems that comes with overdependence of technology.
Bradbury writes about a family that lives in a technology-enhanced house. George Hadley and Lydia Hadley are Wendy and Peter’s parents. Their automated house accomplishes supernormal things like feeding and clothing its inhabitants. The troubling story begins when Lydia asks his husband whether he has noticed something unusual with the nursery. Apparently, the nursery is one of the most exclusive and exciting rooms in the entire house. Its glass walls are able to recreate scenes and sounds that are invoked by its occupants’ thoughts. When the couple visits the room, they find themselves in the middle of an African veldt and can hear the papery rustle of vultures and sound of lions savoring their prey. The sounds and images are shockingly believable that they are compelled to run out of the room.
While George wants to believe that their children are not passionate about violence and blood, Lydia is worried they could be. In any case, the room was designed to allow the kids exercise their minds with unusual fantasies and in turn provide this information to their parents. George contemplates to shut down all the electronics and lead a simple life; an idea Lydia welcomes with open arms. For a while, she felt like the house had taken up all her wifely duties.
When George goes back to the nursery a second time and tries to alter the situation, nothing changes. He is now inclined to think that his children have overridden the nursery’s response. Concerns over whether they were psychologically healthy begin to creep his mind and decides to ask them about the nursery when they arrive home from a carnival. After the kids refute knowledge of the veldt and Wendy goes into the nursery, she comes back with information that the scenery has changed.
The apparent secrecy and disobedience displayed by the two children compel George to invite a psychologist to come and establish the problem. It is established that the veldt suggests the hostile attitude the children have towards their parents. This is eventually demonstrated at the end of the story where the children lock up their parents to be eaten by the lions.
In ‘The Veldt’, family is substituted with technology. George and Lydia want the best for their children. They spend a fortune to acquire “Happylife Home”, a home meant to make the life of their children worthwhile. Indeed the house achieved the purpose for which it was meant. But it does this so well that their parents start getting the feeling that they are being phased out by technology. This is seen when David McClean says “…This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their real parents…” (Bradbury 15). In a typical family setting, such problems would be easily rectified but the Hadley’s children would rather kill their parents that have the nursery shut down. Peter is seen shouting at his father to the top of his voice “I hate you!” when George shuts down the nursery (Bradbury 16).
It could be argued that George and Lydia are not great parents. One could also argue that technology is powerful enough to cause an addiction. Bradbury’s tale very well describes todays’ culture where we see members of the family texting using their phones over dinner. We would rather be distracted by technology than a fellow family member. According to the author of this story, the supremacy of technology spells an end to familial relationships.
Bradbury successfully manages to demonstrate how technology leads to conflict of identity in the family setup. In several instances we find George and Lydia struggling to establish their identity as parents while at the same time fighting for their personal identity. As a confession to her husband, Lydia says “I don’t know – I don’t know…Maybe I don’t have enough to do…” (Bradbury 8). Everything including giving a bath to the children is done by the house. Similarly, George feels like he has been stripped off his parenting duties and cannot establish a proper communication platform with his children. This is evidenced when George tells Lydia how their children threw tantrums upon being given slight punishments (Bradbury 8). We can deduce that he is afraid he does not have the right to punish them for any wrong doings. Their worry to find relevance underscores the natural human desire to find importance in day to day tasks and the need to feel that one is making positive impact to the society. According to Bradbury, even with advances in technology, such a basic urge does not cease.
In his story, Bradbury does a good job at using metaphors to capture the imagination of his audience. He uses his characters to describe implied conditions using metaphors. For instance, George is used to describe the virtual sun in African veldt to be “like a hot paw” (Bradbury 8). This comment is meant to spark the memory that there exist lions in African Sahara. Another instance is when George describes the lions’ eye to be “like the yellow of an exquisite French tapestry” (Bradbury 6). This remark reminds of the scenic view of lions and their beauty. In any case, the lions in this context are artificial just like tapestries. The author conveniently uses metaphors to heighten his descriptive passages and provide clear mental images that underscore the theme of danger.
The choice of words used to describe how the automated house accomplishes various tasks is important in understanding Bradbury’s use of personification in relation to his overriding theme of technology. At the onset of the story, we see the narrator words that “His wife paused in the middle of the kitchen and watched the stove busy humming to itself, making supper for four” (Bradbury 5) and “This house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them” (Bradbury 5). He is interested in showing how actions expected to be done by human assumed by technology.
The artistic element of evident throughout the story is that of point of view. The story is told from a third-person point of view. This would mean that he or she does not actively take part in the in the story. It is important to note however that the narrator is very closely aligned with the character of George Hadley. It can be seen that he does follow George in all scenes and does not depart to go and report anything happening away from George. This pattern only breaks upon George and Lydia’s demise. The narrator goes ahead to deliver the scene involving David McClean, Peter and Wendy. The author fails at in making the reader aware of each character’s thoughts and feelings as the narrator is biased. To the end of the story, the audience cannot understand what thoughts Hadley’s children have other than those voiced and captured by the nursery.
Ray Bradbury style can be described, finally as one that depends on figurative and highly descriptive language in his fictional works. The stylistic effects succeed in helping the readers construct mental images of his fictional work throughout the story. The main theme that is the advancement in technology and how it interferes with the psychological health of people is well captured. While the demise of George and Lydia might have been sad, the real pain is left for the children to fell. The lessons that be drawn from this story are relevant to the current society.
Imagery, Metaphor, And Foreshadowing In Bradbury’s ‘The Veldt’
“The Veldt ” Analysis Paper
Nowadays, technology plays an very important place. It makes people able to shop at home, keep connection with our friends easier. Long story short, people now cannot live without technology. The family in the story bought a high-technology nursery infantalized them and kill them all. Through “The Veldet”, written by Ray Brabury, the author uses foreshadowing, imagery, and metaphor to tell readers that technology is useful, but also harmful.
Through the utilize of foreshadowing, the author tells the two parents heard a scream that heard familiar, but till end they did not find out it is their scream. “ ‘ Did you hear that scream?’”(The Veldt 2) ,the wife asks her husband, but did not get an answer for yes. While the story closed to end, before they were eaten by lions, they figured out the scream is actually theirs, the two children image that they are killed by the lions. The lions were supposed to be only 3D or 4D but not be realized, the power of the technology is too strong, that make children’s dream come true, and kill the parents. Technology is not like human, they do not think, behave like a person. It makes us live easier, as in a good way in the story, we can enjoy beautiful views over the world while we do not even leave our house. Like nuclear power, it is able to produce much more electricity than fossil fuel, and it do not pollute environment a lot, however, if we make a nuclear bomb, it can cause genocide.
Also, the author uses imagery to claim the technology can let people fell fake things real, but people will not feel it. It is paralyzing people’s brain. The two parents find a old wallet of the husband, and “He showed it to her. The smell of hot grass…and there were blood smears on both sides.” (The Veldt 5). Readers all know that is impossible that it has bloody smell since no one get hurt, that is the nursery make them fell the smell, through paralyzing people’s brain and make illusion. So that we cannot tell what is right and what is wrong. In SAO, an anime, the games allows you do everything, thus some criminal, kills character in the game, and murder the player in the real life so that make him a legend. He thought the game is real life. It an anime though, but if it happened, in real life, who should people blame, the criminal or the technology?
To use metaphor to stand the author’s idea that technology elongated distance between people virtually. According to “That’s just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid.”(The Veldt 3), which said by the mother, the nursery had done everything that a mother should does, and even batter, faster. That makes the mother no longer belong to this house, to the family, as she have too much time to think, but nothing to do everyday. Therefore, while everything done by technology, distances between people are enlarged. People are not so closed to each like before. For example, we used to walk or ride or whatever to get to a friend’s house to visit them, but now, we have facebook, twitter, skype and of tool can make video call. It is convenient to connect them though, but always not fell as warm as people talk face to face.
By using foreshadowing, imagery, and metaphor in the short story when parents find the scream belong to them, the wallet is bloody but no one get hurt, and nursery is a better mother, the author tries to tell us like Sword of Damocles (Damocles think as with a great man of power and prestige, dithyrambs dionysius, really lucky.Dithyrambs dionysius, proposed the identity of the exchange with him one day, that he could try to head’s fate.The dinner in the evening, Damocles very enjoys the feeling of becoming king.When the end of the dinner, he looked up and did not notice the throne above only with a horsehair hanging sword.He immediately lost interest in food and handsome, and request tyrant andadministrative him, he didn’t want to get so lucky.The sword of Damocles is usually used to symbolize the legend, the representative has a strong strength is very unsafe), that technology make peace, and help, but also bring war and die. So that people have to be much more careful when we have high-technology tools, as a miss, can cause serious problem.
A Ridiculous Relationship With Technology In The Veldt, A Short Story By Ray Bradbury
In Ray Bradbury’s short story, The Veldt, he invites us to imagine a future wherein a device exists which can recreate any scene directly out of a user’s imagination completely believably. This technology is employed to keep children entertained, in appliances called nurseries.
Like many things in literature, I believe that this is not meant to be taken literally at face value, and instead Bradbury’s intent here is to satirize our relationship with the technology we create. The nursery, which can make real anything you can imagine, is designed to represent our increasing ability to utilize technology for our own ends. I believe the following quote1 gives a good impression of what I mean.
“Don’t let them do it!” wailed Peter at the ceiling, as if he was talking to the house, the nursery. “Don’t let Father kill everything.” He turned to his father. “Oh, I hate you!” “Insults won’t get you anywhere.” “I wish you were dead!” “We were, for a long while. Now we’re going to really start living. Instead of being handled and massaged, we’re going to live.” Wendy was still crying and Peter joined her again. “Just a moment, just one moment, just another moment of nursery,” they wailed. “Oh, George,” said the wife, “it can’t hurt.” “All right – all right, if they’ll just shut up. One minute, mind you, and then off forever.” “Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!” sang the children, smiling with wet faces. “And then we’re going on a vacation. David McClean is coming back in half an hour to help us move out and get to the airport. I’m going to dress. You turn the nursery on for a minute, Lydia, just a minute, mind you.”
Peter says “I wish you were dead” and his father thinks little of it, the not atypical outburst of a stubborn and indignant child. Unfortunately for Peter his house is equipped with a device designed to extract and amplify these thought’s directly from Peter’s head and make them real. In “ordinary” life the father would be protected from his child’s deadly impulses by a difference in force. The child is very likely incapable of killing his father. But with the advent of technology, “the nursery” has inadvertently given the child this power.
This is a very important quote in this it work because I believe it reveals the message Bradbury is trying to impart. The child in this story is not meant to be interpreted literally, but as a metaphor for ourselves, and our foolish destructive tendencies. He fears that we may develop powerful technology without understanding or respect for the danger that this power could pose to ourselves.
There is an additional layer here, which is that our supposed better nature, the adults in this metaphor, are unable to resist the temptation to satisfy the children. They give in, “just for a minute” the father says, but it is a minute too late. The foolish children have put their plan in motion, metaphorically our worse nature had got the better of us.
It is interesting to note that this story was published in 1950, as the Cold War began to pick up steam between the US and Russia, and the nuclear question was on everybody’s mind. Perhaps, and I think this is likely, the metaphor here can apply to Bradbury’s thoughts on the situation we found ourselves in at that time. Where our technology had advanced to the point where world powers could totally annihilate each other a thousand times over, but our basic human nature remained comparatively primitive and quick to take impulsive action, or to borrow from Bradbury’s metaphor: childish.
I think this nuclear spectre had an influence on Bradbury, though perhaps he did not intend to relate this story to that issue directly, I think that it had an effect. It is hard for us today to imagine what it would have been like to live under the constant and credible threat of total societal collapse at any moment. To quote the late Carl Sagan, “The nuclear arms race is like two sworn enemies standing waist deep in gasoline, one with three matches, the other with five. And we’re all stuck in the room with them.” Anyone coming of age in such an environment would find it difficult not to be influenced by the fear this would create.
The central take-away should be this: Bradbury wants us to have respect and thoughtfulness for the technologies we create, and to be aware of and trepidation in regard to the power that technology brings us.
Neglecting Family And Irresponsibility In Ray Bradbury’s ‘The Veldt’
The Psychological View
Many psychologists will tell you that family neglect can lead to psychological problems within the children. Set in the future, two parents spoil their kids with mind-blowing technologies instead of spoiling them with their time. The lack of responsibility and family time is demonstrated in Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”’s theme that it is important to always have family time or there’ll be disastrous consequences.
In the beginning, George gives everything to his kids, spoiling them beyond belief. As George explains to Lydia, his wife, why he spoils their kids as he does, he says “‘… nothing’s too good for our children.’” George blatantly states that nothing is too good for their kids. He gives them more than they could ever want, or need for that matter. George and Lydia initially buy a house that performs the duties of the parents. “They [George and Lydia] walked down the hall of their soundproofed HappyLife Home… which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them.” The Happy Home basically takes care of everyone and replaces the parents in the simple tasks that they should be doing. Instead of spending time with their kids, George and Lydia just leave them to their own devices. George and Lydia give their kids everything and spoil them with technology, but fail to realize the consequences.
Peter and Wendy openly lie to their parents, which causes George and Lydia to acknowledge the fact that they really have no control over their kids. George and Lydia ask Peter and Wendy to explain the African veldt. Peter says, ‘“There’s no Africa in the nursery.’” Confused because George knows what he saw, he responds with “‘Oh, come now, Peter we know better.’” Peter then turns and says to Wendy “‘I don’t remember any Africa, do you?’” Wendy says, “‘No.’” George and Lydia realize that their kids lied to them. They finally start to understand that maybe they do spoil their kids too much and give them too much freedom. As George talks to Lydia he realizes they have allowed their kids to “‘… come and go when they like;’” He understands that Wendy and Peter treat them as if him and Lydia were the kids. It finally dawns on him that “‘They’re [Wendy and Peter] are spoiled and we’re [Lydia and George] are spoiled.’” George finally understands that he and Lydia have spoiled their kids too much. He now realizes that they’ve let them do whatever they want without repercussions. George starts to see the consequences of spoiling their kids with technology instead of with quality family time.
George understands that the house has replaced him and Lydia as parents, so he decides to shut the house off and take his family on a vacation. After observing the nursery David McClean, the psychologists, explains to George that “‘This room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections. This room is their mother and father, more important in their lives than their real parents.’” David explains how George and Lydia have lost the role as parents to the house. He explains to George that the house, specifically the nursery, means more to their kids than they do. Finally understanding what he must do. George and david head to the fusebox where George “… threw the switch that killed the nursery.” This is the climax of the story. This is the point when George irrevocably makes a decision that changes the end of the story. After talking with David, George finally decides that he must shut off the house if he wants his family to be family again.
George notices the mistakes he and Lydia made that led to their children’s hatred for them. Upon finding out that his father was shutting the house off, Peter exclaims “‘Oh, I hate you.’” and “‘I wish you were dead.’” to his father. Peter expresses his hatred towards George. Which shows that Peter has grown attached to the house, almost as if it were his parent. He’s grown emotionally attached to the nursery and the house and emotionally detached from his own parents. George realizes that the house has become something like parents to Wendy and Peter, so he starts to question why he originally brought the house. He comes to the conclusion while talking to Lydia, that what prompted him to buy the house was “‘Pride, money, and foolishness.’” George realizes that instead of buying the house because of family reasons, he bought is just because he could. He bought it to fuel his ego. George understands that because he didn’t put his family first and spend time with his kids, that they now hate him and no longer view him and Lydia as their parents.
George and Lydia finally realize why the screams they had heard earlier had sounded so familiar. After being locked in the nursery by Peter and Wendy, “Mr. and Mrs. Hadley screamed. And then suddenly realized why those other screams had sounded familiar.” Earlier in the story Lydia had remarked on how the screams they heard in the nursery sounded strangely familiar. It’s a perfect portrayal of a story being ironic because, the screams they had heard were their own screams as they were being killed. When Mr. McClean comes to help the family pack he walks into the nursery and “… a shadow flickered over Mr. McCleans hot face. Many shadows flickered.” David McClean finally understands what has happened. Initially, he believe that the nursery couldn’t physically harm anyone. Now, he knows better. He knows that because Peter and Wendy wanted their parents dead, it happened. Basically, what they imagined happening to their parents happened. George and Lydia finally realize that along with losing their family, they also lost their life.
The important message that Bradbury is trying to leave the reader with is that family neglect can harm the child mentally, and having quality family time makes the family stronger. Without that there will be disastrous effects. “The Veldt” has been about the parents overly spoiling their kids with technologies, and have their kids lie to them about what they had changed their nursery veldt to. Which leads to George and Lydia finally understanding that they must shut the house down if they want their family back. This leads to the parents realizing just how much their children hate them. Which ultimately leads to the very ironic ending of the parents death. Having a family is one of the most important things anyone could have. Never take any of it for granted, or there’ll be horrible consequences and you could lose your family.