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In "The Veldt," can you describe the situation between the parents and their children...

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alamal | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 3, 2011 at 11:16 AM via web

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In "The Veldt," can you describe the situation between the parents and their children with a few sentences, and the reasons for that situation?

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 3, 2011 at 7:11 PM (Answer #1)

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I think that a good way to begin this is with the simple assertion that the relationship between the parents and the children is not a good one.  On some level and for some reason, George and Lydia have lost touch with their kids.  Peter and Wendy care more about their technological comforts and the life of "things" more than their parents.  Bradbury does not give us any indication that the parents have been abusive or have demonstrated neglect towards the children.   In fact, both parents seem to be fairly affectionate parents who see nothing more than to provide an emotionally nurturing environment.  In the end, the relationship seems doomed when both children seem to care more about "things" such as the nursery and the automated home than the love of their parents.  There has been an inversion of power, to a great degree.  Naturally, this is seen in the end, but I think it is also evident in how the parents discuss the implications of their decisions, whereas the children do no such thing.  There is ambivalence and consideration for the children's feelings, as opposed to the children, whose decisions are entirely made without any consideration in favor of the parents.  The parents are more afraid of their children than the children are of their parents.  In the end, the combination of dependence on technology as well as an inversion of the traditional authority roles have helped to create a very poor relationship dynamic between parents and children.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 3, 2011 at 7:37 PM (Answer #2)

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It is clear that Bradbury presents us with a world in which technology has actually become more important to the children than their parents. When David McClean is called in to give his expert opinion, he identifies that the nursery has "become a channel toward--destructive thoughts." As he continues questioning the parents, and in particular the way that George Hadley says that he had given his children everything they wanted and then as punishment shut down the nursery, he gives his expert advice:

"Where before they had a Santa Claus now they have a Scrooge. Children prefer Santas. You've let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children's affections. This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their real parents. And now you come along and want to shut it off. No wonder there's hatred here."

According to McClean, building your life around "creature comforts" or technology to make your life easier for you, has far-reaching and disturbing consequences, which has resulted in the situation of discord between the parents and children in this story.

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