How accurate is Ray Bradbury's vision of the future compared to our time?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

There are some strong parallels that can be seen in our present and Bradbury's work.  There is the obvious suggestion that the nursery, home, and technology that Bradbury is describing is not our current reality.  However, Bradbury writes not with a literal sense of foretelling the future, but rather creates a setting where thematic elements between both worlds are highly resonant.  Indeed, the idea of parents and children being estranged and separate from one another is one that is quite real.  George and Lydia have allowed technology to separate the bond between parents and children.  The nursery and home have become the real parents and providers for the children, and whether conscious or not, the separation between parent and child is evident.  Another interesting development that arises from this is the idea that children rebelling against their parents can take such a brutal form.  When Bradbury was writing, it was inconceivable that children could engineer the demise of their parents.  In the modern setting, this vision is still reprehensible, but it is one that we are more likely to understand and concede could happen, as children do have more freedom and access now than they did then.  Finally, I would suggest that the ending has modern implications.  While the parents are being torn apart by lions, the children greet the psychologist with the utmost of polite decorum.  This potentially duplicitous nature of children is something to which, again, the modern setting has borne much in the way of witness.

ophelious's profile pic

ophelious | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

"Accurate in spirit" might be a good way to put it.  Obviously, we don't have the technology to create "the nursery" as it is in the story.  But in a lot of ways, don't we have something similar in our televisions?  The idea of "the Veldt" is that the room becomes kind of an electronic babysitter/companion for the kids.  The implication is that this frees up the adults from having to interact/deal with the children: "this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them."

Think about how some parents use television today as a way to keep their kids occupied (as well as the adults!):  "they startled you, gave you a twinge, but most of the time what fun for everyone, not only your own son and daughter, but for yourself when you felt like a quick jaunt to a foreign land, a quick change of scenery. Well, here it was!"

The technology in "The Veldt" is used for similar reasons to how we use technology today, it's just the intricacy that is different.  Think of how far technology has come in the last 50 years...we went from the 8 inch black and white TV to the monster HD TVs that we have today.  What will come tomorrow?  Have you noticed how many more Imax and 3D movies are coming out lately?  People push for more realism and a more realistic viewing experiences.  The idea that we could have our own "nurseries" some day is not that far fetched.

Some of the technology we even have today: "Their approach sensitized a switch somewhere and the nursery light flicked on when they came within ten feet of it. Similarly, behind them, in the halls, lights went on and off as they left them behind, with a soft automaticity." This is something that we have today, it's just expensive.

"Wendy and Peter were at a special plastic carnival across town and bad televised home to say they'd be late, to go ahead eating." Here is another example that we would call "video phone" or "video conferencing." Though not in every house, with the use of computers a lot of people are already doing this.

Now, some things are just out of the question.  I doubt we will ever have some of the things mentioned in the story: automatic shoe tiers, tooth brushers, hair combers, and bathers (though I think some kind of improved shower, akin to a car wash, might be doable!)  And a table that makes your food for you and serves it right there is a bit out of reach, but the concept of inventing new machines to lighten our load is an ongoing human tradition.

So, to sum things up, Bradbury's vision of the future has not been realized, but it's not for a lack of trying.  More convincing are his humans of the future: they have problems with their kids just like people nowadays do, and they seem equally clueless.



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