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What explanations can you give for the father's wallet and mother's scarf being in the...

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jayjay12345 | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 3, 2013 at 10:17 PM via web

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What explanations can you give for the father's wallet and mother's scarf being in the nursery in "The Veldt"?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted November 6, 2013 at 7:31 PM (Answer #1)

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A sinister story of the potential influence of technology upon the psychological and emotional components of human nature, "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury creates a virtual reality that captures and distorts the innocence of the children, Wendy and Peter (named after characters from Peter Pan). Whereas the children have previously conjured the worlds of Oz, Dr. Doolittle, and Wonderland, they have now virtually re-created an African veldt. This environment of heated savagery begins to have a psychological effect upon the children as they spend more and more time in the playroom and interact less and less with their parents until this distance reflects the jungle state of predator and prey.

Concerned about the detachment of his children from his wife and himself, George Hadley locks the Veldt as they have spent too much time there and not with their parents. He ponders how the children have been able to mentally conjure up what they desire,

The children thought zebras, and there were zebras. Sun--sun. Giraffes--giraffes. Death and death.

That last. He chewed tastelessly on the meat that the table had cut for him. Death thoughts. They were awfully young, Wendy and Peter, for death thoughts. Or, no, you were never too young, really. Long before you knew what death was you were wishing it on someone else....

Indeed, it is these "death thoughts" that the angered children allow in their minds. With such thoughts, the African veldtland and its lions are triggered into the predatory state. So that the lions will recognize their prey, items of George and Lydia appear in the Veldt. Thus, when George investigates Wendy's claim that their room is no longer Africa, he opens it to find a lovely forest; however, in the corner where the lions have previously lain, he discovers an old wallet of his with drops of saliva on it as well as blood smears.

Later, the children break into the nursery, an indication of their willfulness and deceit. Along with these behaviors, Peter has also threatened his father, having said, "I don't think you'd better consider it [shutting off the house] any more, Father." Therefore, it can be assumed that Peter and Wendy have stolen from their parents' bedroom the two possessions of George and Lydia in order to provide the lions with their scent. For, when Dr. David McClean views the Veldt with George, they see the lions in the distance feeding.

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