What are some examples of defamiliarization in "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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There are many examples of defamiliarization in Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt." Some of them are as follows.

a) "His wife paused...and watched the stove busy humming to itself, making supper for four."

The stove here is some kind of high-tech gadget that cooks automatically; but isn't every stove a gadget that "makes supper" for you? And don't even regular stoves hum to themselves? Bradbury has forced us to look at stoves in a new way.

b) "The house lights followed her like a flock of fireflies."

On the face of it, Bradbury is comparing the house's automatic lighting system to a flock of fireflies that surrounds and follows a person. On a deeper level, he is allowing us to think about a flock of fireflies in a new way: that they are like an automatic lighting system that follows you wherever you go.

c) My personal favorite: George says to David the psychologist: "I want facts, not feelings." David answers:

"My dear George, a psychologist never saw a fact in his life."

A great new way of looking at psychologists: people who are not interested in facts, and who take a hefty fee for their lack of interest!


d) "The lions were finished with their red feast."

This line can be seen as being similar to example b. By comparing the lions' slobbering and gnawing to a "feast," the author is making us think about what a human feast really is: a bunch of people slobbering and gnawing at chunks of meat and other foods, just like lions.

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