How well has the author drawn the picture and the mood of the time?
Ray Bradbury's story, "The Veldt," does a startlingly accurate job of describing a future in which we are already a part, and as with many of his stories, he was an insightful writer whose work is more relevant today than ever.
George and Lydia have spent a fortune building a state-of-the-art house which does everything for them and their two children. They don't even have to tie their shoes. They have lost the ability to do for themselves, and their children resent being asked to do the smallest things—like tying their shoes. In fact, they refuse to take directions, and the word "no" throws them in paroxysms of anger and tears.
The veldt refers to the theme the children have created in the nursery, a room that reproduces a simulated environment of their choosing, which, in this case, happens to be the African veldt: hot and arid, burning sun—and ferocious lions: catching, killing and eating their prey. The screams and smells of death are realistic as well.
When the parents discover this "world," they become concerned. On the advice of their psychologist, they decide to shut the room—in fact, the entire house—in order to return to basics, and improve the mental health and attitudes of their children, as well as themselves.
The children go out of their minds with fury at the thought of losing the undemanding existence the house provides, and ultimately use the nursery—the veldt—to kill their parents.
Bradbury brings to mind (though this story was written many years ago) a contemporary world in which we live, where technology has done many of the same things for us that "the house" did in the story.
Computers correct our spelling and grammar so that few want to know how to use a dictionary, memorize words or develop concise writing skills. Our homes have microwaves cook food quickly but which can be dangerous in some circumstances. There are concerns about the mental and emotional effects of killing scenarios in video games on young minds. We can't even remember our friend's phone numbers without our cell phones, and rarely do you see people out walking without a cell phone attached to their ear. Even the close proximity of a cell phone to the brain has raised concerns.
Our airplanes fly on autopilot. We rely on computers for air traffic control, traffic lights, national security, power grids, subways, trains, and missile defense, as well as countless other things.
In losing the ability to do these things "by hand," we have also lost control. When computers go down, we can't get our mail, and large areas experience blackouts; planes cannot land, etc.
This is not to say that computers are not wonderful tools in many ways that enhance (and even save) lives on a daily basis: especially with regard to medicine and science.
Bradbury, however, very effectively presents his case for caution—caution against our dependence upon things which seemingly make things easier for us, but rob us of our independence to do and think for ourselves. For thousands of years mankind has made do, and has advanced by its need for better technology.
However, Bradbury brilliantly and disconcertingly reminds us through George Hadley's character, that in having more, we become less, and warns us in an eerie and frightening way, that relying too much on things rather than ourselves, could have devastating consequences.
Bradbury is an excellent author and his skill at creating believable future worlds in without equal. This short story is no exception as he presents us with a credible future world with so much advanced technology that man himself is almost becoming redundant, and children depend too much on the latest entertainment forms and not enough on their parents. It really is incredible how prophetic his work is, especially considering when he wrote his fiction. It is not too unbelievable to see technology developing to the point when we can have a Veldt in our own house.
Ray Bradbury does an excellent job in portraying the positive and negative effects of technology, and in this case, life or death effects as to the death of the parents. The world he creates is visually described and seems quite real to many readers, as well as believable.