In the short story "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury, how does the new technology benefit the family?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Ray Bradbury's story "The Veldt" begins with a description of the technology that relieves the family of tedious and inconvenient tasks such as a stove that is "busy humming to itself, making supper for four."  As the parents walk through their ironically named Happylife Home, their approach triggers a sensitized switch and the nursery flicks on while behind them lights shut off.

  • But, the greatest convenience that the new technology provides this family is the thatched nursery, a jungle glade that creates a virtual reality, providing the children with hours of enjoyment. 
  • In fact, there is every imaginable convenience provided by technology.  Since the children are at a special plastic carnival, the hadleys eat alone.  When George hadley says "We forgot the ketchup," an automatic voice within the table apologizes and ketcup appears. 
  • The house is "wife and mother" to the children.  It scrubs efficiently and automatically the children. 

Ironically, the technology provides so many conveniences that there is little left for the humans to do, and little need for the children to interact with their parents.  This condition of existence is, of course,  the warning that Bradbury includes in his futuristic story.

 

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would argue that there are no ways in which the technology actually benefits the family.  After all, the kids end up essentially crazy and the parents end up dead.  However, there are many ways in which the technology helps them have a life that is more convenient and easier.

For example,

  • The lights turn on and off automatically.  The family wouldn't need to worry about turning on lights when they come into a room with their hands full or anything like that.
  • It cooks their food for them.  We see that when George asks Lydia to turn the house off and she asks if that means she would have to fry his eggs.
  • It cleans itself.  We see that in the same place.

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