The Veldt Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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In "The Veldt", how would we describe the father's character?

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George Hadley is a well-meaning and relatively normal father whose efforts are ultimately defeated by technology. The message here seems to be that the technology replaced him as a father to the children, and he realized too late that he had become irrelevant.

George seems to be characterized as a stereotypical 1950s father figure (the story was originally published in 1950). He smokes and drinks after work, and generally makes the decisions which the rest of the family is to follow. For most of the story, this works; his behavior doesn't seem especially uncharacteristic of how we might expect a father to behave when confronted with these conditions. In fact, if we replaced the nursery with a modern video game system, and kept the rest of the story intact, most of it would probably hold up.

Unfortunately for George, he is unaware of how fully the nursery has replaced him as a parent, and as much as he wants to reclaim his authority and relationship with the children, part of the message of the story is that the technology of the nursery surpassed his authority without his fully realizing the implications. Were we to maintain the video game analogy, the children would probably not have been able to murder their parents with it. However, George is essentially using an outdated method of parenting when considering the powers that the children are exposed to; they have, essentially, been radicalized by the technology and provided with no real alternative education or relationships. This may suggest that part of Bradbury's message is that parenting must adapt to the technology of the time to ensure its own relevance.

 

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