In the story "The Veldt," what are the mother's, father's, Wendy's, and Peter's motivations?
George and Lydia, the mother and father, bought a Happylife Home and a virutal animal nursery. The nursery is a virtual machine which recreates different, often exotic environments. The home itself is equipped to do just about anything automatically. George and Lydia purchased this home and the nursery because, as George said, "But nothing's too good for our children."
However, after a particularly scary encounter with lions in the veldt, Lydia suggests closing the nursery for a while. She feels as if the house is taking over their lives. George agrees.
Can I compete with an African veldt? Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I can't.
George tries to change the veldt from Africa to the world of Aladdin. When he can't, he assumes it is broken, but there is also the possibility that it has taken on a life of its own or that the children have manipulated it. George and Lydia realize that they have been letting all of the automatic technology of the house and the nursery do everything. They realize they've spoiled their children, so George considers turning the house off so that the children can learn to do things for themselves. When Peter hears this, he is horrified:
That sounds dreadful! Would I have to tie my own shoes instead of letting the shoe tier do it? And brush my own teeth and comb my hair and give myself a bath?
Peter actually threatens his father, warning him not to shut off the house. At this point, the motivations are clear. George and Lydia want to turn the house off so they can be more self-sufficient and reclaim their lives. They also want their children to learn to do things for themselves. Wendy and Peter, on the other hand, do not want this. The nursery reflects the children's thoughts. The constant appearance of the lions indicates that the children's thoughts have become destructive and they will destroy anyone who tries to take the nursery away from them.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial