The Veldt Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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In "The Veldt," Lydia asks her husband, "What promoted us to buy a nightmare?" He responds, "Pride, money, foolishness." What does he mean when he states this? How is the family proud, foolish, and materialistic?

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Thirty thousand dollars in 1950, when Ray Bradbury published "The Veldt," would be well over $300,000 today. So, the price that George and Lydia Hadley paid for their automated house is not an inconsequential sum. There would be pride attached to the ability to purchase a state-of-the-art home that required next to nothing of the owners in terms of food preparation, maintenance, cleaning, or child care. Moreover, the nursery that had been built on had cost another $15,000 (roughly $160,000 in today's dollars). George's response to the cost was, "Nothing’s too good for our children." The Hadleys are affluent and proud of it; they can rightfully be called conspicuous consumers with a house that is loaded with labor-saving devices.

They are both proud and materialistic, evidenced by the way they live. The Hadleys don't even really parent their children, which begins as a point of pride and progresses to foolishness once the children get out of control. They commiserate, observing, "We’ve given the children everything they ever wanted. Is this our reward—secrecy, disobedience?" The Hadleys have spoiled their children with materialism and too much freedom, which many would say is a foolish parenting move. In the end, it is a fatal mistake.

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The nightmare that George refers to is the $30,000 Happylife House he and his wife have purchased. In hindsight, as his children turn into spoiled monsters, he can see that the house reflected pride, because the couple thought the newest, most technologically advanced home would provide them with all the advantages that other people didn't have. It never occured to them that the house would control them, not they the house. Money motivated them to believe they could buy happiness through an expensive commodity ($30,000 was a vast amount of money to spend on a house in the 1950s) that would take care of their every need. They were foolish because they thought that technology could solve their problems. They believed everything would turn out fine if they let a nursery and giant television screens raise their children. They discovered  too late that the "easy" life the house had lured them into was a trap that left them feeling useless (especially Lydia), helpless and alienated from their increasingly sociopathic children. 

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