What is the author saying about the influence of technology on people in The Veldt?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ray Bradbury's message in "The Veldt" is that while technology improves physical conditions for humans, it distances the humans from one another and destroys what is truly the human spirit.

Published in 1950, Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt" anticipated virtual reality and the massive impact that technology can have upon people's lives as it subjugates their imaginations and their hearts, and virtually controls their lives, thus distancing them from one another. As the story opens, George and Lydia Hadley flee the nursery where a virtual African veldtland has been technologically constructed. Having been terrified by lions and vultures, Lydia wants to close this nursery so that she can again feel comfortable in their home; however, George reminds her how difficult Peter became when he punished him a month ago by locking the nursery for only a few hours. "And Wendy, too. They live for the nursery." [Ironically, the children's names are the same as the main characters from Peter Pan.]

Further, the house itself is so automated that there is little for the occupants to do. Lydia tells George, "You look as if you didn't know what to do with yourself in this house, either." Because there are machines that cook the food, clean the dishes, bathe the occupants, sweep the house, darn socks, and perform all the other diurnal chores, George responds to his wife that he feels as though he does not belong in it; he even notes that he cannot compete with the automated scrub bath machine that can bathe the children better than he. In short, all this technology has dehumanized the activities of daily life. There is little that is real, and very little personal interaction with family.

One evening, the parents eat alone since Wendy and Peter are at a special plastic carnival. When the children do return home, they are detached from their parents and want to go to the nursery where they have a responsive environment at any time, especially, one that obeys them. They have detached themselves from their parents and their authority, preferring instead the virtual reality created by technology.