What is ironic about the Hadleys' lives in the Happylife Home in "The Veldt"?
Mr. and Mrs. Hadley bought the Happylife Home because they believed, as its name suggests, it would give them with a happy life. The home has a state-of-the-art children's nursery with floor-to-ceiling view screens that the Hadleys believed would make their children happier. The home pampers the family, doing everything for them.
Situational irony occurs when events turn out differently—or the opposite from what is expected. In this case, the Happylife home, ironically, begins to make the Hadleys miserable rather than making them happier. First, it makes the parents unhappy to have everything done for them. As Mrs. Hadley says:
" . . . I feel like I don't belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. 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 cannot. And it isn't just me. It's you. You've been awfully nervous lately."
"I suppose I have been smoking too much."
"You look as if you didn't know what to do with yourself in this house, either. You smoke a little more every morning and drink a little more every afternoon and need a little more sedative every night. You're beginning to feel unnecessary too."
Second, the children have begun to consider the nursery as their parent and are increasingly hostile to their real parents, wanting them dead. Instead of a benefit to the family, the nursery becomes a menace. It becomes the children's obsession and it unnerves the parents, who grow to fear the bloody scenes played out on the veldt—the African scene the children watch compulsively.
Ironically, the technology of the house, which was supposed have a magical and positive transformational effect on the family, turns out to be a nightmare.
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