What is the setting of the story "The Veldt"?

Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt" is set sometime in the future and takes place in the Hadley family's completely automated, technologically advanced Happylife Home. The second primary setting takes place inside the Happylife Home's nursery, which displays three-dimensional images of anything the children are thinking. The Hadley children spend most of their time inside the nursery, where they conjure the menacing setting of the African veldt.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The setting of “The Veldt ” is the Hadley’s home, although this is not a family home as we would recognize it today. Their futuristic home is controlled by automated, state-of-the-art technology that makes the scenery in the massive nursery transform depending on the children’s mood and what they...

See
This Answer Now

Start your subscription to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your Subscription

The setting of “The Veldt” is the Hadley’s home, although this is not a family home as we would recognize it today. Their futuristic home is controlled by automated, state-of-the-art technology that makes the scenery in the massive nursery transform depending on the children’s mood and what they are thinking about. The nursery, which is something of an obsession for the Hadley children, is currently showcasing, through virtual reality, an African savannah scene. The technological capabilities of this smart home mean that the sights, sounds, and smells perceived in the nursery will lead the occupants to feel like they are in Africa.

For all the benefits that the smart home offers George and Lydia Hadley, it comes with the remarkable disadvantage that the Hadleys can no longer connect with their children at all, as they have become completely swept up into the virtual worlds offered by the smart home technology. The children’s feelings of animosity towards their parents are reflected in the African veldt scene, which is fraught with dangers.

The children, Wendy and Peter (arguably named after Wendy and Peter from Peter Pan), have been imprinting their thoughts about death onto the African veldt images in their nursery. This virtual reality suddenly becomes actual reality, and their parents are eaten by a lion in their African veldt scene.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Although Bradbury does not explicitly tell the reader what year the story takes place in, we can discern that the setting is sometime in the future. Given the latest advancements in home technology, one could more accurately determine that the story takes place in the near future. In regards to the physical setting of the story, the story takes place in the Hadley family's technologically advanced Happylife Home. The story is also set in virtual Africa, which is inside the family's expensive, three-dimensional nursery.

The Happylife Home is an automated, futuristic house that cooks, cleans, and performs nearly every function the family needs. George and Lydia Hadley bought the home to make their lives significantly easier and please their entitled children. However, George and Lydia regret purchasing the smart home because they feel useless and cannot connect with their children.

The other main setting of the story is in virtual Africa, which is located in the smart home's nursery. The nursery has telekinetic capabilities and projects realistic images onto high-definition walls, which reflect the children's thoughts. The nursery uses virtual reality to display any setting or images that the children can dream of. As of late, Wendy and Peter have been thinking about death. Their disturbing thoughts are displayed onto the nursery's walls in the form of the African veldt, which is a threatening, desolate place where lions roam. The nursery ends up becoming too real, and George and Lydia Hadley lose their lives inside the African veldt.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
The setting of Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt" takes place in the Hadley family's Happylife Home, which is a futuristic, completely automated house that performs all the necessary functions for the family. George and Lydia paid thirty thousand dollars for the Happylife Home in order to experience a carefree life, but they seem to regret their decision. Both George and Lydia feel like advanced technology has replaced them as parents and made them irrelevant in their children's lives. In addition to the computerized, automated home, the Hadley residence also includes a massive nursery, which is a technological marvel that consumes their children's lives and dramatically alters the dynamic of their family.

The second primary setting of the story is the nursery, which displays realistic images from the floor to the ceiling of anything the children are thinking. The massive nursery is forty feet wide and thirty feet high, and the Hadley children spend the majority of their leisure time experiencing the various settings they imagine. Lately, the nursery has transformed into a hostile African veldt, which reflects Peter and Wendy's animosity towards their parents.

One can consider the threatening, dangerous African veldt a third setting in the story. Tragically, George and Lydia cannot repair their relationship with their children, who lock them inside the nursery, where the three-dimensional lions come to life and devour them. Bradbury's story is a cautionary tale about over-reliance on technology and the importance of disciplining children.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The setting of "The Veldt" is a futuristic house called a "Happylife Home"—the narrator describes it as "costing thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them." Much of the story revolves around a particular room, however, called "the nursery," a kind of three-dimensional television that works by telepathy.

The story problematizes the idea of setting, however, by introducing the question of realism. Although the story literally takes place in the Happylife Home, the life the Hadley family lives there is more make-believe than real, since machines do everything for them. Lydia asks George to "turn the house off" so they can go back to taking care of themselves, that is, live life without the mediation of technology. The nursery, and Wendy and Peter's evocation of Africa in the nursery, becomes a kind of alternate, and hostile, setting, one in which technology ironically makes it possible to experience nature. The parents' desire for a "real" life is countered by the children's imagined reality of Africa, which, the end of the story hints, might be the more real of the two.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The entire story takes place within the "Happy-life Home" of George and Lydia and their children Wendy and Peter.  This story takes place in the future, and the Happy-life Home is an electronically-controlled house that fullfils every need of the people who live in it.  Part of the house, the nursery, works by telepathy, creating an environment that the people in the room most desire.  This area of the house becomes the focal point of action, but the whole of the story unfolds within the house in various rooms. 

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team