In "The Veldt," what mental and emotional effect does the veldt have on the children, the parents and the psychologist?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is interesting to see the different reactions that the various characters in this excellent short story have in response to the veldt that the children create on their nursery walls. The story begins as George and Lydia enter the nursery and see the veldt that their children have created in all of its horror. As the lions that stare at them in such a hungry and menacing way run towards them, both of them rush out with George laughing and Lydia crying. Lydia is quite obviously terrified by the veldt, but note what George says to justify his response:

Walls, Lydia, remember; crystal walls, that's all they are. Oh, they look real, I must admit--Africa in your parlour--but it's all dimensional superreactionary, supersensitive colour film and mental tape film behind glass screens. It's all odorophonics and sonics, Lydia.

George therefore is able to remain detached from the horrible setting of the veldt and the dangers it represents.

Their two children, it is shown, have become dangerously attached to the veldt and Africa, as Peter demonstrates when he has a conversation with his father:

"I wouldn't want the nursery locked up," said Peter coldly. "Ever."

Peter almost makes threats to his father when he mentions turning the nursery off completely, showing the way that Wendy and Peter have become almost obsessed by the nursery. As the psychologist says, it has become a replacement parent for them.

Lastly, David McClean, the psychologist, has a very negative reaction to the veldt, saying that "This is very bad" and that he has a hunch that George should tear down the nursery and bring his children to him for treatment.

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