The Veldt Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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What message is Ray Bradbury giving in his short story "The Veldt"?

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Gretchen Mussey eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The primary message of Ray Bradbury's short story "The Veldt" concerns the dangers of overreliance on technology. Bradbury presents a cautionary tale of how technology can completely consume a household and drive a significant wedge between parents and children. In the story, George and Lydia Hadley purchase a completely automated Happylife Home. It takes care of necessary household chores, cooks dinner, and provides endless entertainment to the family members. Despite the smart home's convenience, George and Lydia gradually become irrelevant and their children no longer view or treat them as parents. The functions of the Happylife Home completely replace Lydia's job as a mother; she begins feeling inadequate. In addition to Lydia's feelings of inadequacy, George loses influence and control over his children. They spend the majority of their time in the home's interactive, futuristic nursery.

The nursery is depicted as an advanced entertainment system. It is equipped with sensory technology and can recreate any environment. The technologically advanced nursery also reproduces the children's thoughts. Lately, Wendy and Peter's thoughts have focused on the threatening African veldt, to the point that menacing lions roam throughout the nursery. Wendy and Peter's emotions reflect the hostility they feel towards their parents when George and Lydia attempt to lock the nursery and shut the house down.

The conflict between George and Lydia and their children is directly associated with the family's dangerous reliance on technology. The automated smart home and its technologically advanced nursery have undermined a healthy social environment between the Hadley parents and children. As a result, the the dynamics of their family are completely transformed.

By the end of the story, Wendy and Peter manage to lock their parents in the nursery. It comes to life and the lions eat them. Overall, Bradbury's primary message concerns the dangers of becoming over-reliant on technology. It can destroy healthy relationships and ruin a wholesome family environment.

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Ray Bradbury’s story, the parents, George and Lydia, have tried to be good parents but have been seduced by materialism. Combined with the supposed technological advantages of the artificial environment they install in their home, the professional advice they seek only serves to further distance them from their children, Peter and Wendy. Through “The Veldt,” Bradbury reminds the reader that parental involvement is an ongoing, constant process. The parents are disconnected from their children, who in turn have lost interest in the emotional connections at the heart of family relationships. The children are undeniably intelligent and creative, but they have taken on the role of adults and reprogrammed the virtual veldt. Left too much to...

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