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The nursery is an automated room in the automated house in Ray Bradbury’s story “The Veldt” that projects a very lifelike version of any location you pick.
The Happylife Home is a very automated, and very expensive, private family dwelling. The nursery is a remarkable technological achievement. The house takes care of most of the family’s needs. At first, they think this is great. However, as time goes on they begin to get nervous that the house is having too much control. In fact, they consider turning it off. The way the children react shows that they might be right.
"That sounds dreadful! Would I have to tie my own shoes instead of letting the shoe tier do it? And brush my own teeth and comb my hair and give myself a bath?"
The fact that the house can do all of these things is one thing. What the nursery can do is something else.
Remarkable how the nursery caught the telepathic emanations of the children's minds and created life to fill their every desire. The children thought lions, and there were lions.
The children are very attached to the nursery, but it makes their parents very nervous. This is especially the case when they see the African veldt there. They realize that their children are seeing thoughts of death. This is incredibly disturbing. It means that their children are picturing lions killing creatures right there in the nursery.
The parents attempt to lock the nursery up, but the children break back in. They bring in a psychologist to look at the nursery to determine if their children are all right, and the psychologist does not see what is wrong.
"Can't say I did; the usual violences, a tendency toward a slight paranoia here or there, usual in children because they feel persecuted by parents constantly, but, oh, really nothing."
The parents have lost touch with their children. The psychologist does not seem to realize this. The “terrible screaming” coming from the nursery is disturbing them, and their attempts to detach their children from the nursery are failing.
This story is another of Bradbury’s cautionary tales about technology and its impacts on our lives. Attempts to use technology to make our lives easier, such as home automation and entertainment, can have unexpected consequences. The lesson is that the result of too much of a psychological umbilical cord with technology is disaster.
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