What sensory details are used to emphasize sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch in "The Veldt"?

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"The Veldt " is a story about a family living in a technologically advanced world in which the children "don’t want to do anything but look and listen and smell," because, as Peter asks, "what else is there to do?” Bradbury uses sensory images to bring the vividness of...

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"The Veldt" is a story about a family living in a technologically advanced world in which the children "don’t want to do anything but look and listen and smell," because, as Peter asks, "what else is there to do?” Bradbury uses sensory images to bring the vividness of the nursery into incredibly stark contrast with the mechanized, mindless reality that is the rest of the house; and, as the nursery represents the inner psychological workings of the children, it has quite a bit to bear on their spoiled nature and the way they value the illusion of reality over reality itself.

Most of the sensory details are, therefore, used to describe the African veldt in the nursery. George feels "that sun . . . on his neck, still, like a hot paw." He remembers "the smell of blood." The "odor" of the lions, their roars, and the screams of the parents permeate the entire story.

One of the most descriptive passages is the following, when the lions first begin to run at George and Lydia:

feel the prickling fur on your hand, and your mouth was stuffed with the dusty upholstery smell of their heated pelts, and the yellow of them was in your eyes like the yellow of an exquisite French tapestry, the yellows of lions and summer grass, and the sound of the matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide, and the smell of meat from the panting, dripping mouths. The lions stood looking at George and Lydia Hadley with terrible green-yellow eyes.

This passage is very textural, with lots of elements of touch: the prickling fur, the stuffed and dusty mouth, the heat from the pelts, and the French tapestry; the lions' lungs are "matted." But there's also the upholstery smell and the smell of the raw meat the lions are eating; the sound of their breath in the otherwise silent heat of midday; and the sight of yellow-green eyes and the specific yellow of lions and parched grass. This passage has it all and provides more than enough examples to answer your question.

There are also other examples of sensory images, as when Peter and Wendy come home from the fair, "cheeks like peppermint candy, eyes like bright blue agate marbles, a smell of ozone on their jumpers." The use of simile gives a very specific picture to the visuals, and the ozone smell is also quite particular. Bradbury's images are exact—they are never vague, when lends them a particular vividness that makes them difficult to forget.

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Bradbury's "The Veldt" utilizes deeply evocative language to create images and impressions of the African veldt, as recreated by the children's nursery. For example, consider the following passage:

And here were the lions now, fifteen feet away, so real, so feverishly and startlingly real that you could feel the prickling fur on your hand, and your mouth was stuffed with the dull upholstery smell of their heated pelts, and the yellow of them was in your eyes like the yellow of an exquisite French tapestry, the yellows of lions and summer grass, and the sound of matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide, and the smell of meat from the panting, dripping mouths.

Two things about this passage stand out. First, there is the sheer concentration of detail and imagery, which exists on multiple levels: we have touch, sight, smell, and sound, all interwoven together. Second, note that this is all in a single sentence, which continuously builds on itself to further intensify the effect of this use of language.

Throughout this story, Bradbury uses evocative language to create images in the mind's eye. This intensity of the imagery is largely focused around the nursery itself, while the real world is presented far less vividly. This mirrors the degree to which, for the children, the nursery has supplanted their parents, and the way in which this technological fiction has ultimately become more real to them than reality itself.

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Bradbury is known for his use of sensory language, language which describes using sight, sound, taste, smell, and touch. Such language is called imagery.

In "The Veldt," Bradbury uses imagery to describe the scenes of the veldt that the children and parents view in the nursery, allowing us to feel we are there. For example, when the parents enter the nursery, we learn that the veldt appears on all four sides of them, and the ceiling of the room becomes a blue sky with a hot sun beating down. "Odorophonics" release the scents of lion grass, the watering hole, the smell of the animals, and the "paprika" scent of dust.

Sounds of the veldt also come into the room: the "thump" of antelope feet and the "papery rustling" of the vultures.

The parents see the lions coming closer. Bradbury offers descriptions of the smell of their "heated pelts" and a visual image of their yellow fur and green-yellow eyes. As Bradbury puts it:

the yellow of them was in your eyes like the yellow of an exquisite French tapestry, the yellows of lions and summer grass, and the sound of the matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide, and the smell of meat from the panting, dripping mouths.

They are so terrifyingly realistic that George and Lydia run from the room. All of Bradbury's sensory details create a scene of heat and menace.

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