What is a theme statement for "The Veldt" by Ray Bradbury?
A theme statement for "The Veldt" is that children who are raised with no parental supervision will never submit to discipline. In Ray Bradbury's short story, George and Lydia Hadley have largely given the tasks of raising their children to their electronic house and, in particular, the nursery. The house does everything for them, and it largely replaces the parents. The nursery can become anything the children imagine, and they have used it to create a realistic African veldt. The children benefit from constant entertainment and have little discipline, and they do not need their parents. As Lydia says, "The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt?" When the parents try to impose discipline on their children, the children refuse to be harnessed in any way--with deadly results.
Another theme statement might be that consumerism can have disastrous consequences. The Hadleys purchase their Happylife Home at great cost, and they believe that it will create, as it promises, a happy life. They want the house to carry out all their tasks, such as cooking and entertaining their children. However, in the end, the house destroys the parents, which is a warning against the dangers of consumerism and of wanting devices to do everything that makes up the normal human routine.
An important theme in Ray Bradbury's work as a whole is the danger of unthinkingly bringing too much technology into our lives. This theme is central to the "The Veldt" and could be a fine focus for an essay.
At what point does technology begin to control humans rather than vice versa? That's the question Bradbury poses. The Hadleys have been had: they've purchased a house that has promised to do everything for them, taking away the drudgery of housework and child rearing. The house does what it has promised, but it extracts a heavy price. The children become more loyal to the Nursery and its values, exemplified by the blood-thirsty and Darwinist veldt, then their own parents. A soulless technology robs the children of their souls, so that they feel comfortable acting on their most primitive desires and willing their parents to be murdered.
A theme or thesis statement might be along the lines of:
In "The Veldt," Bradbury illustrates the dire consequences of allowing technology to have too much control over everyday human life."
A thematic statement is the theme, or main idea of the story; however, in addition, it tries to comment on humanity as a whole. The typical structure includes the title, author, genre, then the phrase "suggests that...", then the actual statement; for example, "In the short story The Veldt, Ray Bradbury suggests that...."
The enotes.com link below discusses many of the themes associated with Bradbury's story, so I would recommend first determining which theme from the list you'd like to discuss and defend.
Take consumerism, for instance. A thematic statement for this topic might be something like "In the short story The Veldt, Ray Bradbury suggests that being overly attached to material things may ultimately result in unhappiness." Here, the sentence is true of the story, but also can comment on humanity as a whole as well.