The setting of this story is the HappyLife Home where the Hadley family lives.
The nursery has viewscreens: The nursery is a huge room, 30 feet wide by 30 feet long and 40 feet tall. All the walls are movie screens, which project ultra-realistic images, sounds, sensations, and even smells through "odorophonics."
The house prepares all the meals: George Hadley, the father, watches as the dining table produces food from its warm interior. When he notes that the ketchup is missing, a "small voice" inside the table apologizes, and the ketchup materializes.
A pneumatic tube lifts the children to their...
bedrooms: It is described as an "air closet," which sucks them "up a flue" to their "slumber rooms." In other words, there are no stairs to climb in this futuristic home.
The parents feel they lack a role in a house because their home does everything for them, including parenting their children. Lydia Hadley especially feels she has nothing to do. The children have become spoiled by the house, and especially by the nursery, which caters to their every whim, and have developed into cold-blooded, manipulative creatures who dislike their parents. The house that was to provide a happy life instead pulls the family apart.