What are three details in "The Veldt" that suggest a futuristic setting? How does this setting influence the characters' lives?

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  1. The nursery of the Hadley's automated home is the most expensively appointed. This setting in the story is richly described as: "an African veldt . . . in three dimensions, on all sides, in color reproduced to the final pebble and bit of straw. The ceiling . . . a deep sky with a hot yellow sun." The room replicates a African grassland as a playscape for the Hadley children. There, the children can entertain themselves for hours, which leads to their ultimately ominous independence because their parents relinquish their control to technology. Lydia is right to be frightened by the realism, but George assures her "it’s all dimensional, superreactionary, supersensitive color film and mental tape film behind glass screens. It’s all odorophonics and sonics."
  2. Lydia is also less enthusiastic than George about the large role the house has assumed in their lives. She proposes a vacation from it by shutting down the technology and asks George, "Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can?" Though she concedes that she cannot compete with the house's technology, she is troubled that she has become superfluous as a mother.
  3. When George sends Peter and Wendy to bed, "they went off to the air closet, where a wind sucked them like brown leaves up the flue to their slumber rooms." At this point, George still has control over them, and the children can do nothing to resist the programming of the house outside the nursery.
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The HappyLife home is a marvel of futuristic technological conveniences. First, there is the Nursery, of course, which is a huge panoramic video projection room that creates incredibly realistic simulations of nature, including smells and ambient temperatures. The house also seems to be aware of its occupants, sensing their movements and turning lights on and off as appropriate. The dining room table produces all their meals for them, down to providing the ketchup. The house literally does all the work of living for the Hadleys. 

The house affects all the characters. Because the house provides everything, the parents have little authority over their children. The children, in their turn, find the house empowering and resent their parents' attempt to assert authority over them. This comes to a head when the father threatens to turn the house "off." The conclusion of the story suggests that the house has finally made parents obsolete.

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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...

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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.

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