Why does Bradbury use so many allusions in "The Veldt"?

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The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury demonstrates the author’s talent for exploring how contemporary trends could play out in future scenarios. This story in particular shows an understanding of how technology can dehumanize people and interfere with psychological and moral development.

The allusions to children’s literature, such as Peter...

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The Veldt” by Ray Bradbury demonstrates the author’s talent for exploring how contemporary trends could play out in future scenarios. This story in particular shows an understanding of how technology can dehumanize people and interfere with psychological and moral development.

The allusions to children’s literature, such as Peter Pan, Green Mansions, and Alice in Wonderland, evoke classic, beloved fantasy worlds and a child’s wish for adventure. The references to these idyllic, old-fashioned worlds then provide a stark contrast with a rogue virtual reality device that takes its cues from the negative aspects of the mind. The Wendy and Peter of Bradbury’s story have created a Neverland, but it’s one based on predators and death, signaling that the classic stories have darker themes running beneath their carefree surfaces.

The children have become addicted to the technology, and George, their father, admits to his wife with emphasis, “They live for the nursery.” Lydia in turn asks George to call in a psychologist, not a technician, to look at the nursery, because the problem isn’t mechanical, it’s mental. The children’s psychological development has been captured by a technology which increasingly traps the family.

David, the psychologist, notes this is a situation about feelings, not facts. The problem can’t be solved by logic or mechanics; it’s a matter of the heart and conscience. He offers a succinct diagnosis, placing responsibility on George and Lydia:

“You’ve let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections.”

George and Lydia want to move the family out of the house to get a fresh start. But the nursery, fueled by Peter and Wendy’s dark thoughts, has other plans.

The macabre ending brings the literary allusions to their darkest conclusions. As the Peter in J. M. Barrie’s work states, “To die will be an awfully big adventure.” The Peter and Wendy in Bradbury’s story get their wish to live for the nursery, to hold mad tea parties, and to never grow up, but it comes at the price of their parent’s lives.

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In "The Veldt" Ray Bradbury uses a number of literary allusions, many of them related to Peter Pan. Most of the other allusions in the story are also taken from famous children's books, and there's a valid reason for this, as we shall see later on.

The Hadley family and their children, Peter and Wendy—note the allusion to Peter Pan and Wendy Darling—live in a futuristic automated home packed with machines that do everything for them. The children spend all their time in a virtual reality nursery which allows them to inhabit their own fantasy world.

As the story opens, the children are experiencing life on the African veldt. Prior to this, their vivid imaginations had conjured up characters from famous fairy tales and children's stories such as Alice, from Alice in Wonderland, The Mock Turtle, Aladdin, and Dr. Doolittle.

What Bradbury is doing with all these allusions is to highlight the stark contrast between the innocent fantasy world the children have left behind and the harsh, sun-baked animal kingdom, red in tooth and claw, that they now permanently inhabit. Without the existence of proper boundaries in this dystopian world of technological child-rearing, the children's imaginations have run wild, dwelling unhealthily on scenes of savagery and death. The line between reality and virtual reality has become dangerously blurred, as Mr. and Mrs. Hadley will discover to their cost later on.

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