Considering inflation, what would be the present cost of the Happylife Home system, originally priced at $30,000 in 1951? Would a market exist for it today?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

It's easy to do the math on the Happylife Home system and determine it would cost about $270,000 in today's money. This shows that housing prices have inflated beyond the average inflation since the the 1950s, as $270,000 would now seem like a reasonable, even low, price to pay for such a home.

Even were the price to be much higher, there would definitely be a market for such a home today. What makes this story so relatable is that we are still as much addicted to technology as people were in the 1950s. This is clear because people now endlessly flock to the latest new technology, be it a "one pot" cooker, a "smart phone," or a Barbie that converses with children.

We, too, just as in Bradbury's world, desire convenience. We love to buy gadgets that promise to make our lives easier. Many people would undoubtedly gravitate to a house with pneumatic tubes sending you to the second floor on a cloud of air so that you wouldn't have to climb steps, one that sings to you and rocks you to sleep, and one that does all the housework for you, including cooking your meals and cleaning up afterwards. Giant view screens to keep your children constantly entertained would be another plus.

Bradbury's story shows the destructive effects of letting technology run our lives, and, especially, gain control over our children's minds. The story couldn't be more relevant today, when news reports emerge repeatedly of privileged people, such as royals in England or Silicon Valley parents (the very people developing the technology) keeping their children entirely away from computer "screens" of any sort. They fear the ease with which their children, like the Hadley's Peter and Wendy, could become addicted to another reality.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial