The Veldt (Analysis) by Ray Bradbury
Timeless lessons or themes are featured in the stories that end up being classics. The authors who illustrate these ideas are the ones who remain in schools and therefore in the minds of many generations. In Ray Bradbury’s short story “The Veldt” he portrays how disastrous it is to rely completely on technology. Intertwined with this are lessons of greed and inattention. Almost immediately the technology of the time is introduced by the stove that is cooking a meal without the help of human hands.
The mother and father named George and Lydia discuss the house they bought purposely so that they wouldn’t have to do anything for themselves. “They walked down the hall of their soundproofed Happylife Home, which had cost them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them” (Bradbury). Like many parents they wanted the best for their children but lost sight of what was truly important along the way. While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with technology itself, it is society’s reliance on it that can and will cause problems.
As George and Lydia are talking about their home and the effect it’s had on their son and daughter named Peter and Wendy, the author reveals a frightening idea. He starts to insinuate that the children prefer the house to their parents because it has assumed their roles. Neither parent is involved in any aspect of their lives because the house can do it all. “”That’s just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt?
Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I cannot. And it isn’t just me. It’s you. You’ve been awfully nervous lately”” (Bradbury). They have allowed the ultimate in convenience technology to rob their family of any feeling of closeness that comes about from obligations, love, conversation and simple interactions. By the time anything is decided upon to make a change to the direction of their lives it is too late. The parents have realized their mistake and are taking measures against their past infractions.
However, their path has been set and they are unable to avoid their fate at the hands of their own children. By voluntarily giving up their parental roles out of a greed for the latest and best technology, George and Lydia have given Peter and Wendy a frightening freedom: that of no family obligations or ties except to each other. Their inattentiveness towards their children alienated them even further helping to create a chasm that has become impassable. Ray Bradbury felt that a warning against technology was in order and wrote an exceptional example.
This story is timeless because technology continues to grow and evolve as society asks for more and more. With such growth continuous and inevitable, it is important to keep in mind the significance of human interaction in everyday life. While the end result is drastic, it is this clear and direct manner that brings home the importance of participation within a family and the warning against greed. Most importantly, it impresses upon the reader the mistake of entrusting everything, up to and including personal existence, to technology.