Metaphors in the Veldt
Understanding historical context is a very crucial asset to help readers interpret and analyze works of the past more efficiently than just merely judging them by contemporary standards. In literature, a strong comprehension of historical context behind a story helps readers have a clear understanding of and appreciation for the narrative. In many scenarios, historical context refers to conditions in terms of social or political events that occured in the past. Authors often use historical context in their literature as a catalyst to warn society the consequences of issues neglected. An epitome of that philosophy is Ray Bradbury’s authentic story ‘The Veldt’ that focuses on the consequences and dangers in technology when over relied on. Bradbury’s ‘The Veldt’ was published in September 23, 1950 during the time period when the electronic television started to flourish in America. Pioneered by the first electronic television successfully demonstrated in 1927, it led to an interesting sets of events that followed.
On 1939, New York’s World Fair opened, the American public was introduced to the first U.S. television broadcast as President Franklin Roosevelt delivered a speech to welcome thousands of attendees. In 1948, four major television networks (NBC, CBS ABC, and DuMont) debut its broadcast in over 128 stations and by 1954, the first colored television model RCA CT-100 hit the market and was the first mass-produced colored television. Was this a coincidence that Bradbury’s ‘The Veldt’ published during the electronic television’s strong introduction? The story of Bradbury’s ‘The Veldt’ revolves on the Happylife Home which essentially is a smart house where the Hadley family inhabitat and within that, their home contains a very unique virtual reality room that the Hadley kids appreciates. Radbury calls this room “the nursery” in the story but in reality, “television” was the alternative. It was evident Bradbury wrote ‘The Veldt’ when the television was booming. However, ‘The Veldt’ was more than just the televisions, it encompasses other technologies like dishwashers, refrigerators, or vacuum cleaners. The television was the spur that inspired Bradbury to write ‘The Veldt’ but the main purpose of his story is to warn society that despite convenience, the emergence of technology that people became so reliant on without worrying the consequences is Bradbury’s fear. Bradbury references this in ‘The Veldt’ that George and Lydia spoils their children with the Happylife Home to make their life more convenient however due to their dependence on nursery, George and Lydia are not shown as applicable parents as their reliance on technology blinds them the importance of family. Lydia especially feels she is un-wanted as she becomes cognizant that “the house is wife and mother now and nursemaid”. Bradbury uses that example to illustrate how unnecessary Lydia has succumb to due to technology. The central idea of ‘The Veldt’ is the consequences and dangers in technology when it’s over relied on.
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The whole idea mirrors the Hadley family that George and Lydia’s mistake of letting their children uniting with the nursery that it replaced the parents in their children’s affections and how it inevitably caused great catastrophe in the Hadley family. Bradbury uses literary elements like foreshadowing to develop his central idea. For example, in the opening dialogue, Lydia asks George “George, I wish you’d look at the nursery.” which provoked George to respond “What’s wrong with it?”. The opening conversation between George and Lydia already indicates amiss in the nursery which hints what subsequently takes place later in the story where George fails to control the nursery and his inevitable demise. In addition, Bradbury also uses personification, “…this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them”. This illustrates that the Happylife Home has not only replaced George and Lydia as parents but also ruined the whole family dynamic, especially for Lydia that she realizes the nursery takes over the house and the kids. Furthermore, Bradbury also uses a metaphor by presenting the Happylife Home as a persona. “The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid.” Bradbury uses the metaphor of house as mother which is indicative that the Hadley children seemed to favor the nursery and how the linked emotions correspond to where they were callous of both George and Lydia. The children’s emotions is intensified in the nursery when George and Lydia entered the room and “the walls began to purr and recede into crystalline distance, it seemed, and presently an African veldt appeared”. Within the African Veldt, George and Lydia both realized the house is now the mother and the quite unmotherly nursery is a source of savagery. Both George and Lydia were mauled by the voracious lions in the African Veldt courtesy of their own children and the nursery.
In conclusion, ‘The Veldt’ by Ray Bradbury is an epitome of historical context that focuses on the problems of technology that Bradbury accurately anticipates in society today. Bradbury uses the Happylife Home and the Hadley family as an example of how dangerous and how the consequences of technology can negatively impact society when it’s over relied on. In today, multitudes of technology has already made its way incorporated in society as a more efficient way of life however with the recent Amazon robotic fiasco, 24 employees hospitalized from bear spray due to Amazon’s robotic overseer incompetence, it calls the perfect dystopian headline of “how detrimental technology can potentially be” when over relied on and questions the safety of society in a world of technology.