In “The Veldt”, Ray Bradbery uses figurative language and details to effectively express the negative effects the house and nursery has had on the Hadly family. Bradbury presents that the two kids and parents rely on their technology- built house. Not only are they not able to do simple tasks such as cooking and tying their shoes, the kids also lose control when they get told the house will be turning off.
Most houses are just framework or a shelter for a family. However, Hadley’s house is so much more. The Hadly family has a self-sufficient house that “clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them” (1). Bradbery introduces the house with personification to emphasize how alive the house is. By doing so he gives the house a person-like feel. People are usually more attached to and care more about other people so presenting the house in a human like way emphasises to the reader how important the house is to the family. This quote also shows how much the family relies on the house and what it does for them.
Due to the fact that the house does almost everything for the family, the mother feels as though she “doesn’t belong here” because the house “is the wife and mother now, and nursemade” (3). She feels like she isn’t doing anything a mother should do because the house is doing it for her. She asks “Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently and quickly as the automatic scrub bath can?”(3). By providing this specific question, Bradbury shows how threatened the mother feels by the house. It emphasises how she feels as though she can’t compete with the technological home, that the house would be faster and more effective in every task. It has impacted her by causing her to feel replaceable or irrelevant.
Not only does the house affect the mother, but it affects George, the father, as well. He has started to “smoke a little more every morning and drink a little more every afternoon and need a little more sedative every night” (3). These details show how unnecessary the father feels. That he doesn’t have anything to do because of the house. So, he has resorted to drinking and smoking. If the house were not so helpful, the father would feel more valuable to the family and would have less time to do such pointless things, like smoke. The parents’ sadness is not because they aren’t working but simply because they have nothing to do. The house has taken away all their daily tasks, that they no longer feel necessary in their own home. It has taken away their sense of purpose.
Bradbury also hints that it has caused the family to become more distant. He uses a simile saying that George’s wife was “far down the dark hall, like a framed picture”(4). By using figurative language, Bradbury demonstrates how detached the family has become. A framed picture makes the reader think of old memories, and a sense of being disconnected. He implies that the house has created the parents and the rest of the family to not be as close as a normal family would be or that they are more detached as a family then they were before the house. Bradbury also uses a detail saying that “Peter looked at his shoes. He never looked at his father any more, nor his mother”(5). This quote shows how the nursery has affected the relationships within the family. The fact that the child doesn’t feel comfortable to look his mother and father in their eyes really shows the reader how the nursery has taken over their family. The nursery and house have become a key part in Peter’s life. It has started to outshine the mother and father in the role of a parent. It makes the reader assume that the child spends very little to no time with the parents due to the fact that he “never looked at his father anymore, nor his mother.” The house has also caused the children to seam robotic. Bardbury says that “the brother and sister blinked at him and then at each other”(4). This is an odd reaction when one’s parents confront their kids about something they did wrong. Most kids will make up some excuse or plead that they are sorry. However, the Hadley children seem not to care and just stare back at their parents. Bradbury also describes a lot of the kids actions and speaking in unison. By using this detail, the reader thinks of monotone, emotionless voice, when the children are speaking. The children seem to not feel any kind of love or care towards their parents.
The parents discuss it together and decided to shut down the house for a while. When the kids find out, they break out of their robotic feelings and get furious. Saying things like “I hate you” and “I wish you were dead!”(8) For children that age, or any age, it is absurd for them to be saying such things to their parents. By using these details it shows how much they care or depend on the nursery.
Due to how upset the children are, the parents decide to let them have one more moment in the nursery, or playroom, before they turn it off for good. The fact that the parents allow their children to go back into the nursery implies that the parents do not think that Peter meant what he said when saying he wanted them dead. They don’t understand the extent of attachment the children feel towards the nursery. The nursery is a room filled with crystal walls. When the children imagine a place, the nursery makes their imagination come to life. So, when the children get one last chance in the nursery, they decide to lock their parents in the nursery and imagine the lions to come kill them. By using this detail Bradbury shows that the nursery has made them so dependent that they feel as though they are unable to live without the house, so they kill their very own parents in order to keep the house alive. The house has affected the children greatly by causing them to be so reliant on it that they are willing to kill when it is threatened to be taken away.
The entire family is affected by this house. From the parents to the kids, the whole family has had their share of effects from the nursery. The Hadley family appears to live a perfect life with their technology home, however in reality the parents feel purposeless and the children are robotic. Wendy and Peter find the nursery more Bradbury’s specific use of figurative language and details shows the major effects it has had. Bradbury successfully uses details to help the reader really understand how dependent and impacted the family is. Without these specific uses, the reader wouldn’t understand the true effects of the house.