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The Metaphors in the Veldt and Sing the Body Electric

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In regards to the global issue of children and youth, Ray Bradbury contacts an argument utilizing, “The Veldt” and “Sing The Body Electric”, that children must be provided with a healthy and mature parental bond to maintain a healthy, sane, and stable state of well being. While deconstructing these two stories, it becomes prevalent that a lock of good bonding with a parent or parents can do to catastrophic mentality. Yet on the other extreme, with an overly healthy bond, everything may appear fine and healthy on the outside, but with a closer examination, Bradbury suggests that it is not good for the children’s well-being either. Ray Bradbury utilizes these two extremas to to imply a point that, in the middle of these two examples, there is a good place to be with relationships and how they function.

In order to present an underlying theme that there is an extreme of an unhealthy parent child relationship that will lead to a catastrophic bond and failure regarding the state of mental stability, which could induce terrible behavior, Bradbury wrote “The Veldt”. In this story, Ray devises a depiction of what may come to be when children are presented with a poor relationship. When the reader is introduced to the children, they are informed of the unhealthy relationship that is built upon weak morals and values. The text states, “ A smell of ozone in their jumpers from their trip in the helicopter” (Veldt 5) Given the pretext of their elevated socioeconomic status proven by the fact that the story makes the house seem very expensive as they talk about the money it cost to build, you can infer that other children don’t have the same opportunities due to a lack of money, however these children have access to anything that they desire or that would make their life more convenient. On top of this, the imagery of the smell and the simplicity of the statement, it is an abstract metaphor that the money reeks off of them because, if living in an extremely polluted area, smelling of fresh air and being in that type of air would imply that you would need money. To prove that they are spoiled, the text later states “We’ve given the children everything they’ve ever wanted. Is this our reward – secrecy,disobedience?” (Veldt 7) Not only does this provide concrete evidence that the relationship is unhealthy because of the fact that it was built off of money and the attempt of buying love. IT also begins to reveal that the children’s behavior and mental state is not in a healthy state. Afterall, keeping secrets and being disobedient in that large of a spectrum, are not patterns that are exemplar of kids who are that age. While other kid’s act like this, the qualities are negative no matter what however with the large display that they are off putting, it makes it worse. As the story begins to progress, Bradbury continues to develop his argument. As a psychologist is needed eventually by the parents to examine the children, it is revealed that they psychologist thinks, “You had spoiled your children more than most and now you are letting them down” to which the gather responds “ I didn’t let them go to New York.” (Veldt 9) During this the children are freaking out and causing a lot of mischief. Because the relationship between the family was built off the unhealthy trait of being spoiled and given everything to keep them happy, so when their material items are taken away their behavior is worse than if there was a healthy and well established relationship. The psychologist in the story goes on to reveal and confirm that idea by stating “Where before they had a Santa Claus, Now they have a Scrooge.”(Veldt 9) This use of allusions combined with a metaphorical stance provides the striking idea that when the parent give them what they want the children are happy and love “Santa” but when denied they hate the parents as if they were “Scrooge”. This tells us that the children mustn’t enjoy their parents now and have decimated the relationship in spite. With an unhealthy relationship, the way that the parents are treated are highlighted in a negative way because the relationship is not good. After all of this happens, Bradbury relates this to the negative effects and what will come by showing the unraveling of the children’s mental stability as well as the parental relationship when the children were “In hysterics They screamed and pranced and sobbed and swore.” (Veldt 10)The use of syntax and the repeated term “and” is used to create a build up of the unhealthy mental state and a build up to the climax and reveals the full extent of the mania the children experience. At the end, as the children are in a disturbed state of mind, they have finally reached their breaking point, and combined with their lack of sanity which provides clear judgment, the two children finally kill their parents. Overall, it began with an immature and diseased relationship that unraveled and with it brought the unraveling of the children’s well-being.

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On the other hand, Bradbury utilised “I Sing the Body Electric” as a story where a parental bond may be to healthy and the children appear good but intrinsically they may not be. In the beginning, the story reveals that the family is grieving the death of their mother, which is utilized to provide the idea that a lack of a parental relationship is detrimental. Bradbry uses this as a chance to introduce a new parental figure to replace the mother in the hopes that it will mend the children. “This miraculous companion, excited to challenge of large world and smaller,,, will transmit by touch and tell said miracles to your needy… We all thought oh yes, sadly that’s us” ( Body 118) It can be inferred from this quote that the miracles are good relationship to those who are “needy” of a parental bond. WIth that knowledge Bradbury is explaining that kid’s need a relationship to reap the benefits,( maternal bond, homework help, unconditional love, things in a healthy family relationship). When the companion is introduced, Bradburydelves further into his argument. Where before without a parent the kids were sad, “I don’t think any of us stopped crying”(Body 118), with the new companion they where now happy and a healthy relationship blossomed. “ We let out cries of delight and adoration.” (Body 123). The use of contrast and parallelism here shows the difference and improvement of mental health from depression with a lack of love, to happiness with an abundance of love. While this seems good the story begins to reveal what the companion( grandma) can do and it is a suspiciously large amount. “ We knew that all of our days where stored in her.” (Body 127) When you inspect the quote, it’s easy to infer that the kids became dependent on her as she was doing everything for them from cooking to homework and she remembered everything. With this knowledge it becomes easy to assume that she, in a sense, became a lifeline for the kids and she was aware of it. “I’ll go on giving love, which means attention… I exist and my existence mean the heightening of your chance to feel.” (Body 138) The selection of word combination here implies that if she didn’t exist for them, then they wouldn’t be able to feel as well and their emotions would be stunted, even though many kids who lose their parents are still OK afterwards even with their lack of presence. Even Bradbury knows this is not realistic and shows that this extreme of perfection isn’t good. In turn, Bradbury knew he had to portray this in the story. One of the kids, Agatha was resistant to the companion but when she came around she reaped the benefits. THe companion knew at one point when agatha was playing that she was in danger of being hit by a car so she shoved the girl out of the way and in turn sacrificed herself. The children were extremely heartbroken after facing another loss and the loss of their days that were held within the companion. After everything she did for them, they grew to be so dependent that now that she was gone, they weren’t able to function and needed her again. Overall, the argument is that with a relationship that is healthy is created, kid’s become dependent and are not able to grow their ability to be independent to their full ability and capacity.

Overall, both stories where flawed. Yet Bradbury is implying that with a healthy mix of each story, you may be able to reach a happy median that is beneficial enough without being detrimental to the development of the children. However, getting to close to one of the stories may not produce desired capability and function/health of the children.

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