The Veldt: A Metaphor for Runaway Technology

Veldt: Dry grasslands of Southern Africa


In ELA we read a short story called The Veldt which was written in 1950 by science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. It is a story that imagines a world where mere thoughts can create a virtual reality.

 The central characters in the story are a family of four, named the Hadleys. The Hadley family moved into a “Happylife Home” with “automaticity”, a futuristic technology used in their home to make everything happen automatically. This type of technology blurred the line between reality and make believe. For example, the virtual reality nursery or children’s playroom, is used to comfort the kids by bringing to life whatever is in their own imaginations.  This turns out to be a nightmare for the Hadley family when the children become angry with their parents for threatening to “turn the nursery off”.  

The automated house causes anxiety for the two parents who deeply love their children and just want to give them the best possible childhood. It becomes challenging for the family as they let themselves fall into the hands of edge blurring technology.  In the end a psychologist is called in to witness the eerie and dangerous setting that the nursery has become, an African savannah with flesh eating lions and swooping vultures.

 In a way the story has foreshadowed what types of problems technology can cause for individuals and in society now. Technology can become addicting and sometimes replace actual human relationships.  It can replace physical activities. Technology can evolve, overpower and extend past the average brain of a human being, and yet we can no longer live without it. Therefore the evolution of technology is our savior and possibly our undoing.