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The Veldt

The Veldt


by Ray Bradbury

Analysis: Plot Analysis

Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.

Exposition (Initial Situation)

I've Got a Bad Feeling About This

"The Veldt" can be read as a story about how George Hadley changes his feelings about technology. At the beginning, George thinks the nursery is the cat's meow (or the lion's roar?), but Lydia is worried about how much time the kids spend in the virtual reality Africa.

Rising Action (Conflict, Complication)

Parents Just Don't Understand

George isn't so worried. But he's getting more worried. Which is why the parents and the children start to clash over the whole "playing in Africa with human-eating lions" thing. Things are not looking good in the Hadley Household.

Climax (Crisis, Turning Point)

Red Pill or Blue Pill?

Remember in The Matrix how Neo had to choose whether to continue living in a machine world or break out into the real world? That's kind of George's situation too.

He started out liking the nursery (and the whole house). Then he became a little more worried about it when his kids talked back to him. So now, at the climax of the story, he has to make a big ol' decision: live it up in the Smart House or shut it all down?

Now, you might want to say that the lion attack is the most exciting part of the story. We totally agree. So why isn't that the climax? Well, we like to think of the climax as the point when someone faces some major decision.

Unfortunately, this decision means it's the house and the kids against George and Lydia, which leads to…

Falling Action

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My! (Lions are Enough)

After George makes his decision, the kids and the nursery defeat George and Lydia. (But at least George made a choice, right?)

Resolution (Denouement)

George and Lydia may be lion chow, but the real kick in the pants is that the kids have also made their choice. As David said they would, they chose the nursery over their real parents.

Notice how David finds them? The lions and the kids are both eating. Creepy. In this moment, we're reminded of just how close the kids are to their gadgets. We sympathize, because we only eat while our iPods are charging. Otherwise, our hands are busy scrolling.

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