by Ray Bradbury
The Veldt Theme of Versions of Reality
"The Veldt" is a story about a virtual reality room that gets out of control. But it's also the story about how parents and children don't see eye-to-eye. Even when they're looking at the same stuff. For instance, Peter and Wendy probably think a trip to New York is fun; but George and Lydia look at that as a Very Bad Idea. To the kids, the parents are overbearing tyrants who should be fed to lions. But George and Lydia think they're laying down reasonable rules (like don't kill anyone. That's pretty reasonable.) So while the virtual reality room lets different people live in different realities, in many ways, they already do.
Questions About Versions of Reality
- How does Bradbury describe the nursery when it's turned off? How about when it's turned on? How do those descriptions compare to descriptions in the rest of the story?
- How do the virtual realities in the nursery compare to the reality of the house? Are the virtual realities described more fully? Does Bradbury use more metaphors and similes in the virtual realities? How do the different virtual realities compare to each other?
- How do we know what's real in this story? And how do we feel about it? Do we automatically listen to David McClean's diagnosis on the kids' fantasy life because he's a doctor?
- If you had a virtual reality room, where would you want to go? Does that differ from where you think you would go if the room responded to your unconscious thoughts?
Chew on This
The virtual reality of the nursery is the only reality that matters, because it has the biggest impact on the characters in "The Veldt."
"The Veldt" shows that it's a bad idea for people to learn about the fantasies of others.