Lions and Liars and Lairs – Oh My! Essay Example
Lions and Liars and Lairs – Oh My! Essay Example

Lions and Liars and Lairs – Oh My! Essay Example

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Out of the many dynamics in Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt”, the most interesting are the characters and their relations to each other. The author challenges this by emphasizing the tense, difficult relationship between the Hadley’s and their children. This is done through the apparent hostility and boldness from the children to the parents, especially in instances where the children did not get what they wanted. Also, the story disengages George and Lydia Hadley, the parents, from their children, by accentuating the overuse of technology and how it is raising the children. This point is further supported by dialogue, atmosphere and several examples of imagery which illustrate the tension between the two roles of the story. Through these reasons, the author demonstrates the austere relationship between the Hadley’s and the children.From the beginning of the story, it is evident that the author created the adverse Peter and Wendy to combat the authoritative George and Lydia Hadley, especially to accentuate their cold relationship.

Peter and Wendy love the nursery and the work-free happiness that it offers. In contrast, the Hadley’s soon realise the nursery is harming the wellbeing of everyone in the family, and decides to make changes in their lifestyle.Mr. Hadley expresses: “That’s because I wanted you to learn to paint all by yourself, son” yet Peter retorts: “I don’t want to do anything but look and listen and smell; what else is there to do?” (Bradbury, 110) Additionally, when Mr. Hadley considers shutting down the nursery, Peter strongly protests: “Don’t let him do it!” wailed Peter at the ceiling, as if he w


as talking to the house, the nursery. “Don’t let Father kill everything.” He turned to his father. “Oh, I hate you!”’ (Bradbury, 110) suggesting the forceful attitude of Peter.

Even more so, Peter and Wendy act innocent when questioned, which evokes a deceitful side to them. It is clear that Peter and Wendy feel more comfortable with their electronic nursery, than their father and mother, which is why they lie and betray their rule behind their backs:“Yes, come tell us about the nursery,” said George Hadley. The brother and sister blinked at him and then at each other. “Nursery?”“All about Afirca and everything,” said the father with a false joviality. “I don’t understand,” said Peter. …”I don’t remember any Africa,” said Peter to Wendy. “Do you?”“No.” (Bradbury, 107)Evidently, Peter and Wendy was dishonest with their parents, lying about the nursery and changing the mental combination to corroborate their lie.

There is also antecedent plot that validates Peter and Wendy’s temper towards their father: “’You know how difficult Peter is about that. When I punished him a month ago by locking the nursery for even a few hours – the tantrum he threw! And Wendy too. They live for the nursery.’” (Bradbury, 104) The young Peter and Wendy feel hatred, coldness and misunderstanding regarding their parents, thus one of the reasons for their unpleasant relationship.More obvious examples of suspense, imagery and dialogue enhance the content of the story. Consistent suspense implies the tension in the relationship, in how friction in the plot exists with friction between characters. This can

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be highlighted when the author foreshadows the deaths of Mr. and Mrs.

Hadley: the familiar screams, the old wallet and scarf, all belonging to the Hadley’s, were found in the veldt. “Mr. and Mrs. Hadley screamed. And suddenly they realized why those other screams had sounded familiar.” (Bradbury, 114) Imagery is effectively used by the author when he vividly describes the African veldt land by referring to sight, smell and touch: “…the yellows of lions and summer grass, and the sounds of the matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide, and the smell of meat from the panting, dripping mouths.” (Bradbury, 103) By so explicitly describing the dangerous, somber veldt, instances of tension are created.Phrases like “matted lion lungs exhaling on the silent noontide” and “panting, dripping mouths” provokes calm, alluring danger – as if a menace could strike at any moment.

The children’s imagination (and the children itself) are represented through the walls of the nursery, and as the veldt challenges the Hadley’s (especially in their death), the children do so as well. Alongside this, the story’s dialogue provide information to the reader about the children’s emotions that is not mentioned in the prose, such as the one by Mr. McClean to Mr. Hadley: “You’ve let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections. This room is their mother and father, far more important in their lives than their real parents.” (Bradbury, 111) Here, the author directly spoke to the reader about the relationship between the parents and children; the parents do not nurture the children, but rather have other things (the nursery), and even other people (Mr. McClean) fulfill their responsibilities as a parent. Ray Bradbury uses these devices to drive the story in a more satisfying literary manner, as well as concisely present how tension in the story parallels tension in the relationship.

Finally, the author exemplifies throughout how the Hadley’s rely on technology, and other things and people to take care of their children. Although it is how the entire family lives, it has a substantial affect on the children and how they cope with their lack of parental figures. “They walked down the hall of their soundproofed Happylife Home, which costs them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and was good to them.” (Bradbury, 101) The Hadley’s buys the affection for their children, presenting them in tangible things.However, this eventually brings them to their demise and the tables turn when the children are deprived of their nursery and objects against the parents’ demand (and kill them with the nursery). “They come and go when they like; they treat us as if we were the offspring. They’re spoiled and we’re spoiled.” (Bradbury, 108) Lastly, Bradbury insinuates that the Hadley’s accessibility to technology is surely convenient, yet can take advantage of them as effectively.

“’Why, they’ve looked it from the outside! Peter!” He beat at the door. “Open up!” He heard Peter’s voice outside, against the door. “Don’t let them switch off the nursery and the house,” he was saying. (Bradbury, 114) If

the nursery’s “affection” can be switched on and off at will, the children learn to do so as well, in due course ending with a devious plot of the Hadley’s demise.In conclusion, Ray Bradbury’s “The Veldt” personifies the theme of not being overwhelmed by technology and strongly advocates through this theme, how it affects relationships. It is no wonder how the author captures the childish voice of the children, and the ignorant, unknowing persona of the parents. Through powerful character sketches of Peter and Wendy, literary devices, and the downfall of a machine-based lifestyle, this short story comes to life with a roar.