The Veldt Ray Bradbury CONTEXT Written in 1950s

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The Veldt Ray Bradbury

The Veldt Ray Bradbury

CONTEXT • Written in 1950’s • Around the time that T. V. was being

CONTEXT • Written in 1950’s • Around the time that T. V. was being introduced and becoming popular in homes • Originally called ‘The World the Children Made’ • Taken from the collection ‘The Illustrated Man’ • Sci-fi Genre – effect? How might people have viewed the introduction of the television into family homes? What might the concerns of a text written at this time be?

Title • What is a Veldt? • What would you associate with a veldt?

Title • What is a Veldt? • What would you associate with a veldt? • What atmosphere might it create?

Section 1 • What do you find surprising/interesting about the wife asking for a

Section 1 • What do you find surprising/interesting about the wife asking for a psychologist to come and look at the nursery? • What does the ‘Happylife Home’ do for them? Is this an appropriate name? Why/why not? What assumption does the name make? • What are your initial impressions of the nursery? What is the atmosphere created during the initial encounter with the nursery and how is it created? What is the intended purpose of the nursery? • Explain the contrast between the wife and husband’s demeanour at the start of the story. How do they each feel about the nursery? Give evidence. • Why do you think Bradbury’s descriptions are so detailed and why do they rely on the senses? Explain the significance of George’s comment ‘This is a little too real’

Section 2 • How are the lions described in this section an what atmosphere

Section 2 • How are the lions described in this section an what atmosphere does this build up? • When the lions start running, Lydia runs away. What is significant about the line ‘Instinctively, George sprung after her’? • Explain fully why Lydia and George are both ‘appalled at the other’s reaction’. • Why does Lydia want the children not to read any more on Africa? How do the children feel about the nursery and what is the evidence of this? • What is unusual about Lydia’s idea of a vacation? What effect does she feel the house is having on her and her husband?

Section 3 • What is unusual or surprising about the fact that George and

Section 3 • What is unusual or surprising about the fact that George and Lydia are having dinner alone? • How is George’s attitude towards the nursery seen to be changing in this section? Give evidence of this change. • What are he and Lydia worried about with regards to the nursery and the children? • What is significant about the line, ‘The only flaw to the illusion…like a framed picture, eating her dinner abstractedly’? • Look at the word choice and similes used in the initial description of Wendy and Peter. Analyse what these suggest about the children and explain why you think Bradbury does this. What is the relationship between Wendy and Peter like and how can you tell?

Section 4, 5, 6 • Why is the nursery changed from the Veldt to

Section 4, 5, 6 • Why is the nursery changed from the Veldt to Rima when they return? What does this suggest about the relationship between the children and their parents? • What is the significance of George finding his wallet? • What are the parents beginning to realise about their relationship with their children in section 5? • What is significant about the ‘screams’ they hear in the night and what is surprising about the parents’ reaction? • How would you describe Peter and his attitude towards the house being switched off in section 6?

Section 7 • How does the comment ‘I want facts, not feelings’ sum up

Section 7 • How does the comment ‘I want facts, not feelings’ sum up George’s character and approach towards parenthood? • What does the psychologist, David Mc. Clean, mean when he says ‘they had a Santa Claus now they have a Scrooge’? What has he recognised about the role the nursery plays in the children’s lives? • What signs are there that the nursery could be becoming real? • What is significant about the scarf? What does it remind you of from earlier in the story? • What is the impact of using the word ‘killed’ at the end of this section? What does it imply the nursery has become?

Section 8 and 9 • How have Lydia and George switched in terms of

Section 8 and 9 • How have Lydia and George switched in terms of their attitudes at the end? • How would you describe the children’s reaction to the news of the nursery and house being switched off? Why does Peter wail at the ceiling? How would you describe the children’s behaviour and actions at the end of the story? • What has George recognised about their reliance on technology? What does he want to achieve by switching off the machines? How effective is the imagery: ‘full of dead bodies, it seemed’ and ‘a mechanical cemetery’? • What is ironic about Lydia’s statement ‘it can’t hurt’? Why do you think Bradbury ends the story with this gruesome twist? What is he trying to show us? • The final section describes Mr Mc. Clean’s arrival. We are not told what happens to him. What do you think will happen? Justify your answer. What is the atmosphere in this final section and how is it created?

Themes • Consumerism – Over reliance on Technology/dangers of technology • Responsibility/Abandonment • Family

Themes • Consumerism – Over reliance on Technology/dangers of technology • Responsibility/Abandonment • Family Relationships – the effect of technology on the family unit • What makes us human

Techniques: Characterisation • The Children Names – Wendy and Peter Age – 10 but

Techniques: Characterisation • The Children Names – Wendy and Peter Age – 10 but our perception changes – sometimes seem very young (tantrums) at others seem much older (televising home) – ‘He’s a wise one for ten’ Descriptions/Appearance – ‘cheeks like peppermint candy, eyes like bright agate marbles, a smell of ozone on their jumpers’ Relationship with each other – ‘holding hands’ close/conspiratorial, Peter’s control over Wendy = she obeys

Techniques: Characterisation • The Children Relationship with parents – independent of parents, ‘they treat

Techniques: Characterisation • The Children Relationship with parents – independent of parents, ‘they treat us like we are the offspring’ – Peter doesn’t look at father, sense of hiding things, speaks coldly and threatens ‘I don’t think you better consider it anymore, father. ’ Sense of hatred – wishing death on them Relationship with house/nursery - tantrum thrown at idea of being locked, seem to have control over it (beyond adult knowledge), embrace technology, don’t want to live without it, like how it does everything for them, rely on it – obsessed/addicted, more important than parents Behaviour/Attitudes – Independent of parents (televising home, saying to go on with tea without them), are detached/distant/sinister/conspiratorial, throw tantrums when don’t get own way, don’t want to do things for themselves ‘I don’t want to do anything but look and listen and smell; what else is there to do? ’

Techniques: Characterisation • The Parents Method of parenting – Wanted to give everything to

Techniques: Characterisation • The Parents Method of parenting – Wanted to give everything to children ‘“But nothing’s too good for our children, ” George had said’, expensive gadgets BUT in doing so have become detached, no longer care givers = abandoned George’s Personality – Practical and rational ‘I want facts not feelings’, the one who makes the rules ‘disciplines’, preoccupied ‘But, being busy, he had paid it no attention’ Lydia’s personality – More emotional, anxious, worried – feels she has no purpose anymore ‘Maybe I don’t have enough to do. Maybe I have time to think too much’. Gives into children’s tantrum at end.

Techniques: Characterisation • The Parents Attitudes towards nursery (start) – GEORGE – Laidback and

Techniques: Characterisation • The Parents Attitudes towards nursery (start) – GEORGE – Laidback and unconcerned, thinks it’s beneficial, dismisses Lydia’s concerns; patronises her. LYDIA – anxious and worried, wants psychologist to look at it, is less understanding of technology, acts instinctively ‘Lydia bolted and ran. Instinctively George sprang after her. Outside in the hall he was laughing and she was crying, and both stood appalled at the other’s reaction. ’ Attitudes towards nursery (end) – GEORGE – after investigating and witnessing behaviour of children he becomes more wary – come round to locking nursery/shutting down house as a precaution. LYDIA – still doesn’t like but is affected by children’s distress, ignores instincts and ironically says ‘it can’t hurt’, suggests naivety – doesn’t foresee seriousness

Techniques: Characterisation • David Mc. Clean Job – Psychiatrist: deals with feelings and the

Techniques: Characterisation • David Mc. Clean Job – Psychiatrist: deals with feelings and the mind, psychological issues. Suggests potentially serious nature of the effects of nursery Attitudes towards Nursery (before & now) – initially nothing unusual ‘the usual violences [. . . ] because they feel persecuted by parents constantly’; now doesn’t ‘feel good’ – instinctive sense of negative effects (crept up) Observations about parents – Sensed spoiled children, now letting them down (Santa/Scrooge analogy); room has replaced them – hatred directed at them in nursery; life built around creature comforts Advice given – Tear down room and take children for treatment (a year); room become a channel for ‘destructive thoughts’ – feels persecuted himself; reference to paranoia being ‘thick’ Position at end – Sense he is in danger; invited/lured into Veldt by children; image of shadows and vultures

Techniques: Setting • The House ‘Happylife Home’ Cutting edge – expensive – Technical Terms

Techniques: Setting • The House ‘Happylife Home’ Cutting edge – expensive – Technical Terms (‘soundproofed’, ‘soft automaticity’, ‘televised’ Does everything for them – ‘this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang’ Made to seem alive – senses their presence, reacts to their requests, Peter wails at ceiling ‘as if he was talking to the house, the nursery’ – refers to killing it at end ‘cemetery’

Techniques: Setting • The Nursery Technologically advanced, expensive: ‘it’s all dimensional, superreactionary, supersensitive colour

Techniques: Setting • The Nursery Technologically advanced, expensive: ‘it’s all dimensional, superreactionary, supersensitive colour film and mental tape film…It’s all odorophonics and sonics’ – designed to occupy children (virtual reality) Atmosphere – ‘so real, so feverishly and startlingly real you could feel the prickling fur on your hand’, ‘your mouth was stuffed with the dusty upholstery smell of their heated pelts’, ‘terrible green-yellow eyes’ = oppressive, threatening Stuck in a repetitive pattern – Africa, Veldt, lions feeding – No longer the fairy-tale like scenes Sensory presence of nursery - ‘a smell of cats in the night air’, ‘ It seemed that, at a distance, for the past month, he had heard lions roaring, and smelled their strong odor seeping as far away as his study’ – taking over, invading the house (children’s reliance)

Techniques: Imagery • Similes ‘The only flaw to the illusion was the open door

Techniques: Imagery • Similes ‘The only flaw to the illusion was the open door through which he could see his wife, far down the dark hall, like a framed picture, eating her dinner abstractedly. ’ ‘the smell of dust like a red paprika in the hot air. ’ ‘That sun. He could feel it on his neck still, like a hot paw. ’

Techniques: Imagery • Metaphors ‘this yellow hot Africa, this bake oven with murder in

Techniques: Imagery • Metaphors ‘this yellow hot Africa, this bake oven with murder in the heat’ • Personification ‘They went to the fuse box together and threw the switch that killed the nursery’

Techniques: Symbolism • The Veldt • The Lions • The Vultures • The Shadows

Techniques: Symbolism • The Veldt • The Lions • The Vultures • The Shadows • The Screams

Techniques • Repetition of ideas and phrases - ‘a little too real’ - The

Techniques • Repetition of ideas and phrases - ‘a little too real’ - The Screams - Description of senses – sights and smells of the Veldt seeping into and invading the wider house (lose control/as if alive) - The Veldt itself is caught in a repetitive cycle (paranoia, neurosis, obsession) - Children fixated on one idea – death (destructive thoughts Suggests how reliant we could become/stuck in a loop – warning = we ignore the signs, technology begins to take over

Techniques • Foreshadowing - Screams - Wallet - Scarf Suggest inevitability – leaving end

Techniques • Foreshadowing - Screams - Wallet - Scarf Suggest inevitability – leaving end open adds to sense of inevitability – know what will happen to Mr Mc. Clean. Timing is always just too late. Suggests Bradbury’s warning – parents don’t see it coming – like we don’t see the dangers of technology although signs are there

Techniques • Irony - ‘Happylife Home’ – What assumption does this make? Is it

Techniques • Irony - ‘Happylife Home’ – What assumption does this make? Is it a correct assumption? What is the irony? - ‘it won’t hurt’ Bradbury is pointing out how blind we can be to our own humanity and the dangers we create for ourselves

Techniques: Ending • Parents locked in nursery – presumably eaten by lions (realisation of

Techniques: Ending • Parents locked in nursery – presumably eaten by lions (realisation of why screams so familiar = too late) • Psychologist returns – children in ‘open glade’ having a picnic – Wendy invites in for tea saying parents will be ‘here directly’ • Backdrop of lions ‘fighting and clawing and then quieting down to feed in silence under the shady trees’ • Ominous atmosphere reinforced – reminded of ‘the hot sun’ which makes David ‘perspire’. • ‘A shadow flickered over Mr Mc. Clean’s hot face. Many shadows flickered. The vultures were dropping down the blazing sun. ’’.

 • Highlights an over-reliance on technology at the expense of actually living •

• Highlights an over-reliance on technology at the expense of actually living • Children have been spoiled but in doing so the parents have also ‘abandoned’ them. So much so that technology has replaced the parents and the children have more of an attachment with it. • Underestimating the ‘power’ of technology. Don’t understand the potential so become careless. Technology one step ahead. • Sci-fi genre – exaggerates to highlight the dangers and make more aware. Plays on natural fear of technology – becoming alive and taking over! • Generation gap – old v young. Young seem to have better understanding and are more at ease, have more control. Got to communicate and try to understand each other’s worlds. • Reality V unreality – not able to recognise the difference, merging and distinction being blurred. Unreal seems more real than reality – living through it but not really living.

Critical Essay Task (2015 Q 4) For ‘The Veldt’ you must choose from PROSE

Critical Essay Task (2015 Q 4) For ‘The Veldt’ you must choose from PROSE Qs (Q 3 or Q 4) Gives you a reminder of the sorts of things you can discuss for prose texts – could help to organise paragraphs Answers to questions on Prose should refer to the text and to such relevant features as characterisation, setting, language, key incident(s), climax, turning point, plot, structure, narrative technique, theme, ideas, description… Allows you to choose appropriate Q – gives focus of argument in essay. Pay attention to anything in bold. 4. Choose a novel or short story or work of non-fiction which explores a theme which you find interesting. By referring to appropriate techniques, show the writer explores this theme. Tells you what to do – how to organise your paragraphs/what to cover – reminds of what you are setting

Planning Decisions • Does ‘The Veldt’ explore a theme you find interesting? • What

Planning Decisions • Does ‘The Veldt’ explore a theme you find interesting? • What is theme? • Why is it interesting (e. g. what is being said about it = impact/message/relevance)? • How is theme explored = analysis of techniques which reveal theme (paragraphs)?

Line of Argument • Introduction should assert/outline what essay will prove – this is

Line of Argument • Introduction should assert/outline what essay will prove – this is your argument and this should be linked to task: ‘The Veldt’ explores theme of… in order to deliver an important/interesting message about… • Your topic sentences, analysis, sub-conclusions and overall conclusion should keep referring back to this = prove theme is explored and that it is ‘interesting’

Key Techniques • • • Similes and Description (word choice) Personification – nursery and

Key Techniques • • • Similes and Description (word choice) Personification – nursery and house Foreshadowing and repetition of ideas/phrases Irony Characterisation – Children, George, Lydia, David Mc. Clean Setting Mood and Atmosphere – use of sci-fi genre Symbolism - Title Ending

Introduction • Introduce text and line of argument • Demonstrate understanding/knowledge of text and

Introduction • Introduce text and line of argument • Demonstrate understanding/knowledge of text and engagement with it MUST INCLUDE: IMPROVED BY: • • • Title – in inverted commas (remember capitals) Writer’s full name Refer to it as a short story Focus of task/argument e. g. ‘explores theme of…’ which delivers an important message about…’ • • • Showing brief knowledge of context and relevance of this Mention (without listing) the key techniques used Making clear the impact of the story on the reader (message) Using evaluative language (effectively, disturbing, successfully, delivers a potent message… MUST NOT INCLUDE: • • • Use of ‘I’ or ‘you’ (use ‘the reader’ or ‘we’ Reference to the essay itself Reference to writing the essay Reference to reading the story in class A blow by blow account of the plot Irrelevant context e. g. Bradbury’s life

Analytical Paragraphs • Should be 4 or 5 – each one focusing on a

Analytical Paragraphs • Should be 4 or 5 – each one focusing on a new point (technique) – something Bradbury does to explore theme • Topic Sentence – focus on writer (Bradbury), task (exploration of theme) and technique (identify), linkage Bradbury further explores the damaging effects of an over-reliance on technology through the effective contrast between the children and their parents • Make analytical points – fully explore and analyse how effectively technique is used • Use evidence to support – integrate quotations into point – and always analyse what quotation shows and how effect is created • Sub conclude by linking back to overall message at end of paragraph

Integrating Quotations • Introduce quotation by making a point • Try to work shorter

Integrating Quotations • Introduce quotation by making a point • Try to work shorter quotations into the sentence (remember quotation marks) Bradbury describes how ‘the smell of dust’ was ‘like a red paprika in the hot air’ in order to… • For longer quotations you can use a colon and drop down a line – separating the quotation from main essay When George is outside of the nursery, the description of what he sees makes us question what is real: ‘The only flaw to the illusion was the … eating her dinner abstractedly’ Here, Bradbury suggests that George’s perception of reality has been distorted because… • Always follow the quotation with a comment (analysing its effect). Try to vary use of ‘This shows’ and use evaluative language.

Conclusion • Is the end of your argument and must always be there –

Conclusion • Is the end of your argument and must always be there – even if it is brief • Does much the same as an introduction but in a rounding off, concluding way REMEMBER TO: - Restate title, author’s full name and mention it is a short story - Refocus on the task = reassert your line of argument now that you have proved it - Explain the overall message/impact of story - Show engagement using evaluative language - No ‘I think’ - Sum up main points

Discussion Points • Is Bradbury right? • Has he predicted the future from 50

Discussion Points • Is Bradbury right? • Has he predicted the future from 50 years ago? • Are we over reliant on technology? • Does technology impact on our family, relationships and day to day living? • Is any of this story close to reality in any way?