Ray Bradbury’s The Veldt has many examples of symbolism that tie into the story, but the most prominent one is the “virtual” African veldt. The story discusses how George and Lydia Hadley can’t control their children Peter and Wendy, because they are always playing games in their “nook,” which is a room-sized play area with an electronic wall to project whatever game or program they want. The children create a scenario where they place themselves in an African veldt, and whoever manages to get out of it alive without dying (from starvation or wild animals) wins (Bradbury).
The whole time this scenario is going on, the parents do nothing about it; although when their son Peter gets stuck in Lion Country and is killed, the parents decide to deactivate the nook. The children continue to play at home with their lives on the line until George Hadley gets so frustrated he destroys The Sheep Meadow which leads to a confrontation in The Whale where George dies. The idea of going out into The Veldt shows how Peter and Wendy have a lack of respect for themselves by playing a life or death game, but also for their parents because they don’t stop it even when they know what’s going on.
The setting has thematic significance because it represents the kids’ imaginations becoming dangerous, whereas before they were just being imaginative. The things that happen in The Veldt are obviously symbolic of real- events that could happen. The idea of The Veldt representing the kids’ imaginations becoming dangerous is drawn from Bradbury’s interest in children. The idea that The Veldt is drawn from his childhood experiences with his brother who died at a young age, and how he had imaginary friends himself (Bradbury).
The “children” in The Veldt are really just the kid’s imagination personified- they wear animal masks to distinguish which child created which character, so it means that Peter and Wendy were more than ready to accept their own self-destruction because they were already living out death through The Veldt without realizing it. The setting of The Veldt has different themes that go along with it. One theme is innocence, because this story comes from The Illustrated Man, a book full of stories that show how innocence can be destroyed or something can go wrong with children.
The setting is a window into the future and it shows what could happen if kids are allowed to use technology without thinking about the consequences (Fisher). The younger brother’s death ties in with The Veldt because he dies from playing “Cowboys and Indians” with his friends, just like Peter gets stuck in The Veldt. The parents’ lack of caring for their kid’s well-being also fits into this theme because they let the kids do whatever they want even though The Veldt might hurt them. If Ray Bradbury had not used The Veldt as symbolism, then there would’ve been no conflict, because The Veldt is The Hadleys’ way of life.
The parents are in denial about their children’s demise, and they feel like The Veldt actually makes them happy (Bradbury). The children would not have had anything to do if The Veldt didn’t exist, so Bradbury needed something that was just as important for The Hadley family’s survival as food or water is. The symbolism that The Veldt brings into the story shows how there needs to be boundaries set up between kids and technology, which ties back to innocence being destroyed through technology because The Veldt symbolizes the death of Peter and Wendy’s innocence.
When The Hadley family doesn’t pay attention to their kids enough they are letting The Veldt take over, which doesn’t allow The Hadley family to survive. The parents also don’t realize their children are suffering until they are already suffering, whereas the kids just want more and more of The Veldt because it means life or death for them. The setting of The Veldt is a window into the future that shows what can happen if boundaries aren’t set between kids and technology, so The Veldt is symbolic in many ways.
The Veldt” uses symbols throughout the story to represent how relying to heavily on technology can influence a development, change a person for worse, and all in all lead to downfall. The setting of The Veldt is one of its biggest symbols that represent kids’ imaginations becoming dangerous, and The Veldt is also symbolic for how parents don’t pay attention to kids enough. The characters in The Veldt are another symbol because they show the destruction of innocence, while the Hadleys’ lack of boundaries between technology and kids can be seen as yet another symbol (Fisher).
The theme of The Veldt is also shown through the symbolism it brings into the story by showing what can happen if children are allowed to use technology without thinking about their actions. The stars in this short story help with symbolism by representing The Hadley family’s freedom that The Veldt takes away them. The readers get a good picture of The Veldt, and The Hadley family’s freedom, by the way it looks outside The Veldt. The stars are also a major symbol for how The Hadleys’ children had “lost their selves” because The Veldt took that away from them (Fisher).
The fact that The Hadley family can’t sleep outside The Veldt shows they miss the stars too. The setting of The Veldt is very symbolic in many ways; it uses symbols to represent boundaries between technology and kids, as well as how parents don’t pay enough attention to their kids. The veldt represents freedom which is symbolic on its own (because people who live on the veldt are free), but it also represents The Hadley family’s freedom that The Veldt takes away from them.
The stars represent The Hadleys’ children’s loss of innocence because The Veldt took it away from them, and the setting is symbolic in many other ways as well (Fisher). Ray Bradbury uses symbolism throughout this short story by giving The Veldt a specific meaning, which also ties into innocence being destroyed through technology. The reasons behind the symbols are important to note because they give a deeper look into what Ray Bradbury was trying to say about how ‘The Veldt’ is the destruction of innocence, and not just an innocent video game that goes wrong.