The Veldt – Quick Essay Plan

Stephanie, this is a bit rushed but the various key parts are included. You might want to use these notes as a basis of your own planning and organise them a bit differently? Hope it’s of some use.

Choose a novel or short story in which a conflict between two of the main characters is central to the story.

Explain how the conflict arises and go on to discuss in detail how the writer uses it to explore an important theme.


Veldt- Ray Bradbury – 1951 – science fiction – view of utopia gone wrong – focus on relationship between Peter and George – father and son – brings out theme of failed responsibilities.

Future – perfect house – fulfils all needs – removes need of work – meals prepared – tidies itself – raises children – the nursery – visions of Africa – sinister atmosphere – lions – G&L note their growing irrelevance – fail to change their ways – children feel denied – seek revenge – psychic connection to nursery – trap parents – kill psychiatrist.

Part 1:
George – wants to provide the best – He loves his children – refuses to be a disciplinarian – believes he will punish the children when necessary – slowly becomes frustrated with the house’s effect on the family – cares more for his family than he does for the convenience of the house – has no problem turning off the house – tries to take a very logical approach to problems – does not realize the true danger of the nursery until it is too late. “Walls, Lydia, remember; crystal walls, that’s all they are.”

David McClean tells George, “You’ve let this room and this house replace you and your wife in your children’s affections.” This accidental abdication of parental responsibility sets the children up to become emotionally attached to the nursery.

George threatens to turn off the nursery, the children are terrified because now they are going to be abandoned by their new, surrogate parent, the nursery.

Lydia clearly recognizes her own feelings of alienation when she admits very early in the story, “I feel like I don’t belong here.”

Part 2:
Man versus machine. Struggle to control and direct the destructive power of the nursery’s technology. Whoever controls the machine will have the ultimate power.

George and Lydia are murdered by the nursery; the children are also dehumanised – feel no guilt, remorse or regret when their parents die – as cold and emotionless as the machinery that controls the nursery.

Part 3:

Foreshadowing – “Those screams—they sound familiar.” – Lions heat “on his neck”
Personification – “‘I don’t imagine the room will like being turned off,’ said the father. ‘Nothing likes to die—even a room. I wonder if it hates me for wanting to switch it off?'”
Inverted power – “Will you shut off the house sometime soon?”
“We’re considering it.”
“I don’t think you’d better consider it any more, Father.”
“I won’t have any threats from my son!”
“Very well.” And Peter strolled off to the nursery.

Difference in register – control in children’s hands – G ignores the threat – cold tone from P

Failed relationships
Irony of utopian house bringing misery
Peter is seduced by the total care of the house
Parents can’t compete
They refuse to take responsibility

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