"'George, I wish you'd look at the nursery." (Page 1)
"'All right, let's have a look." (Page 1)
”’I don’t think you’d better consider it any more, Father.’” (Page 8)
'"...we're thinking of turning the whole house off for about a month...'" (Page 8)
The story begins with the Hadleys discussing the nursery in their “Happylife Home,” (Page 1) that “clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep…” (Page 1). Lydia Hadley is concerned because “the nursery is different now than it was,” (Page 1). At the beginning of the story, George Hadley fully supports their technologically advanced home and the nursery they had bought for their children, because it was “a miracle of efficiency selling for an absurdly low price,” (Page 2). Mr. and Mrs. Hadley go into the nursery and the lions run after them. When they make it outside, “he was laughing and she was crying,” (Page 2). Bradbury describes the opening scene in this way because it shows how the parents feel about the technology at the beginning of the story so we are able to see how their feelings change as the story progresses.
The children become obsessed with the image of the African Veldt. The children control what is projected on the walls of the nursery. Peter and Wendy loved “...the nursery [because it] caught the telepathic emanations of [their] minds and created life to fill their every desire,” (Page 4). George Hadley’s concern began to grow when he realized that, “...for the past month, he had heard lions roaring, and smelled their strong odor seeping as far away as his study door.” (Page 4) Mr. Hadley realized that his children were focusing on the image of death which is not normal and healthy for young children.
Mr. and Mrs. Hadley threaten to disable the nursery. Mr. Hadley tells Peter that him and Lydia are “thinking of turning the whole house off for about a month,” (Page 8). Peter tells his father that he doesn’t want the nursery turned off because he would “have to tie my own shoes...brush my own teeth…” (Page 8). Peter has become dependent on the technology in the house and is angry when his father threatens to turn off the nursery.
Takeaway About Tech
The reaction of the characters to the climax, which was shutting off the nursery, differed from all characters. The children reacted in a way where they “were in hysterics” (10), meaning that they were horrified at the fact that the parents turned off the nursery. They acted as if their life depended on the nursery being open and went to the extent of wishing death upon their father, “I wish you were dead” (11). The mom reacted in a way in which she was sympathetic for the children because she saw the reaction towards George’s decision to close down the nursery. She said, “You can’t be so cruel…” (10), as she wanted to “turn on the nursery, just for a few moments” (10). George was stern about closing down the nursery, “Lydia, it’s off, and it stays off” (10). However, George let up opened the nursery back up, “One minute, mind you, and then off forever” (11).
The story ends with the parents being locked into the nursery by the children, “Why, they’ve locked it from the outside” (11)! It shows them being surrounded by the lions and then it cuts to the the psychologist coming into the doorway. The story alludes to the parents dying through “the vultures dropping down the blazing sky” (12). This shows that technology has ultimately affected the life of the parents and the children permanently.
The takeaway about technology is that you should never fully trust technology, especially when it involves children. When kids become are exposed to technology at a young age and are not given boundaries, they become dependent and obsessed with the technology and see it as something they are unable to live without. The kids in the story were not taught responsibility as the house did everything for them. They kids were also spoiled so when they were told no, they rebelled. The kids’ use of technology in the nursery led to them to see their parents as unnecessary and unimportant which is why they did not have a problem feeding them to the lions. Throughout the story, it portrays the theme that you should never fully depend on technology. Technology is a great resource, but it must be used responsibly and wisely.