The Veldt

Lydia Hadley Character Analysis

Lydia is George’s wife. She is the first to perceive the negative effects of the Happylife Home, and wishes she once again had a “purpose”, which she feels the fully-automated house has stolen from her. She is also genuinely frightened by the realistic power of the nursery. While she is the one who encourages George to take definitive action and shut off the Happylife Home, she also has a soft spot for her children that results in her and her husband’s ultimate demise.

Lydia Hadley Quotes in The Veldt

The The Veldt quotes below are all either spoken by Lydia Hadley or refer to Lydia Hadley. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of The Veldt published in 2012.
The Veldt Quotes

They walked down the hall of their soundproofed Happylife Home, which had cost them thirty thousand dollars installed, this house which clothed and fed and rocked them to sleep and played and sang and was good to them.

Related Characters: George Hadley, Lydia Hadley, Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The Happylife Home
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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They stood on the thatched floor of the nursery. It was forty feet across by forty feet long and thirty feet high; it had cost half again as much as the rest of the house. “But nothing’s too good for our children,” George had said.

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley, Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Walls, Lydia, remember; crystal walls, that’s all they are. Oh, they look real, I must admit—Africa in your parlor—but it’s all dimensional, superreactionary, supersensitive color film and mental tape film behind glass screens. It’s all odorophonics and sonics, Lydia. Here’s my handkerchief.”
“I’m afraid.” She came to him and put her body against him and cried steadily. “Did you see? Did you feel? It’s too real.”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley (speaker)
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

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“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.”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley, Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Maybe I don’t have enough to do. Maybe I have time to think too much. Why don’t we shut the whole house off for a few days and take a vacation?”
“You mean you want to fry my eggs for me?”
“Yes.” She nodded….
“But I thought that’s why we bought the house, so we wouldn’t have to do anything.”
“That’s just it. I feel like I don’t belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid. Can I compete with an African veldt? Can I give a bath and scrub the children as efficiently or quickly as the automatic scrub bath can? I cannot.”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley (speaker), Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The Happylife Home
Page Number: 12-13
Explanation and Analysis:

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How many times in the last year had he opened this door and found Wonderland, Alice, the Mock Turtle, or Aladdin and his Magical Lamp, …all the delightful contraptions of a make-believe world…. But now, this yellow hot Africa, this bake oven with murder in the heat. Perhaps Lydia was right. Perhaps they needed a little vacation from the fantasy which was growing a bit too real for ten-year-old children.

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley, Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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George Hadley stood on the African grassland alone. The lions looked up from their feeding, watching him. 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.

Related Characters: George Hadley, Lydia Hadley
Related Symbols: The Veldt
Page Number: 15
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Hello, Mom. Hello, Dad.”
The Hadleys turned. Wendy and Peter were coming in the front door, cheeks like peppermint candy, eyes like bright blue agate marbles, a smell of ozone on their jumpers from their trip in the helicopter.
“You’re just in time for supper, said both parents.
“We’re full of strawberry ice cream and hot dogs,” said the children, holding hands. “But we’ll sit and watch.”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley (speaker), Wendy Hadley (speaker), Peter Hadley (speaker)
Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:

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“I don’t know anything,” he said, “except that I’m beginning to be sorry we bought that room for the children. If children are neurotic at all, a room like that—”
“It’s supposed to help them work off their neuroses in a healthful way.”
“I’m starting to wonder.” He stared at the ceiling.
“We’ve given the children everything they ever wanted. Is this our reward—secrecy, disobedience?”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley (speaker), Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 18
Explanation and Analysis:

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A moment later they heard screams.
Two screams. Two people screaming from downstairs. And then a roar of lions….
“Those screams—they sound familiar.”
“Do they?”
“Yes, awfully.”
And although their beds tried very hard, the two adults couldn’t be rocked to sleep for another hour. A smell of cats was in the night air.

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley (speaker)
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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Peter looked at his shoes. He never looked at his father any more, nor at his mother.

Related Characters: George Hadley, Lydia Hadley, Peter Hadley
Page Number: 19
Explanation and Analysis:

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“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 than their real parents. And now you come along and want to shut it off. No wonder there’s hatred there. You can feel it coming out of the sky. Feel that sun. George, you’ll have to change your life. Like too many others, you’ve built it around creature comforts. Why, you’d starve tomorrow if something went wrong in your kitchen. You wouldn’t know how to tap an egg. Nevertheless, turn everything off. Start new.”

Related Characters: David McClean (speaker), George Hadley, Lydia Hadley, Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The Happylife Home, The “Nursery”, The Veldt
Page Number: 22-23
Explanation and Analysis:

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“Lydia, it’s off, and it stays off. And the whole damn house dies as of here and now. The more I see of the mess we’ve put ourselves in, the more it sickens me. We’ve been contemplating our mechanical, electronic navels for too long. My God, how we need a breath of honest air!”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Happylife Home, The “Nursery”
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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“I wish you were dead!”
“We were, for a long while. Now we’re going to really start living. Instead of being handled and massaged, we’re going to live.”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Peter Hadley (speaker), Lydia Hadley, Wendy Hadley
Related Symbols: The Happylife Home
Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:

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He stared at the two children seated in the center of the open glade eating a little picnic lunch. Beyond them was the water hole and the yellow veldtland; above was the hot sun. He began to perspire. “Where are your mother and father?”
The children looked up and smiled. “Oh, they’ll be here directly.”…
A shadow flickered over Mr. McClean’s hot face. Many shadows flickered. The vultures were dropping down the blazing sky.
“A cup of tea?” asked Wendy in the silence.

Related Characters: Wendy Hadley (speaker), Peter Hadley (speaker), David McClean (speaker), George Hadley, Lydia Hadley
Related Symbols: The Veldt
Page Number: 26-27
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lydia Hadley Character Timeline in The Veldt

The timeline below shows where the character Lydia Hadley appears in The Veldt. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
The Veldt
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
The story opens during a conversation between the Hadley parents, George and Lydia, in their thirty thousand-dollar Happylife Home. The futuristic Happylife Home fulfills their every need: it... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
...nursery, saying that everything looks normal but that it is “a little too real,” but Lydia tells him to wait. They observe more details in the veldt: the smell of grass,... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
...he muses, “what fun for everyone.” The lions stop fifteen feet away from George and Lydia, “feverishly and startlingly real,” and then charge at the couple. George and Lydia run out... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
George and Lydia can’t sleep. They agree that Wendy changed the nursery from a veldt to a forest... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
...and asks George not to turn off the nursery. When George reveals that he and Lydia are considering turning the Happylife Home off for a month, Peter becomes upset at the... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
George and Lydia invite their friend, psychologist David McClean, to examine the nursery. David observes that the veldt... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
...Wendy and Peter become extremely upset and throw a fit. Upset at her children’s crying, Lydia begs George to turn the nursery back on for a little longer. George refuses, and... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
Lydia and the children go to the nursery while George gets dressed. Lydia also comes to... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
...feeling the heat of the sun, starts sweating. He asks the children where George and Lydia are, and the children reply that they’ll be coming soon. In the distance, David sees... (full context)