The Veldt

The “Nursery” Symbol Analysis

The “Nursery” Symbol Icon
The nursery is a product of society’s most sophisticated technology, and gives its users the amazing ability to create a virtual world from sheer imagination. A “nursery” is another name for a children’s bedroom and playroom, the place where children grow up. But Bradbury’s nursery actually helps raise Wendy and Peter—so much so that it replaces their parents. It becomes an addictive machine that gives the children massive stimulation, gratifies their deepest and darkest desires, and isolates the children from the real world. The nursery is a double-edged sword: it symbolizes the incredible possibility that technology presents, but also the danger of using technology for sheer pleasure, of getting carried away by its power, and of ultimately choosing technology over humanity.

The “Nursery” Quotes in The Veldt

The The Veldt quotes below all refer to the symbol of The “Nursery”. 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 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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The lions were coming. And again George Hadley was filled with admiration for the mechanical genius who had conceived this room. A miracle of efficiency selling for an absurdly low price. Every home should have one. Oh, occasionally they frightened you with their clinical accuracy, they startled you, gave you a twinge, but most of the time what fun for everyone, not only your own son and daughter, but for yourself when you felt like a quick jaunt to a foreign land, a quick change of scenery.

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker)
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 11
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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Remarkable how the nursery caught the telepathic emanations of the children’s minds and created life to fill their every desire. The children thought lions, and there were lions. The children thought zebras, and there were zebras. Sun—sun. Giraffes—giraffes. Death and death.

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 14
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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“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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“I don’t want to do anything but look and listen and smell; what else is there to do?”

Related Characters: Peter Hadley (speaker)
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 20
Explanation and Analysis:

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“My dear George, a psychologist never saw a fact in his life. He only hears about feelings; vague things. This doesn’t feel good, I tell you. Trust my hunches and my instincts. I have a nose for something bad. This is very bad. My advice to you is to have the whole damn room torn down and your children brought to me every day during the next year for treatment.”

Related Characters: David McClean (speaker), George Hadley, Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 21-22
Explanation and Analysis:

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“One of the original uses of these nurseries was so that we could study the patterns left on the walls by the child’s mind, study at our leisure, and help the child. In this case, however, the room has become a channel toward destructive thoughts, instead of a release away from them.”

Related Characters: David McClean (speaker), Wendy Hadley, Peter Hadley
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 22
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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“I don’t imagine the room will like being turned off,” said the father.
“Nothing ever likes to die—even a room.”

Related Characters: George Hadley (speaker), David McClean (speaker)
Related Symbols: The “Nursery”
Page Number: 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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The “Nursery” Symbol Timeline in The Veldt

The timeline below shows where the symbol The “Nursery” 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 family, “humming to itself,” Lydia asks George to take a look at the Home’s “nursery,” or to call a psychologist in to examine it. George agrees to look at it... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
The parents reach the nursery, the most expensive and sophisticated feature of the Happylife Home. Before their eyes, the blank... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
As the lions approach them, George admires the “genius” of the nursery. To him, the room is a “miracle of efficiency.” It is so real that it... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
...food, he reflects that it would be good for the children to live without the nursery for some time. “Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone,” he thinks. The nursery... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
George enters the nursery and reminisces about the past imaginary worlds his children created. But this new world is... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
...the children feign ignorance, insisting they haven’t created an African veldt. Wendy runs to the nursery, and when she comes back, announces that there is no Africa. The four Hadleys walk... (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 to try to fool them. They don’t know why,... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
...his feet. He admits that he and Wendy have been creating the veldt in the nursery, and asks George not to turn off the nursery. When George reveals that he and... (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 doesn’t “feel good.” A psychologist, he says, works based on... (full context)
Consumer Culture and Technology Theme Icon
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
In response to the nursery getting turned off, Wendy and Peter become extremely upset and throw a fit. Upset at... (full context)
“Too Real” Reality Theme Icon
Human Nature Theme Icon
Death of the Family Theme Icon
Some time later, David arrives at the nursery doorway, and sees Wendy and Peter eating a picnic in a glade. Beyond them is... (full context)