1. Do you think this story would work the same if it were literally about TV in the 1950s instead of the virtual reality nursery? What would be different about that version of this story? Is this story really about TV or is it about some larger issue?
2. Super Big Question: Why do the kids hang out in Africa, on the veldt? And why do they hang out with lions? (We offer some ideas in "Setting" and "Symbols," but we're not sure.)
3. How much do we learn about the Hadley family and their house? Where do you think they live and what do you think George does for work (if he works at all)? Or do those questions not matter since what's important happens inside the house? How would you feel about these people if we read a scene outside of the house?
4. George and Lydia Hadley say it will be like a "vacation" to turn off all their tech. Is it ever a vacation for you to get away from your technology? Is it relaxing when the power goes out, for example? Why do you think the Hadley’s call it a vacation?
5. The story says that adults could use the nursery (28), but they don't in this story. Why is the nursery only used by Peter and Wendy? Is there something childish about the idea of a virtual reality room?
6. The virtual reality room is important, but what about the rest of the technology? How does the house interact with the family? What other gadgets does Bradbury mention? Is there a pattern to what gadgets the Hadley’s have in their house?
7. What do you think happens at the end of the story? (The ending is a little open, so there might be a few different versions.)
8. Do you feel like you're really there in Africa when Bradbury describes the scene? How does Bradbury describe it? We think he describes a lot of smells (possibly just because the word "odorophonic" is funny and starts with "odor"). But maybe you noticed other senses he uses. How do his descriptions affect your reading?
9. Should we consider the house a character? How is it characterized? What about the other automatic equipment, especially when George turns it off? Do they seem like living characters when he "kills" them? What do you think about McClean's comment that "Nothing ever likes to die—even a room" (217)?
10. What would this story look like from Peter and Wendy's point of view?
I think the story is meant to show how detached we will become from reality, if we don’t maintain basic communication when technological advances occur.
So, I don’t think the issue would be as prominent if it was about TV in 1950s. I don’t think it would be as concerning.
I have been to vacation once with no technology (other than lighting and stuff like that) and at first it was very hard to get used to. But after a few days I realized that it was much easier for me to relax, and I wasn’t as stressed.
However, I don’t think that was why the Hadley’s called it a vacation. I think they called it a vacation to glamorize how their life would be without technology.
I think they were hoping that the children would receive the news better, if they made the idea sound better than it felt to the children.