The family is the basic and most important unit of any societal setting. It is the smallest institution to which one belongs and owes allegiance to. Being in a family implies being among people who understand and serve you best. In any society, the parents are tasked with the role of bringing up their children through providing physical, emotional and material support for them. This means being in touch with every aspect of a child’s needs; be it basic, parental love and concern, spiritual “feeding” at every stage of growth. The children are expected to reciprocate this by being respectful, obedient, submissive and answerable to their parents. The life of the parents and their children is supposed to revolve around each other, such that, no other impediment comes in between them such that it compromises the family’s cohesiveness. However, in the modern world, important family concerns such as love, care and concern have been sidestepped for individual desires and selfish gains. Parents are either too busy to play their parental roles such as creating time to bond with their children.
The primary aspect brought out in George’s character is his inability to be sure of the implications of his actions and decisions for his family which is also a failure in his parental role.
George says "No, it's a little late to be sure,"………
Literally, being sure means being definite of something, having adequate reason for a belief or assertion, confident in anticipation or knowledge of something. It is having a conviction about that which others may be quizzical or skeptical of. It could also imply that one is in no doubt or having absolute confidence in something. However, George’s interpretation of being sure is not seen in the literal sense. His is that you do not have to be in touch with what is really on the ground. Looking at his utterance, it is perceived that it is unnecessary to be absolute in what one would really want to know. After all, the “Happylife” home would massage his thoughts into relaxing and assuming everything is okay and eventually his thoughts would not have to be troubled. He had a lot to marvel at within the nursery, such that to him, being sure of something was a needless task.
However, George used the word “sure” to consciously mean that one does not need to be bothered about his/her worries. Being too sure is a mind bog. George makes use of the word ‘sure’ to show one needs not to worry about anything. The time for being certain was far gone and only time to be confident about everything had elapsed. He uses this word to disapprove Lydia’s fears of what had been happening in the nursery. She was concerned about what was becoming of the nursery. Lydia sees the lions heading to the water hole and questions what they had been eating. She also hears peculiar sounds which George does not. He is so engrossed into the ‘happylife’ home that he fails to notice the changes that are taking place in the life of his family.
In this context, the word ‘sure’ can also be applied in the whole chapter of ‘the veldt’. George installs the ‘happylife’ home knowing that that is what he wanted for himself and his family. However, this changes when he gets to realize that the children are acting peculiarly when he wants to lock the nursery for a while. He thinks that by locking up the nursery, the children would learn to be independent, respectful and obedient. The children have however, taken the nursery to be everything they are interested in and become unruly when George wants to lock the nursery. George says, “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.” George has seen the effects of the nursery to the children and still is reluctant to lock it up for fear of the children’s reaction to this. He prefers living in the oblivion and when this is deemed impossible, he somewhat chooses to have a psychologist make the decision on what should be done. He is not sure of the best way to deal with the situation shown when he tells Peter that he is still considering shutting the nursery. This was going to be determined by how Peter and Wendy were going to behave (Bradbury, 13).
‘Happylife’ home is where George, his wife Lydia and their two children Peter and Wendy are currently living. The home is capable of doing everything for the family from clothing them, tying their shoe laces, rocking them to sleep to even taking them for trips into Africa with a simple thought of it. The installation of the house cost a total of $30,000 which George sees as being ‘…absurdly low price…’ and that every family should have one. The ‘happylife’ home has however had depressing impact in the life of George and his family (Bradbury, 13).
Too much of something is a potential detriment to one’s wellbeing. If not well controlled, too much of wealth and riches could lead one into a misjudgments. George’s love for a lavish lifestyle makes him uncertain and unsure of what he wants to express. Living life on a fast lane deludes his ability to reason and establish that which is certain, true and realistic. He is too comfortable to notice the concerns that are springing from his wife who was tense and disturbed by the nursery. Asked how sure he was about the lion’s walk in the park, he says: “No, it’s a little late to be sure”. In the subconscious sense, the word “sure” signifies that he is too complacent in the comfort world to the level of lacking the acuteness of what is in his virtual park (nursery). In today’s society, a father has a huge role to play in a family setup. This is because he is expected to offer utmost protection to his family by being aware of everything, whether usual or peculiar within the home. George is uncertain of what the lions in the park have been eating which thus portrays him as neglecting his parental role as a father. He is expected to be conscious and always aware of the situation within the premises. He is however unaware and only makes guesses of what it could really be. Furthermore, he does not show any consideration in wanting to know exactly what has happened. This depicts neglect which at the end costs him to lose the happiness and unity of his family.
Resultant from his riches, George displays his easygoing character by how he behaves as calm as he was while in the nursery with Lydia. He is so relaxed even in the face of the perceived danger of being in the nursery, the open grassy park of wild animals. Whereas Lydia had a burning concern in that “Africa” had become too affective to the minds of the family (the screams and the bloody images from the crystalline nursery walls), George acted composed and calm in the light of all these spectacular scenes. Could he have been outweighing the importance of having too much at his disposal such that he did not see any reason to be worried as much Lydia was? Does it mean that riches are mind-relaxers? Is there are link between riches and an easygoing character? Was he sure that things were going to work out by themselves owing to the riches that he had?
The nursery is ever-changing. The scenery is controlled by the telepathy of the mind. Its sophisticated nature can make one jump to whatever scene he/she wants to enjoy. However, the frequent visits to this place have made George to be detached from the real world that he survives in. His thoughts are taken over by the “wonderful” sight ahead of him; the lions, the vultures, the wildlife scent. He perpetrates much indifference to the outside life, especially when Lydia’s concerns about the nursery do not evoke even the slightest degree of alarm in him. He has an impassive personality. He is fascinated by the park more than he ought to be in touch with his wife’s feelings. The park makes him so detached from the real world. Here, riches and splendor are seen as what control George’s conscience. As he has displayed here, being sure of the happenings in the real world doesn’t have to bother one’s mind. Is the weight of life on a fast lane that heavy to occasion the indifference in an individual?
Contrary to the expected, George is unconcerned about the worries his wife Lydia has, which leads him to look for scapegoats to get him out of a situation. When he is asked by Lydia of what had been happening in the veldt, he gives a vague answer that discourages her in wanting to know more about the situation. This indicates how insensitive and disinterested George is since Lydia had asked the question with a peculiar tension in her voice and he only answers it in amusement. He has entirely embraced the ‘happy life’ home that he fails to notice the changes in his family union. He sees no reason for Lydia to worry about the sounds that are being heard from the nursery. Again, he covers up being sure of Lydia’s worries by wishing her fears away.
Despite the blatant show of indifference to Lydia, it is surprising to note that in spite of him not being responsive to the sight of the park that was of concern, George does not in any way seem perturbed by the uncertainty he finds himself in. Whereas he cannot describe the spectacle around him, he rests comfortable perhaps due to the fact that he did not have anything to worry about. Portrayed here is a personality that is content with being unsure of what it can neither understand nor explain, than what is more important, that is, Lydia’s fears (Bradbury, 16).
George has been driven by the ‘happy life’ home to becoming leisurely which eventually leads him to overlooking certain key aspects in the family well being. He has over time developed a passion for the spectacle on the walls which has changed him in the way he behaves. The expectation of him playing the fatherly role in regulating the use of the nursery by the children is not seen here. This depicts his to be neglecting his family and only concentrates on the blinding happiness the nursery has brought to his family. Lydia is tensed about what has been happening but George is not. The ‘happylife’ home has blinded George to taking life simply ignoring the well being of his family. He turns a blind eye to Lydia’s concern over what was happening in the nursery.
George is illustrated as being lacking insight, and due to this he ends up making decisions which causes him to be a loser. The installation of the ‘happylife’ home cost him a lot of money which can be said to be a total waste. George only looks at the positive side of the nursery neglecting the possibility of any negative effects to his family. The children get in touch with the nursery too much and this substitutes their parents’ role in their growth. George’s attempts to re-unite his family hit a dead rock when the children trick him and his wife into the Veldt. George was not sure that the nursery was going to have such adverse effects on his family.
Despite the fact that Lydia is convinced of the changes that have taken place in their life as a family, George does not seem to recognize them. He is not sure whether it is the ‘happylife’ home that has changed them or who are unaware of how to use the nursery. Lydia tries to convince him to take a walk into the nursery. He takes the walk after saying that nothing was too good for their children. This indicates that George is hard to convince unless he experiences that which needs to be changed. It is after several occasions of the children being disrespectful to him that he decides to take an action on the nursery.
“No, it’s a little late to be sure.” (Bradbury, 14).
George says this while he is with his wife Lydia when she asks of what has been happening in the nursery. This sentence occurs at a point when Peter and Wendy are away for a trip in the helicopter. It is at this point that Lydia makes it known to George that the nursery was not as it used to be. She urges him to have a look at it or have it checked by a psychologist. Together in the nursery, George and Lydia realize that the children have been concentrating a lot on the African veldt thus the walls have gained an almost permanent view. George and Lydia start questioning the reason as to why the children spend a lot of their time in the nursery. When the children return, George is very quick to ask them about the nursery with the intent of wanting to know what the children were up to at the nursery. This is however not fulfilled as the children patently refute their father’s claims.
George’s banks all his worries on the riches and wealth that he had. His unconcern for the house affairs has been compromised by all these spectacular features at his disposal. He is not sure of how his wallet got into the park and got all torn up. To add up to his woes, he is not certain as to whether he is still maintaining his senses naturally or as to whether his composure is assured through alcohol and cigarette smoking. Whether his kids are under the “parenthood” of the nursery up to the point of viewing his fatherhood as a compromised factor is also a mystery he cannot be sure of.
Humankind is a corrupted species. Whereas we struggle to reach perfection and solve all our troubles by ourselves, no matter how much we have at our disposal, we still need an arm to stretch out and uplift us from our abyss.
On realizing how gross the effects of the nursery are to Peter and Wendy, George decides to have a psychologist, David McClean, come and access the situation with the hope that David would provide the best solution and bring reasonable change that would help him regain his family’s unity and happiness. Whatever David was going to propose was to the best way forward. David does not fail to show up and he willingly offers his suggestions to George. David thought that by bringing down the nursery, so many aspects were going to change. Still, he is not banking on that, he is not sure whether it would work out, but considered it worth a try.
David McClean’s role is brought out here: a person who stamps out the truth to a people whose riches had made them place a scapegoat on the appreciation of wealth. By him clearly bringing out feelings that he had about the nursery, rather than the facts, the children had been handed over to riches and the veldt. Their source of assurance came only from the enjoyment of the expensive provisions that their parents had accorded them. They no longer vested their interest of being subject to their parents, but being manipulated by their selfish desires of enjoying the nursery as they wished. This was the root of all problems in the family. It is why Peter and Wendy’s deviance of values and discipline is notable. Rather than honoring their parent’s wishes, they operated on their own. The abandonment of parental responsibility had led the children to shift their love from Lydia and George to the nursery. Since the role of the nursery had been violated from its initial intent of studying the children’s behavior to making the children to have their way, David’s proposal to end this deviance was to have the nursery closed for good so as to be sure that everything would work out well.
In the text view, being in charge of a social institution such as a family requires a lot of care in terms of the rationality of decision making. One has to be sure and in control of his/her actions, weighing situations and ensuring that he/she is responsible for their consequences. This, unfortunately, has been sidelined by George, the family head. Whereas he was had advocated for the closure of the nursery, his steadfastness was feebly swayed into allowing the children back into the nursery. This grave mistake made him and Lydia end up dealing with the reality of failing to take control of the situation. Their children locked them up in the nursery, a clear indication that that their uncertainty had led them into a dungeon of suffering.
Being sure is a belief. Having certainty in one’s mind is what lead one to attain his/her would set goals. Whatever the strong conviction one has, it is important to hold on to it so as to make a decision that is not regrettable in the future. That is what is more important than being swayed by other people and make things worse in the name of buying happiness from the people who you would want to please by your compromises.
A little flexibility on the parents’ decisions is worth a plus for the sake of the children’s happiness and sanity, but compromising on a sure solution to a problem could be detrimental towards the realization of a better tomorrow for the children.
Bradbury, R., vintage, the Sunday evening post: New York. 1950.
Key 1: Topic sentence 5: Conscious discussion
2: Passage (sentence) 6: Subconscious discussion
3: Translation 7: Text view