Ambience is the emotional tone that pervades a work of fiction. In "The Veldt" Bradbury sets up a tense, oppressive ambience in the story through his use of description and dialogue. He conveys the hot, oppressiveness of the African veldt through specific descriptive passages such as "The hot straw smell of lion grass, the cool green smell of the hidden water hole, the great rusty smell of animals, the smell of dust like a red paprika in the hot air." These descriptive passages create a sensory atmosphere and add to the sense of dread that pervades the story. The ambience lets the reader know that this is not a cheerful, happy comedy and that there is a good possibility that something terrible might happen.
Foreshadowing is a technique in which a writer drops hints about what is to happen later in a story. Bradbury uses this technique to hint at the fate of George and Lydia Hadley. While the two are lying in bed, they hear screams coming from the nursery, and Lydia comments, "Those screams-they sound familiar." Later, the reader realizes that the screams sound familiar to Lydia because they are actually her screams and those of her husband.
Science fiction deals with the impact of imagined science upon society or individuals. Science fiction stories are often set in the future, but they do not have to be. One of the generally accepted rules of science fiction is that the events which occur in a science fiction story must be plausible based upon current scientific understanding. Bradbury follows these principles in "The Veldt." At the time the story was written, television was becoming a major force in American family life. Bradbury postulated what might happen if the items on these screens could eventually cross over from the world of simulated reality to the world of reality.
A simile is a comparison of two objects using the term "like" or "as." Bradbury uses similes throughout "The Veldt" to heighten his descriptive passages. When Wendy and Peter return home Bradbury describes them as having "cheeks like peppermint candy, eyes like bright blue agate marbles." The similes here serve to emphasize the fact that these are two cute, energetic children who might be found in any typical middle-American family. Bradbury also uses similes to heighten the tension of the short story. For example, after George Hadley turns off the house, he writes, "It felt like a mechanical cemetery." This description provides a clear mental image for the reader and also underscores the themes of technology and death.
The technique of personification involves attributing human characteristics to things that are not human. Bradbury uses this technique to great effect throughout "The Veldt." He personifies the nursery and the house itself by attributing emotions to these inanimate objects, '''I don't imagine the room will like being turned off,' said the father. 'Nothing likes to die-even a room. I wonder if it hates me for wanting to switch it off?'" By turning the house into a living, breathing entity through personification, Bradbury heightens the tension and the threat. Now the parents are not only fighting their children, they are also pitted against a technological monster that is working to destroy them.
Point of View
The story is told from a third-person point of view which means the narrator does not directly take part in the story but reports the events to the reader. The narrator is closely aligned with the character of George Hadley, however. He follows George's movements throughout the house and does not usually break away to report on scenes in which George is not involved. The story only breaks this pattern at the end, when George and Lydia are already dead and the narrator continues to report on the scene between Wendy, Peter and David McClean.