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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

The World the Children Made

Chris Ganson
Blog #1, Option 1A
September 3, 2013
Gothic Literature and Culture

The World the Children Made

     One of my favorite Disney movies growing up was Smart House. In the Disney Channel Original Movie, Smart House, Ben wins a computerized home of the future that is automated and controlled by a maid named PAT or Personal Applied Technology. PAT can do everything from cooking the family meals to even cleaning up the house after a party. Ben tries to reprogram PAT to be more of a motherly figure since his mother passed away. Eventually, the family starts to resent PAT because of her changing personality. PAT ends up locking down and trapping the family in the house in order to protect them from the dangers of the outside world. Ben is able to shut down PAT and end the lock down by convincing PAT that she is not a real human. 
  The Disney Movie Smart House has some striking similarities to Ray Bradbury’s short story The Veldt. In The Veldt the children, Peter and Wendy, rely on technology, to the point of dependance, in order to do simple everyday tasks like tying your shoe or brush their teeth. "Would I have to tie my own shoes instead of letting the shoe tier do it? And brush my own teeth and comb my hair and give myself a bath?" (Bradbury 272). This is similar to Smart House when Ben and his sister depend on PAT to pick out their clothes for school or make breakfast for them. 
  The Uncanny is a gothic motif that is found in both Smart House and The Veldt. Both stories give lifelike characteristics to inanimate objects. In The Veldt the children play in a nursery that brings images to life. The images of the lions are so lifelike a real that they scare Lydia, the mom, out of the room. Even the father states “They look real, i must admit - Africa in your parlor - but its all dimensional, super-reactionary, supersensitive color film and mental tape film behind glass screens.” (Bradbury 266). The same motif can be found in Smart House. In the movie PAT, the computerized maid, takes on the role and appearance of Ben’s mom. The two stories may very different plots but they share a lot of the same motifs and reoccurring themes. 

Bradbury, Ray. “The Veldt.” American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: The Penguin  Group. 264-277.      Print.

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