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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Smart House

Amber Hatley
Blog 1
Option #1A

       After reading Ray Bradbury's "The Veldt," I immediately drew comparisons to the Disney Channel Movie "Smart House." Both deal with families living in futuristic homes, fully equipped with the latest technology that ultimately does everything for its inhabitants. In both stories, the children become dependent on the house, which begins taking on a maternal role. In "Smart House," the children lost their biological mother, so the house is literally carrying out the responsibilities of a mother, including making lunch, etc. Ben even tries to reprogram the home so that the home system, PAT, learns motherly roles. In "The Veldt," Peter and Wendy have become so accustomed to their technology, they no longer feel the need to perform things themselves. Their mother says "I feel like I don't belong here. The house is wife and mother now, and nursemaid," illustrating that the children rely more upon the house than their own parents (Oates, 267). The only difference between the two stories is that in "The Veldt," Peter and Wendy become so desensitized to technology that they ultimately kill their parents. In "Smart House," Ben and Angie realize a man-made computer system could never replace human interaction and end up shutting down the home. 

      The Gothic trope that appears in both stories is the sublime. In "The Veldt," the parents are awestruck and slightly afraid of the African landscape shown before them. They continue seeing small clues, such as George's wallet, yet they do nothing about it. In "Smart House," they begin seeing the house have a mind of its own, such as when Ben gets shocked on the doorknob for not putting a belt on. It isn't until the parents get locked into the nursery in "The Veldt" and when PAT forms into a real human image in "Smart House" that the inhabitants know it's too late. The characters from both stories are less threatened from afar, but when they came close to their suspicions, it became too real.

Bradbury, Ray. "The Veldt." American Gothic Tales. Ed. Joyce Carol Oates. New York: Plume, 1996. 264-277. Print.

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