The Illustrated Man – Technology
The Illustrated Man is a collection of short stories ranging from lives in outer space to families living on Earth. All the stories tell of event in the future, but they are all different. Ray Bradbury’s unique stories all have an underlying theme of technology and the psychology of people. Bradbury predicts technology as good as well as bad. However, he mostly depicts technology as destructive because people are dependent on it and take it for granted. In the book, there is a short story, “The Veldt”, that describes users of technology in the future and their dependence on it.
The family lives in a home filled with machines that do everything for its owners. It is called the Happylife Home. The two children, Peter and Wendy, become fascinated with the nursery which connects to the children telepathically and projects what they imagine. They soon become attached to the room and replace their parents with the electronics. The parents realize the home is taking away from their lives since they are not living to the fullest. They decide to correct their way of life by leaving the home, but it’s too late because the children became addicted and attached.
Peter and Wendy kill their parents by locking them in the nursery and letting the machines kill them. Ray Bradbury predicts in the future, people will have luxuries of doing nothing at all because high tech electronics will replace them to do their work. It seems like the future makes peoples lives better because they are at ease and relaxing. However, it is actually wasting their lives away. They replace normal activities in life and even harm its owners. Despite the story being fiction, it can be related to the present and people’s dependency on electronics. The Veldt” is a very good example of technological changes that deplete peoples’ lives. Another story, “Marionettes Inc”, shows the bad side of technology changes, as well. “Marionettes Inc” begins when a husband, Brawling, orders himself a robot to replace him to perform his obligations while he has fun. The conflict starts when his duplicate robot expresses anger because Brawling tried to lock it away. The robot explains he is is in love with his wife and tries to stop Brawling from calling for help. Brawling hears his duplicate say, “Goodbye”: probably the last word he hears before he dies.
Brawling’s encounter with his robot shows that people take technological opportunities for granted by changing electronics to do wrong things for them. The creation of the robot allows Braling to escape from his unloving wife. While it seems like an innocent idea, it actually violates trust. Bradbury infers how people become lazy and irresponsible because of technology. People in the future rely on their android to solve their problems instead of using effort to find a solution . At the end, the character learns a lesson when the robot turns on him. Marionettes Inc” illustrates how technology affects people and causes them to be careless and immature. In “The City” the destructiveness of technology to humans is more apparent. A rocket from Earth lands on a planet with a large city on it. They begin to explore but soon realize the city wasn’t as empty as it seems. The city, designed by a dead civilization killed by human biological weapons, was waiting for them. It captures the astronauts and use the bodies to return to Earth and start a biological attack. A theme in this story is the abuse of technology. Humans used advanced weapons in their favor to kill off an entire race.
The city is a tool used for revenge and once it achieves its goal, it has nothing to do and dies. The city is an example of a corrupt way of using technology. It isn’t used as a home for people like a real city instead it destroys other’s homes. Ray Bradbury’s The Illustrated Man shows how technological advances skyrocket causing people to take them for granted and defile their purposes. Overall people’s lives become worse because they rely on technology and once it’s gone they will be undermined. We can learn from Ray Bradbury’s short stories by using technology in moderation and prevent it from becoming the center of our lives.