He unlocked the door and opened it just before he

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He unlocked the door and opened it. Just before he stepped inside, he heard a faraway scream. And then another roar from the lions, which subsided quickly. He stepped into Africa. How many times in the last year had he opened this door and found Wonderland, Alice, the Mock Turtle, or Aladdin and his Magical Lamp, or Jack Pumpkin head of Oz, or Dr. Doolittle, or the cow jumping over a very real-appearing moon - all the delightful contraptions of a make-believe world? How often had he seen Pegasus flying in the sky ceiling, or seen fountains of red fireworks, or heard angel voices singing? But now, is yellow hot Africa, this bake oven with murder in the heat. Perhaps Lydia was right. Perhaps they needed a little vacation from the fantasy which was growing a bit too real for ten-year- old children. It was all right to exercise one's mind with gymnastic fantasies, but when the lively child mind settled on one pattern...? It seemed that, at a distance, for the past month, he had heard lions roaring, and smelled their strong odor seeping as far away as his study door. But, being busy, he had paid it no attention. George Hadley stood on the African grassland alone. The lions looked up from their feeding, watching him. The only flaw to the illusion was the open door through which he could see his wife, far down the dark hall, like a framed picture, eating her dinner abstractedly. “Go away,” he said to the lions. They did not go. He knew the principle of the room exactly. You sent out your thoughts. Whatever you thought would appear. “Let's have Aladdin and his lamp,” he snapped. The veldt land remained; the lions remained. “Come on, room! I demand Aladdin!” he said. Nothing happened. The lions mumbled in their baked pelts. “Aladdin!” He went back to dinner. “The fool room's out of order,” he said. “It won't respond.” “Or--" 7
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"Or what?" "Or it can't respond," said Lydia, "because the children have thought about Africa and lions and killing so many days that the room's in a rut." "Could be." "Or Peter's set it to remain that way." "Set it?" "He may have got into the machinery and fixed something." "Peter doesn't know machinery." "He's a wise one for ten. That IQ. of his -" "Nevertheless -" "Hello, Mom. Hello, Dad." The Hadley’s turned. Wendy and Peter were coming in the front door, cheeks like peppermint candy, eyes like bright blue agate marbles, and a smell of ozone on their jumpers from their trip in the helicopter. "You're just in time for supper," said both parents. "We're full of strawberry ice cream and hot dogs," said the children, holding hands. "But we'll sit and watch." 3. What was the parents’ and children’s perspective on the room in the beginning ? 8
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"Yes, come tell us about the nursery," said George Hadley.
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  • Fall '19
  • 2007 singles, 2005 singles, George Hadley, Mrs. George Hadley, Lydia Hadley

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