The setting of The Pedestrian is on the streets, during one evening in November. The futuristic environment of 2053 is one in which technology has created realities in which people no longer interact with the outside world as freely as they used to do. The pedestrian walks as freely as he does because the world around him has become inwardly drawn. The setting that Bradbury constructs is one in which people remain inside, watching televisions and using technology to avoid interacting with the outside world. This lack of external contact is what makes the pedestrian so different and the source of police interest. The pedestrian, who says, “Hello, in there” to the homes in which people are avidly watching television, walks alone in this world.
The setting is one in which the pedestrian’s actions arouses police interest because he is breaking the norm, acting in an unconventional and thus, not controlled manner. The setting that is “empty, silent, and motionless” is reflective of a condition in which freedom is discouraged. It is one in which the pedestrian is a threat. This is where the setting assists in the development of the story’s themes.
Leonard Mead is the main character of ” The Pedestrian ”. In this story, Mr. Mead is arrested for and apprehended for regressive behavior because he was going for his traditional walk during the night. Mead is described as someone that has some sort of external conflict about this futuristic society. In other word to describe, Mr. Mead is old-fashioned. He does not have a TV and still takes a walk, which is not normal in this futuristic time setting. ” And you have a viewing screen (TV) in your house to see with”?Police car ” No ”Mr. Leonard Mead. He is very different from everyone else in the story’s society. Everyone else in society relies on technology for entertainment, but instead Mr. Mead finds his entertainment walking and his behavior is considered as regressive because he has reverted to the activities from the past, since no one has walked for years other than himself. He has never seen anyone or any other person walking like him even with during his many hours of walking. He also lives alone he doesn’t have a wife and also no children. Mr. Mead is also a former writer who is still interested in magazines and books even though in the story it says that magazines and books doesn’t sell due to the dominance of the TV. Apart from that, Mr. Mead imagines that he is crossing a desert because he is alone. He carefully walks in silence to avoid making noise, because dogs will disturb his journey by barking and lights might turn on and faces will appear.
The Pedestrian is a short horror science fiction story. The reader’s imagination plays a huge role in this story, according to the settings Mr. Mead lives in a very dark society and living with brainwashed people. The story also has few similes that tells us how it relates to death recurring constantly, ” through a graveyard ” and ” a tomb-like building ”, it tells how the people in this society is living, they sat like the dead and giving the impression of ruined, collapsing and damaged society that has taken over the old bright society that America had once.
The theme in this story is very important. You can find and explain so many different themes in this story, but the theme I personally think which is the most important is that we need to be more careful with the technology. Mr. Bradbury implicitly tells a message that technology is made to make our lives easier, but it actually also threatens our humanity. Technology appliances like TV, which separates human instead of bringing them together. It also seems like marriage in this story only exists for preservation of the human race. This story is a warning to everyone.
This essay will focus on the recent short story we read in class, “The Pedestrian” written by author Ray Bradbury. I will aim to examine various areas, but mainly the conflict between the individual protagonist, Leonard Mead, and the antagonist of society in general. Furthermore, I will look over various techniques used by the author and refer to aspects such as plot, characterisation, setting and language.
This short story commences with the main character, the individual, Leonard Mead. Mead extracted in this story as a non-conformist, went out for a walk every night. However, the night ended rather strangely resulting in an arrest by the police. The police imprisoned him for existing as a non-conformist and took him to the Psychiatric Centre for Research on Regressive Tendencies.
Leonard Mead, previously an author has no intention to be a non-conformist, he simply walks because he enjoys it. He is the Protagonist, where his opponent is society. Mead lives on his own, as he is not married and enjoys walking.
For example, Ray Bradbury comments that:-
“Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles and return only at midnight to his house”.
This quote helps us to emphasise the idea that Leonard Mead is an isolated character, leading a very different life from the rest of society, by walking out at night for the last ten years.
Author, Ray Bradbury elucidates the fact that Leonard Mead was not a villainous man by quoting:-
“For long ago he wisely changed to sneakers when strolling at night, because the dog in intermittent squads would parallel his journey with barkings if he wore hard heels, and lights might click on and faces appear and an entire street be startled by the passing of a lone figure, himself, in the early November evening”.
This quote highlights the fact that this character was a sympathetic and considerate person, who was out not to harm anyone. Yet, it also shows his unwillingness to be seen by others.
However, the first sign of conflict in this story approaches us. The following quote shows how critical Mead was towards the conformists and television.
“Whats up tonight, on channel four, channel seven and channel nine?”
Leonard Mead talked to the houses because he felt that he was more likely to get a response from them than the people inside. This proved society had lost the ability to communicate. This emphasises how critical Mead was towards people, and how television has taken over their life. He believes people in this city, of America have lost their ability to communicate or take part in different activities.
Furthermore, the next sign of conflict which Ray Bradbury makes references to are the various images which refer to death and decay. This short story was set in a city, in America, during the dark and deteriorated winter. The author continues this idea of death and decay by forming a number of images with metaphors in a row: such as “graveyards” and “scarab-beetles”. For example, this quote refers to images relating to graveyards:
“It was not unequal to walking through a graveyard where only the faintest glimmers of fire light appeared in flickers behind the windows”.
The quote mentioned above makes use of an extended metaphor, as it lists a number of metaphors used to describe the images of death and decay, which in this case is the graveyard. The purpose of this technique is to highlight, and show what the author is trying to tell the reader. Another good metaphor: “scarab-beetles” was also exploited by the author. This metaphor emphasised the overall shape of vehicles and the movements. For instance: cars appeared like beetles, which kept close together, and scurried around.
By contrast, the third sign of conflict occurs when Mead was detained by the police under suspicion for questioning. The police ask him various questions and are shocked that he leads a different life. The police car questions Leonard Mead with suspicion, for example:
“No profession’, said the police car in a metallic whisper”.
This showed that the profession which Mead thought he had (writer) was now non-existent in the year, 2053 A.D.
Perhaps, the main sign of conflict was the arrest of Mead, and the significance of the police car. Mead’s eventual arrest was for being a non-conformist and leading a different life. He was taken to the Psychiatric Centre for Research on Regressive Tendencies. This was a centre where scientists carried out tests on patients, as an attempt to change the individuals from non-conformists to conformists. In other words, for people who communicated or lived life as in the past. The police force in 2053 had been shortened from three cars to one, due to a decrease in crime rates, resulting from last years elections. The internal structure of the police car required no human form. The police cars totally comprised of advanced computer systems, allowing the car to communicate with people electronically. The inside of this car was like a little cell, or a little black jail with bars. The author comments the inside of the car as:
“It smelled of riveted steel”.
“It smelled of harsh antiseptic”.
“It smelled too clean and hard metallic”.
Ray Bradbury makes use of repetition in order to emphasise the fact the car smelled of assorted scents. The assorted scents within the car were important, because, it was unpleasant, clinical and did not really have a scent to identify it with.
In addition, the ending of this story indicated the last sign of conflict. I found the ending of this story pessimistic, as people should have the right to take a walk, after all no harm is being caused. I consider society to have won this conflict between the individual and society.
In conclusion, the short story; “The Pedestrian”, written by Ray Bradbury, allows the reader to infest upon the great detail of how living life in the year 2053 AD changes dramatically. The author makes immense use of various techniques such as similes, metaphors and repetition to address a point to the audience, the readers. Personally, I feel the message which Ray Bradbury tries to direct towards the reader is simply a warning that if society continues the way it is going, the results protrayed in this story could soon become reality. Therefore, Ray Bradbury tries to encourage the reader to change their way of life.