The Pedestrian Summary, Theme by Ray Bradbury
The Pedestrian Summary
“The Pedestrian” is short story which can be tagged as a science fiction, written by Ray Bradbury. This story takes us to an imaginary world of 2053, that describes one night in the life of Leonard Mead, the protagonist, who is a resident of an unnamed city in the year 2053.
Mead enjoys walking the city streets alone every night. As he walks the empty streets, he passes the homes of other citizens, who are surprisingly inside every day, watching television for hours. It is a very strange habit of those common people who do not do anything except this.
Leonard has been doing this strolling for ten years and never encountered another person, since all the other people remain inside their homes, mesmerized by the light entertainment programs on their television screens.
The other citizens are described as if they are dead: “gray phantoms” living in “tombs.” While walking, Mead enjoys taking in the sights, sounds, and smells of the natural world. He also talks to himself, addressing the people in the homes, asking under his breath what they are watching on television.
Once, on a specific night, however, Mead meets a robotic police car the only one left in the city, since crime is virtually nonexistent as no one has the need or wish to do anything else except watching television. The car interrogates Mead, trying to discover why he is out by himself. This questioning reveals that Mead is nonconformist in many ways: he doesn’t own a television; he is unmarried and lives alone.
He is also a writer in a society that does not even value the written word. Upon revealing the depth of Mead’s nonconformity, the car instructs Mead get in and informs him he is being taken to a psychiatric institution because he is suspected to have regressive tendencies that need to be studied for. The car then drives away with Mead inside. The story ends here, leaving the readers wonder, what could have happened then with Leonard Mead.
The Pedestrian About the Author Ray Bradbury
Ray Douglas Bradbury known for American science fiction author. Ray Douglas Bradbury was born Ray Douglas Bradbury on August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, Illinois. He was the third son in the family. His father, Leonard Spaulding Bradbury, was a telephone lineman and technician. His mother, Esther Marie Bradbury (nee Moberg), was a Swedish immigrant. His family settled in Los Angeles, California.
There, young Bradbury often roller-skated through Hollywood, trying to spot celebrities. He attended Los Angeles High School, where he was involved in the drama club. He graduated from high school in 1938 and had no more formal education. He learned from reading works of such writers as Lev Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky, among others.
From 1938-1942, he was selling newspapers on the streets of Los Angeles, spending days in the local library and nights at the typewriter. At that time, he published his stories in fanzines. In 1941, he became a paid writer when the pulp magazine Science Stories published his short story, titled “Pendulum”, and he was a full-time writer by the end of 1942.
His first book – “Dark Carnival” – was a collection of stories published in 1947. That same year, he married Marguerite McClure. Maggie, as she was affectionately called, was the only woman Bradbury ever dated. They had four daughters.
Ray Bradbury shot to international fame after publication of “The Martian Chronicles” in 1950, a collection of short stories partially based on ideas from ancient Greek and Roman mythology. The film adaptation by director Frangois Truffaut, starring Julie Christie, received several nominations.
His other novels and stories also have been adapted to films and television, as well as for radio, theatre and comic books. Bradbury had written episodes for Alfred Hitchcock’s television series, as well as for many other television productions. His total literary output is close to 600 short stories, more than 30 books and numerous poems and plays. He was writing daily.
In 2004, Bradbury received a National Medal of Aits. The Apollo 15 astronauts named an impact crater on the moon “Dandelion Crater”, after his novel, “Dandelion Wine”. He also received the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from Science Fiction Writers of America, an Emmy Award for his work as a writer on “The Halloween Tree”, and many other awards and honors. Ray Bradbury died on June 6, 2012, at the age of 91, in Los Angeles, California.
The Pedestrian Theme
The short story “The Pedestrian” is called is one of the best creations of Ray Bradbury where a fictional world of 2053 is portrayed. In this story, the protagonist, Leonard Mead shows that though he lives a very normal and usual life, he is tagged as a not so normal person with unusual habits.
In this story, Leonard is seen strolling every night in the city where every person, except him is busy spending their precious time idly and meaninglessly, in front of the TV for hours The people of the city do not care about anything else except watching TV.
Leonard has been doing this strolling for ten years and never encountered another person, since all the other people remain inside their homes, mesmerized by the light entertainment programs on their television screens. But Leonard’s strolling gets interrupted by a police car one day. The robotic voice from the car interrogates him, trying to discover why he is out by himself.
And in that process, the voice finds him suspicious and instructs him to get inside the car. Though he does not appear to have committed a crime, his apparently unusual behaviour leads the police to take him off to a course of psychological reprogramming, to turn him into a mindless person like the other inhabitants of the city, because, to them, that is a very much normal and civilised way to lead life. The story ends abruptly, leaving the readers imagine, the future consequences.
The Pedestrian Title of the Story
The story “The Pedestrian” is about a pedestrian named Leonard Mead and his experiences while he does his evening walk in a city of 2053. While walking, he sees no one outside as everyone is busy in enjoying the meaningless shows on their television and he keeps on witnessing this same scenario each evening. No one has the least energy to go outside so Leonard enjoys his solitary walk while talking to himself sometimes.
The author, Ray Bradbury depicts the beauty of the outside world, i.e. the road, the nature and the environment and others in a picturesque way. Leonard is unmarried and he does not even have a, television, unlike others. He thinks, nobody wants him so he takes his walk alone and in mind, searches for company. His sudden meet with a police car one day, becomes somehow perilous to him as the robotic voice coming from the car, founds him guilty for roaming around and not watch a TV.
Though he tries to explain that he has to bad intentions and he just walks every evening and returns home at night, the robotic voice does not believe him and this orders him to get in the car. The car passes his house and takes him to a psychiatric centre because the robotic voice doubts his mental stability and thus it thinks that he needs some treatment for having regressive tendencies.
The story ends there abruptly without giving a hint of what would happen to Leonard, next. So throughout the story, he is depicted as a perfect pedestrian who has no other intentions except walking. He just loves to walk and enjoy the beauty outside though this habit leads him to a difficult path eventually. Thus it can be said that the title of this story is apt.
The Pedestrian About the Story
The short story ‘The Pedestrian’, written by Ray Bradbury, is actually a science fiction that talks about a night in the life of Leonard Mead who is a resident of an unnamed city of 2053. He is the protagonist of the story who enjoys walking in the city alone at every night.
The experience he gathers is insightful and strange as well. In this story, Ray, through his characterisation and imagery shows us that if mankind reaches the point where the society could lose its humanity, then it nuight stop to exist as well.
The Pedestrian Setting of the Story
The story “The Pedestrian” is one of the marvellous creations of Ray Bradbury where he portrays a man named Leonard Mead who goes for a walk every evening alone because he has no one to give him company. Everyone remains busy in watching television inside the house and do not have any intention to get out and enjoy the beauty of the natural environment.
But eventually this habit of his leads him to a difficult path. A police car stops him and though he triés to explain that he has no evil intention, the robotic voice coming from the police car forces him to get inside. The car passes his house and takes him to a psychiatric centre because the robotic voice doubts his mental stability and thus it thinks that he needs some treatment for having regressive tendencies.
The story is purely set in a street of a city. The story begins there, proceeds there and ends there abruptly. There is no other spot mentioned where the story proceeds further. After going through the story, it can be said this setting chose by the writer, is perfect for the plot of the story. There could not be anything better.
The Pedestrian Main Points to Remember
- This story is set in a world of the future where people sit idly and passively in front of their TV every evening.
- This short story takes us to 2053 where a man named Leonard Mead strolls the city alone every night. He is the one in the city who, unlike others, refuses to do so and does not even own a television.
- As the goes on, the readers come to know that spending hours and hours in front of the television
has become not only common or normal but also, in effect, the law.
- Meanwhile, Leonard meets with a police car and after a brief interview, he is ordered to hop in the car, at the back.
- Leonard comes to know that the car is empty and voice that was speaking to him was automated. The car takes him with it because his intention of walking at night alone, turns out suspicious.
- Once he is inside the car, he is informed that he is taken to a psychiatric centre that researches “Regressive Tendencies.”
- Though he is driven past his home, the police car refuses to stop.
The Pedestrian Annotations and Vocabulary
Grassy — Covered with grass
Intersection — An occasion when two lines cross, or the place where this happens
Unequal — different in size, level, amount, etc.
Graveyard — A place, often next to a church, where dead people are buried
Whispered — to speak very quietly, using the breath but not the voice
Hawk — A type of large bird that catches small birds and animals for food
Murmur — To speak or say something very quietly
Stumbled — To step awkwardly while walking or running and fall.
Cloverleaf — A connection between two roads consisting of four smaller
Illumination — lighting or light
Incredible — impossible to believe or extraordinary
Specimen — something shown or examined as an example
Tomblike — monument for housing or commemorating a dead person
Air conditioner — a machine that keeps the air in a building cool
Peer — To look carefully or with difficulty
Surge — A sudden and great increase
Thunderous — extremely loud
Phantoms — a spirit of a dead person believed by some to visit the living as a pale, almost transparent form of a person, animal, or other object
Manifest — To show something clearly, through signs or actions
Blaze — To burn brightly and strongly