Summary and Analysis of The pedestrian – short story by Ray Bradbury – Best Sample Analysis (2022)

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Summary and Analysis of The pedestrian – short story by Ray Bradbury

In his short story, “The Pedestrian,” Bradbury narrates a futuristic story in which technology is highly advanced, and the entire population is controlled by it. In the story, Mr. Leonard Mead, who is the main character, encounters various peculiar experiences during his night walks in this technology-tamed futuristic community. For years, Mr. Mead had been strolling out in the streets to catch fresh air before returning to his home.

Occasionally, his night walks would last for hours from eight in the evening till midnight. The strangest thing, however, was the loneliness in the streets and the entire neighborhood. The roads were often deserted as no one within the city ever walked but stayed in their unlit houses with eyes glued to their televisions that shed grey-like light upon their faces.

On his particular day, however, the only police patrol car caught him in the dark all alone, and he wondered how possible that could be. It was the only police car in the city since the need for security patrols had significantly reduced because the crime rate had already been minimized by technology.

The vehicle, empty with no driver and speaking with a robotic voice, interrogated him and had him taken to custody at the psychiatry center for loitering aimlessly in the streets, which is illegal. Essentially, predicted in this story is a futuristic society in which technology has managed to disregard ways of the past perceived as abnormal, outdated, and regressive.

The author has repeatedly linked various scenes in the story to a graveyard due to their peculiarity. First, the quiet, lonely, and dark neighborhood resembled the typical graveyard where only fireflies lit the air with their dim lights flashing in the dark. The houses that stood quiet and seemingly unoccupied felt like tombs. Often, Mead would hear mumbles from the houses adjacent to the walkways, but on listening closely, the voices would fade away and become inaudible.

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Summary and Analysis of The pedestrian
Summary and Analysis of The pedestrian

Sometimes, he would see grey lights flickering through the windows of the dark unlit houses in the neighborhood. The flickering grey lights, in this case, represent the spiritual insinuation that spirits can turn off lights and take control of the dark. This description resonates because this neighborhood is linked to a graveyard with houses silent like tombs. It is these peculiarities that define the culture of Mr. Mead in this seemingly new world.

The first idea in this narrative pertinent to the modern world is how the past cultures are discredited. As narrated, the purported new world is controlled with technology where the system monitors people. In this case, the system has managed to reduce criminal cases by, most importantly, immobilizing them. Similarly, in contemporary society, recent technological advancements have seen the awakening of advanced cameras like CCTVs that track and record criminal occurrences, which assist in tracing bandits.

This is evident in the story, where Mead is caught and put in custody by the only existing car in the city – absurd. Additionally, the normalcy of life and socialization freedom is frozen, just like the recent technologies promote working from home jobs that limit movements and socialization amongst a majority globally. Today, even businesses have advanced, and the drop shipping companies have simplified life by making home deliveries for a product, which further immobilizes people and reduces socialization.

It is an indisputable fact that the future society shall resemble the one narrated in this story where technology determines people’s lifestyles. The future is predictably technology-dependent regarding how people tend to embrace fresh technological innovations. For instance, the introduction and development of robots and artificial intelligence (AI) shall simplify life in the future. People will have no reason to connect with the outside world as duties and responsibilities shall have been sorted by robots and AI.

Few lucky ones will have jobs of monitoring day-to-day life with their phones and computers from the comfort of their living rooms. The rest who shall be leading purposeless lives shall remain glued to their television programs all day to keep them entertained, as illustrated in the narrative. Therefore, it is accurate to mention that Bradbury must have been correct to picture his story in 2053. 

Reference – Summary and Analysis of The pedestrian – short story by Ray Bradbury

Bradbury, R. (1951). The pedestrian. Samuel French, Inc. Retrieved from:

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