The Pedestrian – Ray Bradbury

“The Pedestrian” is a short story written by Ray Bradbury. It is set in a futuristic time not too far from the present, 2053. The story follows a man who is unlike the people of the time, who sit at home watching screens and never experience the world. This man goes for a walk every night at 8 p.m and has down for 10 years. He wanders the streets for hours wondering what people are watching on their screens. On this particular night he is arrested by the police, “‘What are you doing out?’ ‘Walking,’ said Leonard Mead. ‘Walking!'” The police find it hard to believe that Leonard is out for a recreational stroll and arrest him.

Written in 1951 this short story held a particularly accurate prediction. “In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not once in all that time.” In this future time people are so caught up in their devices that they don’t even have time for walking, or don’t see it as a needful thing to do. I believe this relates to real life as the technology revolution is sweeping through. Technology has gotten to the point in everyday life that people can’t go five minutes without checking their phone. But not for just recreation, most of the learning in schools is done via technology or internet. It’s at the point where everyone has devices, most of the kids in my mum’s year six class at primary school have their own devices. I think Leonard, never seeing another human on his journey, also alludes to technology taking people away from the most important things in life. People are too caught up in the digital world that they don’t see the big picture of what is really important. I feel like Leonard is outside of the technological bubble and is looking down on the everyone else with wonder.

“Crime was ebbing; there was no need now for the police.” The police play an interesting role in this story.  Crime in this world is almost non-existent, I think this is due to the fact that no one is ‘out and about.’ No one thinks about committing crime because they are too caught up in their digital world. This is one part of the story which I disagree with. I do not believe that crime will ever be cured or ignored by people. Some people just have to ‘upset the norm.’ Leonard being pulled up by the police is an important event to put in the story. I think this shows how out of place he is, just walking down the street. The police don’t believe he could be walking for recreation, because it’s such a bizarre sight in these times.

One Reply to “The Pedestrian – Ray Bradbury”

  1. Billy, directly link some of the details you have discussed to the writer’s purpose, and how these messages impacted you directly – additional, relevant personal reflections are needed in this response overall. You may wish to discuss an additional aspect to extend your personal reflections.

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