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Dystopian Conformity: An Analysis of The Pedestrian by Anit and Akil

About the Authors


Anit has read many books over the course of elementary school and middle school and prefers fantasies and fictional novels including the Harry Potter series, The Percy Jackson series and The Heroes of Olympus series. Anit enjoys playing soccer and chess. Anit enjoyed writing this essay and was fascinated by the inner works and hidden themes and connections woven through Bradbury's language.


Hello, I am Akil. My hobbies are playing soccer and practicing/working on mathematics. Something that I have learned by accomplishing this assignment is how connected pieces in an essay are. If one part of an essay is different from the other, the whole essay would be messed up. Some connections that I found from this essay is how I feel great when a whole essay is completed to the best of my ability because there is no better feeling than the satisfaction of completing an essay.

Dystopian Conformity: An Analysis of The Pedestrian

by Anit and Akil

In the Pedestrian, a man named Leonard Mead, lives in the year 2053. He likes to walk at night around town. In this plot, he is described walking around the society and encounters the only police robot car driving around town. The police car asks Mead a series of questions. Mead’s responses make him a suspicious person to the robot police car, and he is taken away to a mental psychiatric center due to his actions. The act of dehumanization is how people are forced to do acts that seem to be illegal for humans to go through. Ray Bradbury’s short story, "The Pedestrian" demonstrates that humans who do not conform may be dehumanized and ultimately removed from authoritarian governments.

At the outset of the story, the narrator describes Mr. Mead’s perspective during his nightly walks as cold and dark: “And on his way he would see the cottages and homes with their dark windows, and it was not unequal to walking through a graveyard where only the faintest glimmers of firefly light appeared in flickers behind the windows” (Bradbury 1). Leonard would walk and see no life in houses, no light, just the dark and gloomy night. There is no significance of the other people in Mead’s society. Later on in the story, however, the narrator describes Leonard Mead’s house, “They passed one house on one street a moment later, one house in an entire city of houses that were dark, but this one particular house had all of its electric lights brightly lit, every window a loud yellow illumination, square and warm in the cool darkness”(Bradbury 2). Leonard’s house being the only house in the whole city of 3 million that was brimming with lights, revealing he is different than the 3 million other people in the city. This also serves as a symbolic phrase; it symbolizes Leonard as the house full with lights and the rest of the people in the society to be the houses with no lights. It shows that Leonard is the one different from the others and the only one thinking differently than others. The only one in a better condition than others.

After being interrogated, Mr. Leonard Mead felt uncomfortable with how life was in 2053. Everything had been solely relied on technology, and he was the only person on the streets. Life was so different that police were now taken over as robotic cars. Mr. Leonard Mead sees, “Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now, he thought, continuing his fancy. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them,”(Bradbury 2). When Mr. Leonard Mead says “the people sat like the dead”, this makes the reader infer that people were so glued onto their screens that life was going to be different in a bad way that is bad for human’s health. Also, when the narrator writes “multicolored lights touching their faces, but never really touching them”, it makes the reader conclude that Ray Bradbury wrote this line to emphasize how the technology is pulling their minds and causing addiction. Another example that suggests this is “They passed one house on one street a moment later, one house in an entire city of houses that were dark, but this one particular house had all of its electric lights brightly lit, every window a loud yellow illumination, square and warm in the cool darkness,”. This shows how different he is towards society and how the author emphasizes that technology will control humans in a matter of a few decades.

Before entering the police car, the robotic AI responds to Mr. Mead by sending him “To the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies” (Bradbury 2). After being arrested, the computer police car asks a few questions to Mr. Mead before sentencing him to the psychiatric hospital, "’Where are you taking me’… ‘To the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies’"(Bradbury 2). When Mr. Mead asks the police officer about his future with desperation, helping the reader infer just how his unique way of living in 2053 sparked his horrible future to unravel. With all of this going on, his personality does not fit the lifestyle of 2053. He is interrogated, arrested, and removed from a society threatened by his independence.

In the Pedestrian, the society of 2053 serves as a backdrop to convey government control through a plot of a technologically advanced, lonely society. Leonard Mead shows the dehumanizing outcomes an individual endures when they deviate from societal expectations and powerful government control, leading to their unrecognized character being forced to change or disappear. Leonard Mead is arrested by a robot, this occurred because of the people in this dystopia. The dystopia is created by the authoritarian government, which demands absolute control. The government acts like this because of psychological fear of their own citizens. The government fears the people of the city because when they unite, they are stronger than any authority. In this case the government controls the citizens and acts as a group of dictators. The government feels like the people may turn on them and rebel. Their fears are resolved through misuses of technology like the robot AI car to spread distress among the residents of the city and take an advantage over them. Their use of technology to use against the will of the citizens with the goal of maximizing power and safety is a misuse which is a major factor in creating the dystopia. The dehumanizing feel of the vehicle which arrested Mead is exactly the intention of the government; their goal is to maintain their strength and make others feel inhumane and weak. Weak enough to not rebel and live in fear. The government uses propaganda to spread terror among the citizens, wanting to be strong and take control of them.. In this novel, the strength starts from a unique man named Leonard Mead. If everyone was like him, a dystopia like this wouldn’t have ever existed.

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