28 pages 56 minutes read

Ray Bradbury

The Pedestrian: A Fantasy in One Act

Fiction | Short Story | Adult | Published in 1951

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Story Analysis

Analysis: “The Pedestrian”

In “The Pedestrian,” Bradbury’s poetic style creates a stark contrast between the thoughtful protagonist and the controlled, robotic society he inhabits. The author uses this contrast to make his thematic cases about the dangers of social control and technology.

Beginning with the first line where he describes the city metaphorically as “silence,” Bradbury weaves the story with sensory detail, metaphors, and similes. He uses the phrase “gray phantoms” to describe the shadows of Leonard Mead’s neighbors inside their homes and writes that the protagonist’s lungs “blaze like a Christmas tree” when he inhales the chilly air (19). Since the story is told in third person limited perspective from Mead’s point of view, the narrative voice is aligned with Mead’s own thoughts and feelings, and these descriptions imply that Mead has a poetic mind and soul.

Bradbury’s use of language also gives the reader a sense of the joy that Mead takes in the simple pleasures of walking at night. He describes Mead’s “satisfaction” as he walks through the fall leaves and notes how the protagonist takes the time to examine the “skeletal pattern” of leaves.