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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Character Analysis

Mr. Leonard Mead

Leonard Mead, the protagonist of “The Pedestrian,” is an unmarried writer who likes to take walks at night through his city. He is a round character who drives the narrative by standing in stark contrast to nearly everything that his society expects.

In his society, people are expected to drive to work and then return to their air-conditioned homes to watch mindless entertainment on their “viewing screens” with their families. Mead does none of these things. He walks outside at night when everyone else is at home, observes the world outside, and notices the empty repetition of the content that entrances his neighbors. Further contravening social norms, Mead doesn’t have a viewing screen, and he is not married. Even his profession is a rebellion against the expectations of his world: At a time when no one buys books or magazines, he describes himself as a writer, even though he doesn’t write anymore. Being a writer is so unusual in this society that the robot policeman sneers at it. The common thread in Mead’s unconventional choices is that he thinks, reflects, and feels. Meanwhile, his fellow citizens are portrayed as mindless automatons.