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In "The Pedestrian," the police officer takes Leonard Mead in for "regressive...

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berbs | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted May 31, 2011 at 12:13 PM via web

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In "The Pedestrian," the police officer takes Leonard Mead in for "regressive tendencies." What is meant by this?

Does this mean he is going back to what society used to be? Society had people that could think before. Now, people only watched television and are distracted.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 31, 2011 at 6:58 PM (Answer #1)

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I think you are moving towards the correct answer. The issue here is of course the way that Leonard Meed is different from everybody else in this police-state society, who appear to be happy staying indoors and watching TV. He has chosen to not be like them and to reject their lifestyle, even though clearly it puts him in danger. Note how the rest of the people in his world are described:

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 grey or multicoloured lights touching their faces, but never really touching them.

Because Leonard Meed does not want to stay in his "tomblike" house, watching his screen like "the dead," and because he wants to walk around at night "for air," when he has no reason to because of the air conditioner in his house, he is labelled as having "Regressive Tendencies." To put it bluntly, he doesn't fit in to this frightening dystopian world that Bradbury creates for us. If you don't fit in and you are not accepted, you are normally locked up, which is what happens here.

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