What is the theme of "The Pedestrian?"
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To me, the theme of this story is that TV (and I think technology in general) can destroy a society. I think that this is a fairly typical Bradbury theme and can also be seen in stories like "The Veldt."
In this society, human relations no longer exist and neither does freedom. Everyone always just stays home watching TV. Leonard Mead, for example, does not have the freedom to go out and do what he wants to do. He gets picked up by the police because he is not doing what is expected.
This shows that individuality has been pretty much destroyed by the prevalence of TV in this society.
Bradbury was predicting some of the ways we live now---a world where we spend most of our time watching television, or passively accepting whatever the media tells us, where real human contact and friendships are becoming things of the past. Technology should be used in our lives so it does not consume human emotions or limit our choices.
Ray Bradbury was clearly prescient about some of the looming problems of the future. His theme in "The Pedestrian" is that a society in which technology dominates lives leads to conformity, lack of imagination, and individualism. The lone individual, the writer who no longer has an audience, walks the streets alone, isolated from the homes that are dark inside except from the single light of televisions, "a loud yellow [the color of evil]illumination," which mesmerize the viewers into complacent, unthinking lives. Leonard Mead sneaks down sidewalks overgrown with weeds because of disuse, peaking around corners for the inanimate police car that picks up vagrants, asking no one "Are you there?" longing for human communication, the food of the heart of man.
Instead, he is halted just as he approaches his own house, told to raise his hands as though he is in the act of a crime. When Mead must admit that he has not written anything in some time (since no one reads), he is ordered into the car and the vehicle heads "To the Psychiatric for Research for Regressive Tendencies."
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