Describe the atmosphere and the environment in "The Pedestrian."  

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In a literary work, atmosphere is the feeling that a particular location inspires.

In the short story "The Pedestrian," the atmosphere that is generated is one of estrangement and lifelessness. In the exposition of this story, Leonard Mead sets out on his nightly walk through uninhabited streets that are "silent," "long and empty," with only "his shadow to be seen."

If he closed his eyes and stood very still, frozen, he could imagine himself upon the center of a plain, a wintry, windless Arizona desert with no house in a thousand miles and only dry river beds, the street for company.

As Leonard continues this walk, he never encounters a single person on the sidewalks that he traverses. When he peers inside the lightless houses, Leonard knows that the occupants are sitting before their television sets in the dark, mindlessly watching some program. Leonard talks to them, but they do not hear; he is isolated from these desensitized people whose thoughts are but mirrors for some inane personage on a television program.

Throughout the narrative, words such as gray, silent, tomb-like, ill-lit, iron, and empty serve to connote the isolation of Leonard Mead and create the mood and atmosphere of isolation and loneliness in the story.  

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The setting of “The Pedestrian” by Ray Bradbury takes place in a large city of three million people in the year 2053.  Leonard Mead, the protagonist, is alone walking the streets of the deserted town to “get some air” and just to enjoy the exercise and sites.  There are no other pedestrians because, in this society, everyone spends their time watching TV in their homes.  Bradbury sets up an atmosphere of loneliness and isolation for Meade as he walks the streets.  It is nighttime, and all the houses and buildings are dark because people are like zombies watching TV.  When Mead is arrested for being a pedestrian and not having a job or wife (that would explain why he is walking), the only police car in the city drives by his house that is brightly illuminated, a symbol that he is different from other residents. 

Bradbury sets up the mood and environment with his use of descriptions and words like “dark”, “lonely”, and “silent” to convey the message of how this society has regressed into isolation and is controlled by its need for constant entertainment.  He describes the streets and homes as a “graveyard” with “phantoms” in their homes.  This theme of mindless existence by a society who has forgotten how to live life runs through many of Bradbury’s stories.

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