The society in which the protagonist of The Pedestrian resides can best be categorized as dystopian totalitarian. Bradbury, whose later novel Fahrenheit 451 provided one of literature's more compelling depictions of a futuristic dystopian society, in The Pedestrian provides hints of what was to come. Leonard Mead is something of an anachronism in the society depicted in this story. Unlike all of his neighbors and, presumably, most if not all of the city's three million people, Mead remains very much a gregarious individual, longing for human interaction outside the walls of his brightly lit home. The mere fact that his home is brightly lit, in fact, sets him apart from all others. Leonard is fond of walking at night, during which jaunts he gazes at the "cottages and homes with their dark windows." The occupants of those houses, Mead knows, are fixated on their televisions to the exclusion of all else. As The Pedestrian continues, Leonard is clearly an anomaly, whispering to the houses he passes on his walks as if expecting these inanimate structures to respond because he knows the occupants inside will not.
During much of Bradbury's story, the reader learns that this desolation despite the enormity of the city is the norm in the future depicted. Much worse are the intimations of a thoroughly autocratic regime that begin to emerge with the introduction of the city's lone police vehicle, the other such vehicles discarded due to the absence of crime--itself an ironic but accurate suggestion of the "beneficial" aspects of living in a repressive society. Mead's interrogation by the "police voice" suggests such an environment in which freedoms of thought, assembly, and speech have long been discarded in favor of passivity and security--again, themes that would characterize Fahrenheit 451 upon publication two years after The Pedestrian. The final indication that this is the type of society in which Leonard Mead lives is the police response to his request as to where "they" are taking him: the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies. Totalitarian regimes are well-known, especially the former Soviet Union, for interpreting nonconformist tendencies as indications of mental illness; to whit, only an insane person would question the dictates of an all-powerful regime. And such regimes are equally well-known for using all means of mass communication to reinforce the message that utopia exists and that resistance to that utopia is futile. That all of this city's citizens sit passively in front of their television sets rather than engaging each other is a testament to that sentiment.