Leonard Mead will likely never walk the streets of his city again after his stay in the reeducation center.
The Pedestrian Leonard Mead does not fit well into his society. For one thing, walking the empty streets at night is what he “most dearly loved to do.” Everyone else stays inside watching television. Their houses are dark, their voices are silenced. He alone walks the streets at night, enjoying the uneasy peace of being the only person in the city willing to do so.
Walking the streets is safe because there is no crime. Everyone stays indoors. Unfortunately for Leonard, the downside to this is that walking around outside is suspicious behavior. When the city’s one police car finds him, he is doomed. He has no legitimate explanation for doing so. They can’t imagine walking for enjoyment.
"Just walking, Mr. Mead?"
"But you haven't explained for what
"I explained; for air, and to see, and just to
"Have you done this often?"
"Every night for years."
Leonard is taken to the “Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies,” because walking demonstrates regressive (backward) behavior. He does not fit in, therefore he is dangerous. It sounds like he is being taken away to be brainwashed.
Even if Leonard is released, he will never be the same. Once the doctors have gotten him, he will be just like everyone else. The story ends on an ominous note, with empty streets and a November night. Only Leonard’s house is warm and bright, but not for long.