In "The Pedestrian" by 'Ray Bradbury, what commentary does the author make about television's role in society?
Within the narrative of "The Pedestrian," Ray Bradbury points to the progressive desensitization of people. For, they no longer interact with others in normal human relationships; instead, they sit cloistered in their houses in the dark of an evening with only the grey light from television sets that they watch silently and slavishly.
As the Pedestrian, the last remnant of a former society, walks through the town, he wears sneakers so that no one will hear him, because dogs would bark at him and:
...faces appear and an entire street be startled by the passing of a lone figure, himself, in the early November evening.
In fact, this knowledge of his walking later leads to his arrest as no one walks on the sidewalks or streets since the television sets have people mesmerized inside their homes. People do not talk to one another; they listen to the voices on the television shows; they vicariously experience life through viewing. Theirs is a passive, secondary position in life, taken from the grey shadows and "firefly light [that] appeared in flickers behind the windows" in the "viewing screens."
This is the progress of the year 2053, wrought by the televisions. It is the Pedestrian who is arrested and taken to the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies because he has not adjusted to modern life.