What is the plot of the story "The Pedestrian"?  

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A writer who perceives technology's threats to the humanness of man, Ray Bradbury writes of the threats to individuality and imaginiation in "The Pedestrian." Here is a plot outline:

EXPOSITION  (Action is introduced, along with the protagonist)

Wearing sneakers so he will not be heard, Leonard Mead walks down abandoned and overgrown sidewalks at night, occasionally peering into dark windows and saying "hello" to the disengaged people inside watching their television sets.

RISING ACTION ( A complication, or problem, develops in which the protagonist meets opposition)

Leonard has an external conflict with society. He imagines that he is traversing a desert because he is alone, different, and apart from other people. He is careful to not make noise, because

dogs in intermittent squads would parallel his journey with barkings...and lights might click on and faces appear and an entire street be startled....

CLIMAX (The point of highest intensity)

Just as turns onto a side street to circle back to his house, a lone car "turned a corner quite suddenly and flashed a fierce white cone of light upon him." Leonard stops, stunned and strangely drawn to the light. A voice tells him to raise his hands; Leonard is amazed that it is the one, lone police car. He is asked his name, his business or profession. When he replies that he is a writer, the car says, "No profession" since almost no one reads anymore.  He is questioned further and told that he is under arrest because he has no wife to offer an alibi for his actions, and he is ordered to get into the car. Leonard demands to know where he is being taken; the car

gave a whirring click as if information... were dropping card by punch-slotted card under electric eyes."To the Psychiatric for Research for Regressive Tendencies." 


As the car rolls through the dark avenues, one house is well-lit, "every window a loud yellow illumination." Leonard cries out to the automated vehicle, "That's my house," but he receives no answer.

RESOLUTION (The moment when the conflicts end)

The car moves down the empty, silent streets where there is "no sound and no motion" through the remainder of the cold November night. The last man of imagination, Leonard Mead, is gone.