What's the author's message in "The Pedestrian"?

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"The Pedestrian," which was the inspiration for Fahrenheit 451, is a cautionary short story warning its readers not to allow technology to run out of control. In the dystopic world depicted in the tale, it is considered a very bizarre act for a person to take a walk in the open air.

When the pedestrian, Leonard Mead, does take walks, he is alone outside, watching the flickering of television screens within houses, which is where the rest of his society stays. His walking spots are not always pleasant. For example, he wanders at night to a "cloverleaf intersection" near where two highways cross his town. During the day, this intersection is thunderous with the noise of speeding traffic, but at night, it is empty, desolate, and deserted.

Mead is arrested and sent to a mental institution simply for walking around outside at night. He is assigned to a "Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies."

Bradbury's message is that too much technology can warp a society's perceptions so much that simple, natural activities, such as taking a walk, are seen as signs of insanity. He wants us to be sure this doesn't happen in our own reality.

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