What techniques or imagery does Ray Bradbury use in his short story "The Pedestrian," and how does the story link to the context of utopia?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One very effective example of imagery that Bradbury uses in this excellent short story is the description of those who, unlike Leonard Mead, his protagonist, are still inside at night. In this future dystopian world, people have become such slaves to their TV screens that nobody exits the house at night, and it is considered very strange to do so. Yet note how the people that Leonard Mead sees inside their houses as he walks at night are described:

Suddenly grey phantoms seemed to manifest upon inner room walls where a curtain was still undrawn against the night, or there were whisperings and murmurs where a window in a tomb-like building was still open.

Even though it is he who is considered odd and somewhat bizarre, the people who stay inside their houses are described as if they are dead, or at least ghostly phantoms. Note how the people he sees through the window are characterises as "grey phantoms" and the buildings in which they live are "tomb-like," emitting ghostly "whisperings and murmurs." The onomatopoeia in these words serves to create a supernatural, spooky feel. The irony is clear: whilst Leonard Mead is judged as being inhuman for wanting to walk at night, it is the rest of humans who have become less than human in reality for not wanting to go out and locking themselves in, to their "tomb-like" houses. This is an example of a dystopian text because it paints a perversion of a society where everything has gone wrong, and in exchange for technological advances, humans have sacrificed their own freedoms and identity.