What was the conflict in "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury? 

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poetrymfa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ray Bradbury's short story "The Pedestrian" focuses on Leonard Mead, a citizen of the futuristic world of 2053 in which people exclusively watch television for entertainment. Over the past ten years, Mead has spent his time walking the empty streets, never encountering another human being there. We learn that he is a writer whose job has been made irrelevant by televisions because no one reads books or magazines anymore. 

Mead is stopped by a police car—the single police car in a city of three million people—and because the car does not understand why he would be walking around rather than watching television like the rest of the population, he is detained and brought to the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies. 

The conflict of this short story is between Mead's desire to retain his "old" interests and principles (reading, writing, and existing in the world fully) and the world's agenda to eliminate these things and replace them with non-human things (like television programming). This is a classic tale of man versus society. 

jeffclark eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In his story The Pedestrian, Ray Bradbury continues to express his fears of humanity losing its "human-ness" in the future. This is a strong element in all of his stories.

One element required for this fear to become a reality is the loss of individuality. "The group" is always right. "The group" sets all of the standards. "The group" has the authority. "The group" will not tolerate deviation from its methods and preferences.

In The Pedestrian, Leonard Meade is different. Everyone else sits at home at night and watches TV, Leonard takes a walk. Everyone else prefers electronic entertainment, Leonard is an author. Leonard, because of his individuality which is what makes him "human", is one of the biggest threats to "The group". Therefore, on this last walk he is detained, arrested and removed.

The conflict is between Leonard and "The group". Between an individual and society.

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