What is the tone of Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian"?

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The tone of Ray Bradbury's "The Pedestrian" is detached, lonely, and isolated. The tone of the short story conveys Bradbury's negative feelings towards over-reliance on technology, which separates humans from each other and adversely affects the way people socialize and interact with their natural environment.

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In literature, tone is referred to as the writer's attitude towards a subject or audience, which is conveyed through word choice or the viewpoint of the author. The manner in which the writer approaches the primary theme, or subject, of the story is considered the tone, which can be developed through the use of syntax, diction, imagery, and figurative language to convey emotions and feelings. In Ray Bradbury's short story "The Pedestrian," the tone is considered detached and lonely. Bradbury depicts a lonely, cold city, where Leonard Mead is the only human interacting with the natural environment as he walks down the barren streets. The vast majority of the population remains inside watching television.

Bradbury uses the words "alone," "silent," "empty," and "invisible" to create a detached, lonely tone, which underscores his feelings towards over-reliance on technology. In the story, Leonard Mead is an unemployed writer and outcast in a futuristic dystopian society. The vast majority of the population is consumed by mindless entertainment. The tone of loneliness and isolation conveys Bradbury's belief that technology can negatively influence the way humans interact with each other and their natural environment. The detached tone is also conveyed through the story's setting and the figurative language Bradbury utilizes. For example, the setting is desolate, barren, and abandoned. The imagery contributes to the ominous environment, which is like a "graveyard" or the "windless Arizona desert." Overall, the tone of Ray Bradbury's short story "The Pedestrian" is detached, lonely, and isolated.

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In a work of literature, tone refers to the author's attitude toward the subject he/she is writing about. It is the atmosphere that the author meant to put into the story. Authors develop the tone primarily through their word choice. Tone is distinguished from mood in that the mood conveys what the reader feels while reading a work of literature. 

In "The Pedestrian" by Ray Bradbury, the tone is one of loneliness. Bradbury is trying to portray the isolation felt by people in the year 2053. Because of technology, people are never outside. They are holed up in their own homes watching television, and they do not interact with others. In the opening paragraph, Bradbury sets the tone of loneliness through words like "silence," "alone," and "grassy seams of buckling concrete." The buckling concrete shows a lack of care and maintenance, and the word choice of "silence"—rare in a city—and "alone" set a tone of isolation. 

To enter out into the silence that was the city at eight o'clock of a misty evening in November, to put your feet upon that buckling concrete walk, to step over grassy seams and make your way, hands in pockets, through the silences, that was what Mr. Leonard Mead most dearly loved to do. He would stand upon the corner of an intersection and peer down long moonlit avenues of sidewalk in four directions, deciding which way to go, but it really made no difference; he was alone in this world of A.D. 2053, or as good as alone, and with a final decision made, a path selected, he would stride off, sending patterns of frosty air before him like the smoke of a cigar.

Further along in the story, Mr. Mead is stopped by a police car. Bradbury's word choice shows the lack of human interaction when he describes the "metallic voice" coming across the speakers, and, later, the "iron voice" from the police car. Mr. Mead discovers that there is no one in the police car, which furthers the idea that technology has isolated human beings from each other. Readers can infer that Bradbury sees technology as an enemy to human connection and interaction. 

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Ray Bradbury's tone in "The Pedestrian" is cautionary and foreboding. He has taken the reader one hundred years into the future and shown a world in which the machines control the humans. The machines that do the controlling in "The Pedestrian" are the television sets in every home and the robot police car which patrols the residential neighborhoods mainly to make sure that everybody is safe inside. 

Ray Bradbury is more of a fantasy writer than a science-fiction writer or a prophet. He does not seem to take his imaginary picture of the world of 2053 entirely seriously. Some sci-fi writers try to visualize the future with accuracy as well as credibility. But Bradbury never seems too concerned about predicting the actual truth. His pictures of the future seem zany and exaggerated. He has a special horror of technology, which is similar to that expressed by E. B. White in his humorous/serious/horror/sci-fi short story "The Door."

In Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451 he has a fire department that sets fires rather than putting them out. In his story "The Veldt," he has a fantastic futuristic house in which the children's playroom harbors real lions and other wild animals, or anything else the children want to imagine. And this technologically fantastic home could be purchased for $30,000! With all its accessories such a home should cost around a hundred-million dollars today, if such a house could ever be built. Bradbury is whimsical. He doesn't care about facts but about coming up with unusual and striking original ideas. He should not be taken too seriously. But he can always be read for pleasure and amusement.

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