Comparing Usher II And The Pedestrian, By Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury is one of the most widely known science fiction authors of all time. Many of his works revolve around the central ideas of technology, dystopias, and censorship. Some of his most famous pieces, such as Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles, were written and published in the 1950’s during the climax of Cold War hysteria. During this time, the United States government censored books and other literature to calm the public and eliminate pro-communist writings. This time period not only shaped who Bradbury was, but it also deeply influenced his stories. His bold stories during this time clearly and effectively fight the idea that censorship is necessary. In his works “Usher II,” “The Exiles,” and “The Pedestrian,” Ray Bradbury…show more content…
William Stendahl, the protagonist of the story, is a man who has felt the affect of censorship firsthand. While the government in this time period tries to establish normalcy through book burning, Stendahl chooses to resist by leaving Earth altogether. He leaves Earth to go to Mars, so that he can “get away from… Clean-Minded people.” The “Clean-Minded” people on Earth are unwilling or unable to stand up against government censorship of books, and are thus described as complacent or brainwashed. Bradbury uses this juxtaposition to show the sharp contrast between Stendhal and the rest of humanity. This characterizes Stendhal as isolated, yet brave for standing up for his beliefs. With his use of characterization, Bradbury creates Stendahl as a bitter and angry man; a man who has experienced loss. After a government censor has come to dismantle his house in Mars, Stendahl exclaims, “We had our libraries, a few private citizens, until you sent your men around with torches and incinerators and tore my fifty thousand books up and burned them!” In this single outburst, Bradbury establishes Stendahl’s backstory and reveals literary censorship as the main problem in the story. In this time, books are outlawed and burned to prevent people like Stendahl from reading them. This shocking reality is what Bradbury warns could happen if censorship goes too
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