Creating Atmosphere In The Pedestrian By Ray Bradbury

409 Words2 Pages

The short story by Ray Bradbury, “The Pedestrian”, exhibits a foreboding atmosphere which is reinforced by the author’s use and description of setting. This sets the scene for a cautionary tale about societal complacency and government control. The culture of this futuristic civilization is described as such: “Everything went on in the tomblike houses… ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, grey or multicolored light touching their faces, but never really touching them” (Bradbury 60). The last phrase, “but never really touching them,” could be taken to have several meanings. In one sense, the light never really touches them, meaning that it doesn’t really interact with them the way that people should interact with each other- rather, they mindlessly accept whatever the television says to them when …show more content…

The author suggests that the masses of society are kept contented with sufficiently cozy lives and amused with their fancy technology, and that because of this, change- and progress- will not occur. Mr. Mead’s lonely, peaceful walk is interrupted by the city’s one remaining police car: “A metallic voice called to him: ‘Stand still. Stay where you are! Don’t move!’… ‘Your hands up, or we’ll shoot!’” (Bradbury 59). The fact that the driverless vehicle had the full authority to stop and take the main character away displays a disembodied government which could silence any deviation from the norm, which it deemed “regressive”. Bradbury uses this to great effect to demonstrate how the overreach of the government can hinder the progression and betterment of society as a whole. The demands from the robotic car could also be taken as a metaphor: Humanity is no longer commanding technology, but being commanded by it, and because of this, humanity suffers. In this short story, the setting is used to create a world which showcases a city full of people who sit “like the

Open Document