Describe the characters predicament and explain how it helps you understand a deeper theme.
A short story in which the main character is not in harmony with society is ‘The Pedestrian’ by Ray Bradbury. The story, written in 1950 is set in the future (2053 A.D), it serves as a commentary on an advancing society where technology has taken over and humans have regressed and become dehumanized. It is a thought provoking piece in which, at least in the beginning it seems the main character Leonard Mead is living in a utopian society. Throughout the story Bradbury emphasises the characters predicament and the characters discord with society by effective use of imagery and characterisation. Recognising the key incidents of the story gives the reader the opportunity to think of the thought processes behind the word choice used and identify the deeper theme which Bradbury is conveying.
Bradbury states that the story came about as a result of being stopped by a police car whilst walking home after an evening out. He was questioned by the police and asked why he and his dinner guest were outside, it was 10pm. Bradbury and his friend were told to make their way home they should not have been out at this time as the place was deserted. Provoked by the policeman, Bradbury returned home and penned The Pedestrian (www.youtube.com)
In the opening lines of the story Bradbury sets the scene, the year is 2053 A.D. immediately the reader is guided through the streets of an unknown city by Leonard Mead, he is characterized as a lone man taking an evening stroll. At first the reader is led to believe that all is as it should be. As Leonard makes his decision about which route he should take, the first glimpse that all is not well occurs when we hear that he is ‘alone in this world, or as good as alone’.
As he walks the street of the city, the reader is transported into a soulless