Symbolism Through the Short Story the Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

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Date Added: 08 / 25 / 2008
Category: English Literature
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Symbolism Through the Short Story the Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury

View Full Essay Symbolism through the Short Story The Pedestrian By Ray Bradbury

Since the turn of the century, new technology has slowly begun to create an anti-social and impersonal society. Take, for instance, the advancement of the entertainment industry; people's idea of a social night out is "going to the movies", where there is very limited social interaction. With the advancements of kitchen appliances, time is rarely spent with ones family in the kitchen whether it is to cook, wash dishes, or just socialize. Since online chat rooms and email, the use of the telephone has become almost obsolete, and people rarely meet face-to-face. When one thinks of how impersonal western civilization is today, try to imagine life fifty years from now. The short story "The Pedestrian", written by Ray Bradbury, is set fifty years from today. In "The Pedestrian" impersonality is shown to be the result of advancements in technology through the symbolic use if the empty police car, the empty streets and the continuous viewing of television.

Ray Bradbury expresses the negative impact of technology in "The Pedestrian" through the use of the empty police car. Leonard Mead is on his nightly walk and is approached by an empty police car, he is questioned about his walking and if he has reason to do it. After he tries to explain his reasoning for walking the police car orders him to get in, and informs him that he is going to be taken to a psychiatric ward.

"He put his hand to the door and peered into the back seat,
which was a little cell, a little black jail with bars. It smelled
It smelled of riveted steel. It smelled of harsh antiseptic; it
smelled too clean and hard and metallic. There was nothing
soft in there." (p157)
In this passage, Ray Bradbury uses many symbols to represent impersonality. The "little black jail with bars" shows hat the police car is a jail cell on wheels. The fact that it is black shows that a criminal or potential criminal is not given any chance for...