English Portfolio, Belonging
The Pedestrian Ray Bradbury Source: Bradbury Short Stories 2003 In this story we follow the protagonist, a non-conformist individual through one of his everyday leisure’s and are shown how in a conformist society even the most harmless activity can and most likely will be punished by authority intent on imposing submission - English Portfolio, Belonging introduction. The story positions the reader to question the society Leonard Mead (the protagonist) lives in as the scenario’s he faces are unusual and different and in a sense cause the responder to evaluate their own life and their position in it.
There are particular scenes in this story of unfair behavior and discriminative acts that cause the reaser to become, involved making personal judgments as well as getting them to make relations to their own life. Normally, we view the shared values and behavior in a society as strength, creating belonging in the sense of a united society. However in this story the nature of the crime, and the severity of the punishment are so great that we are led to question and criticize the ideal. This story explores a sense of social belonging, where Leonard Mead the protagonist is different not by force but by choice.
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He does not wish to become a slave to technology as the rest of society does and is not concerned about what they possess and what he lacks creating a sense of individuality and happiness for Leonard Mead in his own little world. This is much like Skrzynecki’s poem “ Feliks Skrzynecki “ which is based upon the authors (Peter Skrzynecki) father Feliks Skrzynecki who is also not concerned about “keeping up with the Jones” because he to has found happiness in the social solitude of his own world in which he has created for himself.
He will do his own thing and embrace it just as Leonard Mead does in “The Pedestrian. ” There is similar scenes in both texts which illustrates the point of not belonging to a society where Feliks is mocked by the department clerk (a Crew cut gray haired man) for not speaking English, Leonard Mead is challenged by the robotic police officer and incarcerated. In both cases we can see the way small differences in individual behavior can be used to impose a sense of belonging, to enforce a superficial comfort and in the process lose the value of individuality.
Throughout the story Leonard never feels as though he doesn’t belong instead he feels that the technology of his time has somehow evolved the people in a way into mindless zombies doing the same thing at the same time night after night. This sense of routine behavior is now in control of their lives leaving the city with no crime anymore, shown by the usage of one automated police car in the whole city.
Leonard’s way of life makes him feel as though he does not completely belong to society but somehow he still does belong just in a different way, his perceptions of his own personal belonging have shifted as the story continues where is belonging in society is now being questioned. His personal choice to be different and not fully belong has now caused difficulties for Leonard where the authorities have created this barrier preventing the protagonist from belonging to the conformist society and instead removing him from it completely. By Mitchell Roxburgh