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Describe the atmosphere that is created by the imagery in the first two paragraphs of...

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edenlover | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 20, 2010 at 9:55 PM via web

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Describe the atmosphere that is created by the imagery in the first two paragraphs of Of Mice and Men.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted October 21, 2010 at 8:48 AM (Answer #1)

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The first two paragraphs are very interesting in relation to the rest of the story, because they actually create a kind of peaceful, reflective atmosphere with the description of the physical beauty of nature. Consider the following quotes:

On the sandy bank under the trees the leaves lie deep and so crisp that a lizard makes a great skittering if he runs among them. Rabbits come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening, and the damp flats are covered with the night tracks of 'coons, and with the spread pads of dogs from the ranches, and with the split-wedge tracks of deer that come to drink in the dark.

Here we are presented with a scene of almost unspoilt nature as animals carry on with their natural activities and the lake serves as a source of refreshment for all animals in the vicinity.

The only mention of man is the path that is well-beaten through the location. It appears that this place of natural beauty is a source of comfort not just for animals but for man as well:

In front of the low horizontal limb of a giant sycamore there is an ash pile made by many fires; the limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it.

So many men have come to this location for relief and rest and reflection from their lives that the trunk has become smooth by all the men that have sat there.

Thus the first two paragraphs, by presenting us with a scene of unsullied natural beauty which is a source of refreshment for both man and beast, starts off in a very peaceful mood.

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beachgirl757 | eNoter

Posted October 11, 2011 at 12:42 AM (Answer #2)

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The first two paragraphs Of Mice and Men describe the countryside which serves as the setting for the novel.  There are adjectives that describe aesthetic and color such as "green hillside" and "golden foothills" and adjectives that describe sounds one might hear such as the "skittering" of a lizard.  The author indicates almost an ageless place where many humans and animals have traversed over the same land.  "Many boys", "many tramps", and "many men" have sought adventure, solace, comfort and warmth in this little cove of nature.  The atmosphere is pastoral and not urban. 

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