What is the atmosphere of the opening paragraph Of Mice and Men? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The clearing outside of Soledad has an atmosphere of solitude and loneliness, of quiet, and of the sweetness of nature.

The opening paragraph atmosphere illustrates a solitary place in nature that offers warmth and sunlight: "water is warm too, ... twinkling over the yellow sands in the sunlight." The atmosphere rich in the peaceful lure of nature is broken by the symbolic introduction of "flooding," "mottled" sycamores, lizards, "skittering," and deer drinking in the "dark."

These symbolic interruptions of the opening paragraph atmosphere of quietude in nature pave the way for the introduction of boys and men in the second paragraph who beat nature down hard (symbolic for how they are themselves beaten down hard) and wear nature smooth with their presences: "the limb is worn smooth by men who have sat on it."

The opening paragraph atmosphere of sunny, warm nature gives way to an atmosphere of hardened nature where many disenfranchised men have sought peace for a night and then moved on. Two of these men are George Milton and Lennie Small, who seek refuge for one night before having to report to a ranch the next day where they will work during harvesting season.

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Of Mice and Men

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