The Portable Phonograph by Walter Van Tilburg Clark

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What is the atmosphere of "The Portable Phonograph"?

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The atmosphere is cold, bleak, dark, wretched, nearly unbearable and uninhabitable. It is the atmosphere of a wasteland. These four men seem doomed. They are being reduced to a primitive existence without the survival experience of the American Indians who lived there before them. Furthermore, the land has been ruined by the climatic conditions created by the atomic war. They are civilized men who have lost their civilization, and they are consequently lost without it. It seems like winter but it might be summer. The poisoned atmosphere has brought about a permanent winter.

Out of the sunset, through the dead, matted grass and isolated weed stalks of the prairie, crept the narrow and deeply rutted remains of a road.

There must have been land warfare in addition to the violent exchange of nuclear bombs and missiles.

The frozen mud still bore the toothed impress of great tanks...

The setting with its atmosphere of desolation and despair plays an unusually important role in this story because...

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