Steinbeck's novella begins and ends in the clearing outside Soledad, a town whose name is connotative of solitude and loneliness. Yet, it is a peaceful place where rabbits come out of the bushes to sit on the sand in Chapter One. George wants to spend the night there because they can have a peaceful evening together before reporting to the ranch for work. But, he complains about the bus driver's lie that they woud only have to walk a short way. And, even here in this halcyon place, the men cannot escape conflict as Lennie exasperates George with his capture of a mouse and his demand for ketchup, clearly foreshadowing troubles to come. In fact, George's words are prophetic as he angrily complains to Lennie,
"I wisht I could put you in a cage with about a million mice an' let you have fun."
But, the warmth of their friendship emerges as George's voice becomes "deeper," and he recites their dream for Lennie. And, peace returns to the clearing as '[T]he sycamore leaves shispered in a little night breeze."