How does John Steinbeck use naturalism in the first two paragraphs in Of Mice and Men?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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In the first two paragraphs of his narrative in Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck makes use of the elements of Naturalism in describing the setting in a non-judgmental tone, and by presenting man as a part of this natural setting. However, man is merely a victim of forces beyond his control, subject to the laws of the natural world that control all living things.

This universe in which man is a predictable part finds him much like the rabbits who "come out of the brush to sit on the sand in the evening." For, the boys "come down from the ranches above them to the jungle-up near the water." They, like the homeless men, gather before fires built near the huge sycamore tree. This description of homeless men, also suggests the innate primal urges in man, urges that will later surface between Lennie and George. So, as the end of the two paragraphs, man is introduced as alone much as the town of Soledad, which means solitary and alone.  

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