The tone and mood of the setting in "The Portable Phonograph"?

Expert Answers
Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting in "The Portable Phonograph" is bleak and barren.  It is a setting of devastation. 

The landscape in the story has been devastated by conventional warfare.  Reading it today we might think of nuclear aftermath, but the story was actually written before nuclear weapons were invented, if only by a few years.

Everything is desolated.  The humans in the story are basically starting from scratch, with the exception of a few elements of their previous lives, such as the phonograph.  Whatever has survived, of course, carries much importance for the men:  items such as the phonograph, which serves as a link to the past and a link to the beauty that once was.