What themes are emphasized in this passage from Of Mice and Men?

The deep green pool of the Salinas River was still in the late afternoon. Already the sun had left the valley to go climbing up the slopes of the Gabilan Mountains, and the hilltops were rosy in the sun. But by the pool among the mottled sycamores, a pleasant shade had fallen. A water snake glided smoothly up the pool, twisting its periscope head from side to side; and it swam the length of the pool and came to the legs of a motionless heron that stood in the shallows. A silent head and beak lanced down and plucked it out by the head, and the beak swallowed the little snake while its tail waved frantically. A far rush of wind sounded and a gust drove through the tops of the trees like a wave. The sycamore leaves turned up their silver sides, the brown, dry leaves on the ground scudded a few feet. And row on row of tiny wind waves flowed up the pool’s green surface. As quickly as it had come, the wind died, and the clearing was quiet again. The heron stood in the shallows, motionless and waiting. Another little water snake swam up the pool, turning its periscope head from side to side.

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In chapter 1 and chapter 6 of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, we witness that the same setting is presented to the reader. The setting is described in typical naturalist narrative that aims to bring all the elements of nature to set the tone of what is to come.

In chapter 1, we see the same narrative including everything from the quiet winds to the waving water snake and the gust of winds rustling among the tree tops. This seemingly bucolic setting is what welcomes George and Lennie into the scene, which is quite the irony when we realize the dire situation that leads the two men to seek a new life. They are essentially refugees from a nearby city where Lennie got them in trouble. So, in a way to juxtapose reality, we have a calming, natural bucolic backdrop while the fears, frustrations and bad past of the men take center stage.

Fast forward to chapter 6, we find a very similar, if not nearly identical, scenario. The difference is that the narrative changes with the abrupt entrance of Lennie...

(The entire section contains 584 words.)

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