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Silent Spring

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by

Ana Ramos

on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of Silent Spring

Worldview
Rachel Carson's worldview is one of negativity and distrust in scientific claims of a better future. She is not a Christian and believes in evolution, which is evident in her many comments about "hundreds of millions of years" (6) and how science has proved "Darwin's principle of survival of the fittest," creating an "evolved super human race" (8). Carson believes mother nature is in charge and that "humans are only a part of nature" (xv).
Silent Spring
Message
The main message is that insecticides/pesticides are deadly to humans and to nature in general and should be seen as dangerous. Carson also emphasizes that a difference can and should be made to stop the cycle.
Style
Carson uses tropes to paint a vivid picture of how life will slowly deteriorate if nothing in the environment is changed
figurative and literal imagery to leave the reader with a clear picture of the effects of the harmful fumes: "streams fishless and ...gardens and woodlands silent and birdless" (188), ch 8 "Rivers of Death"
rhetorical questions to point a finger at the chemists and sprayers and mock those who think the sprays harmless: "Does Indiana still raise any boys who roam through woods or fields and might even explore the margins of a river?" (127)
personification to amplify the evil of the sprays and give them the intent to kill: "insecticides project a menacing shadow into the future" (26)
Literary Criticism
Chemists and DDT users called her an extremist and argued that her book gave an incomplete picture because it did not say anything about the benefits of using pesticides.
these attempts by the chemical industry to discredit Carson backfired and gave her book more publicity
communities organized into groups, voted out aerial sprayings, attended more environmental meetings
federal government passed laws banning DDT
Introduction
titled Silent Spring
written by Rachel Carson
title refers to the season Spring and how it has and will become silent with the continued spraying of plants and insects that cause the death of animals and humans
About the Author: Rachel Carson
Rachel Carson was born May 27, 1907 in Springdale, Pennsylvania
as a child, her hometown deteriorated when 2 coal-fired electric plants were built nearby during the Industrial Revolution
she lived with foul air filled with chemicals and rivers polluted by industrial waste
this made her forever suspicious of chemistry claims of better living
changed her major from English to Biology because it gave her "something to write about"
believed people needed to know what deadly chemicals they were subjected to
became a best-selling author of multiple science books
died of cancer on April 14, 1964 at 57 years old
SOAPS
Subject: Silent Spring is an informative and persuasive book about how deadly pesticides are to the environment and a call to change the situation. The book eventually caused the banning of DDT and prompted many current arguments.
Occasion: The book was published in 1962 America when chemistry was the most popular scientific topic and examples were taken from America
Audience: all Americans and specifically those in government who could make change
Purpose: Rachel had 2 purposes
to uncover the many instances when insecticides had produced deadly effects
to launch a movement that would keep mankind from creating its own death trap
Speaker: Rachel Carson is the speaker and writes form the standpoint of a fellow American, woman biologist, and environmental activist
Tone: Throughout the book, Rachel Carson speaks in mixed tones of scientific objectivity and anger. When she talks about stories where people are affected by pesticides, her fury becomes evident. She mocks the chemists.
From the getgo, Silent Spring was a controversial book
I thought the book was a good way to get facts from a different perspective. Carson's method of persuasion was effective to some extent in that I became less indifferent to the subject but she didn't convince me because of all the instances when pesticides have help.
Conclusion
Silent Spring was extremely important to history in that it sparked a major change in people's mindset towards chemicals and was the main catalyst of the environmental movement which grows stronger every day. Although I was prejudice against Carson's beliefs when I started the book, she got her point across and succeeded in drawing me into her world and reasoning. This is a perfect read to understand the standpoint of environmentalists and get statistics, but I would also like to learn more about the side for pesticides.
Look Outside

Look Outside, see the trees
Watch the flowers in the breeze
Things won't be like this in a year or two
If polluting is all we do
Seize the night
Seize the day
Things won't always be this way
Thousands of people are dying
In the night you hear children crying
Let's stop the war
Our people are sore
The world can't help itself
Who cares about your wealth
Help me to help you
Show the world what you can do.
Full transcript