Silent Spring Analysis
Silent Spring is a book that makes just about everyone think, except for the major chemical companies that it was attacking. This is definitely one book that help shaped how we look at the environment today and also how we approach it. Rachel Carson aimed for a book that was going to open peoples eyes to what really was happening and who and what was doing it. She nailed this right on the head, while the book was very technical when it came to talking about the details of DDT, it was written at a level that everyone could understand and relate too. Easily this could be one of the most important books written in American history, where would we be without it and how would our future have turned out.
While this book was aimed for the public to be able to understand, it also directly attacked the companies who were manufacturing the chemicals that people were using, especially DDT. If one were to try to explain how DDT worked at the chemistry level, most people would think your insane, but Carson is able to explain the devastating effects of this chemical in a way that everyone can understand. She does this by explaining the process chemically first, but then switches gears into how it is hitting people at home. This starts in the first chapter where she begins with “There once was a town…”. This is the beginning of the account that shaped Americans way of looking at the environment, especially when it came to using chemicals and other harmful substances to keep our life pest free. The way that she opens up with this story about a small town in the heart of the United States is a good way to get peoples attention, rather than scaring them off with a bunch of scientific terms and things people in chemistry would only understand. Taking the story right to the peoples level in the beginning was the best thing she probably could’ve done for this book. While the book wasn’t a novel or narrative, it still had that kind of feeling, rather than like your reading a science book. In doing so, she opened the floodgates for everyone to be able to relate to what was really going on in their own backyards. Along with laying the groundwork for the entire book in the first chapter, Carson also gives a grim scene of what was happening to people’s yards and farms.
With the scene set for the readers, Carson gives some grim examples of what was going on, of which, people were able to look out their own window and see the results of these chemicals. The title of the book fits perfectly with the ugly scene she paints of birds not signing, eggs not hatching and trees not producing fruit like they had the spring before. The biggest point she seemed to make right away was how sudden these events took place without anyone really knowing what was going on. “Many creatures died. Sometimes children would be outside playing and suddenly they would be stricken with something and die only a few hours later. People wondered what had happened to the birds. The birds that remained were often so sickly that they couldn’t fly. Chickens still laid eggs, but the eggs didn’t hatch. The apple trees put out blossoms, but no bees came to pollinate them. The countryside that once looked so pretty now looked dry and withered. People noticed a fine, white dust had settled all over the leaves and in the gutters of their houses. The problem with this land didn’t come from witchcraft, but from the people themselves.” (Carson). This quote really hits home her entire point of the book. At the time of the book, people hadn’t really even thought of the downside of these kinds of chemicals, they only thought that they were making the world a better place to live in, rather than completely killing it.
After the first few chapters I was hooked on the book. Even now in 2011, it makes a point that people can still understand and relate too. I believe if this book were not written the way it was, people would have just brushed it off as another...
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