Book Review of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

In her late 50’s, Rachel Carson woke up in a bizarrely quiet setting, the eggs in the nests grew cold and did not hatch as supposedly, fish floated dead, families suddenly got sick. This was considered to be a result of the usage of DDT chemical that was sprayed nationwide in an attempt to kill the mosquitoes. However, according to Carson, that was not achieved as the negative impacts on the environment were seen to a greater extent. Silent Spring is a book that focuses on environmentalism, thus, it is acceptable to say that it greatly influenced present day environmental conversation in America.

Carson writes “with the same parathion, workers handling foliage that had been treated a month earlier collapse and went into shock, and escaped death only through skilled medical attention” (2002, p. 127). This shows how deadly these chemicals were, not only to the birds, insects and environment, but also to people. The chemicals that were used were highly concentrated, with the main aim of getting rid of malaria, however, the side effects may have been overlooked.

As she discusses details in her book, Carson reveals what a talented writer she is. Though her emotions are influenced by the research that she is doing, she manages to keep it all under control. “In Florida, two children found an empty bag and used it to repair a swing. Shortly thereafter both of them died and three of their playmates became ill. The bag had once contained an insecticide called parathion, one of the organic phosphates; tests established death by parathion poisoning” (2002, p. 28). In this note, Carson could have gone off the topic and became emotional, but she continues to write with the use of vivid imagery as she gives detailed descriptions of the countryside.

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Silent Spring is a book that was meticulously written to enlighten the reader on what can possible go wrong with the misuse of chemicals. As her research indicates, the chemical manufactures managed to convince the government and the trusting consumer that these chemicals were good and would eradicate malaria transmission by killing the vector – mosquitoes.

Silent Spring can stand out as one of the most influential books in shaping the environmental conservatives in modern days America live in. Carson’s detailed descriptions of the landscapes and the countless deaths that resulted from the DDT spray give her book the edge that it needs. She talks about the people that suffered injuries, spasms, some even became paralysed and died over the course of time. These chemicals are dangerous for humans due to the fact that they can be transmitted from a mother to child during breast feeding.

The book is informative and even though she had no intentions of doing so, with the help of her book, Carson forced the big chemical manufactures to review their policies. As a result, a catastrophe that could have influenced the future was lowered or stopped. In her appeal to the U.S citizens to be aware of the dangers caused by the insecticides, Carson used both logos and ethos. She engaged logical appeal by presenting the research work and stating the statistics of deaths due to the chemicals. Ethical appeal is seen when she gives the imagery of a normal spring setting. The title Silent Spring seems to be like a weapon, isn’t it? How come, when spring is a highly active season of the year? Everything is green and birds sing and “decorate” the skies as they fly high.

In conclusion, Silent Spring helps to expose the hazards of the chemical pesticide usage. The writer never argues that chemical pesticides should be banned, but she simply states the fact that by trying to control them, humans are changing the balance of nature and as a result inflicting self-harm.

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