Silent Spring

Online PDF URL: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring (1962) was one of the most influential books on any topic in 20th century America.  Her investigatory journalism on Americans’ pollution of the natural environment through use of chemical pesticides and insecticides resulted in a groundswell of public opinion to ban use of DDT and resulted in formation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Although the country took some steps to halt certain kinds of chemical pollution, her basic warning about environmental dangers is just as important today as it was in 1962.   For your essay assignment, I want you to explain why Carson believed that “the ‘control of nature’ is a phrase conceived in arrogance. (p. 297).

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Using materials from the chapters designated below, explain at least three major reasons she uses from at least three of the chapters to illustrate her point of view. That is, include one idea from each of three chapters.

Then, in your conclusion, explain how and why she believed we might adopt less environmentally harmful ways to control dangerous plant or animal life. Be as specific as possible in explaining her points of view.   For this essay assignment, be sure to read and then use relevant material from a minimum of three of the following chapters:

1. Introduction

2. Chapter 2: The Obligation to Endure

3. Chapter 3: “Elixirs of Death4. Chapter 6: “Earth’s Green Mantle”             5. Chapter 8: “And No Birds Sing 6. Chapter 9: “Rivers of Death 7. Chapter 12: The Human Pric 8. Chapter 14: “One in Every Four 9. Chapter 15: “Nature Fights Bac 10. Chapter 17: “The Other Road Please note: do not use any source for this essay assignment other than Silent Spring.

If you quote from the book, and please do so sparingly and only when absolutely necessary, indicate the page number in parentheses following the quoted material.   This essay is worth 30 points total.  Please type (double space, 12-point font, 1” margins) with your name in the upper right hand corner of page 1.

Do not use a title page. The essay needs to be a minimum of 2 ½ pages and a maximum of 4 ½ pages.  Anything less than 2 ½ or more than 4 ½ will be returned to you for no points. Please number your pages (top, upper-right corner).     Your introduction should be succinct and provide an overview of the major perspectives you will discuss. Your conclusion should highlight Carson’s ideas about alternatives to the use of chemicals.     Scoring Rubric: 28-30 points: Excellent, full response that explains the multiple dimensions of Carson’s environmental perspectives.                                      24-27 points:  Good, full response, but some incorrect or inadequately                                                             explained issues.                                      21-23 points:  General ideas only.                                      18-20 points:  Serious problems in the focus as well as serious problems                                                             with issues such as length, mechanics, grammar, spelling, etc.                                      17 and below:  Inadequate work.  No strong evidence that you read the                                                             book carefully or that you paid attention to the assignment.

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