Imagery, describing using the five senses of sight, hearing, touch, taste, and/or smell, is one of the most emotionally persuasive forms of writing. For example, saying that 80,000 children are starving due to a drought is far less persuasive than describing one listless, emaciated child held in his mother's arms with his ribs sticking out, unable to hold up his head. We are moved by what we can experience through the senses.
Carson deliberately uses this rhetorical strategy in titling her book. She had long been concerned about the cumulative effects of the use of pesticides on the environment. Her book gathers research, cutting edge at the time, although commonplace now, to show that once pesticides get into the food chain, they can have a harmful effect on the ecosystem as a whole, even to the point of leading to cancer in humans. However, she knew that just stating statistics was unlikely to persuade people to support environmental legislation.
The image of a silent spring, a spring...
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