What literary and rhetorical devices are there in the first chapter of Silent Spring by Rachel Carson?

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some literary/rhetorical devices in Chapter 1 of Silent Spring are:

1) Consonance:

This is the repetition of consonant sounds in successive words. Unlike alliteration, consonance can be found in the beginning, middle, or end of words. Example from A Fable For Tomorrow:

...mysterious maladies swept the flocks of chickens; the cattle and sheep sickened and died.

2) Alliteration:

This is the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words. Examples from Chapter 1 include "mysterious maladies," "strange stillness," "suffered a substantial..."

3) Asyndeton:

This is the deliberate omission of conjunctions. The example below highlights the immediacy and the impact of the author's statement by omitting a conjunction ("and"), which speeds up the rhythm of Carson's diction. A comma separates the clauses.

No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world.

4) Imagery:

This can appeal to each of our senses, including our sense of smell, taste, touch (tactile), sight (visual), or hearing (auditory). For example:

In autumn, oak, and maple, and birch set up a blaze of color that flamed and flickered across a backdrop of pines. (this is visual imagery).

Others came to fish the streams, which flowed clear and cold out of the hills and contained shady pools where trout lay. (this is tactile imagery- the waters of the streams are cold to the touch).

On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, catbirds... (this is auditory imagery).