What is the overall purpose of Silent Spring, and which literary devices does the author use to accomplish this?

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rachel Carson's purpose in writing Silent Spring was to show the harmful effects of using pesticides on the natural world and on human health. She also wanted to expose the false claims of the chemical industry that their pesticides were not harmful. The literary device she uses in the first chapter is to present a fable about an ideal and beautiful town in America that is destroyed by a blight. This town is fictitious, but Carson's presentation of a fable helps the reader understand the metaphor of a blight--which is in reality the use of pesticides--affecting the country and its wildlife. Then, before presenting information about the harmful effects of pesticides, she presents an overview of the interconnectedness of the ecosystem and the story of its evolution in layperson's terms. She presents scientific information in a narrative format and only includes scientific citations at the end of the book in an appendix. The literary device of using a narrative helps her convey scientific information to non-scientists.

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Silent Spring

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