Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring brought environmental concerns to an unprecedented share of the American people. Although Silent Spring was met with fierce opposition by chemical companies, it spurred a reversal in national pesticide policy, which led to a nationwide ban on DDT and other pesticides, and it inspired a grassroots environmental movement that led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
There are many links to video and audio resources for analyzing the argument about within Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. The resource features a link to the 2004B AP English Language exam which featured a rhetorical analysis from an excerpt from Silent Spring. There is also an Atlantic Monthly article on Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring turning 50 years old.
Also, there is a graphic organizer designed as a rhetorical triangle where students will look for appeals from a short documentary on Malaria and Rachel Carson. Instructions and strategies are included on how to teach a rhetorical précis, and hold an inner and outer Socratic Circle.
These lessons fit any Honors Literature class, Pre-AP, American Literature, AP English Language or Literature class to prepare students for AP English Language exams, Common Core extended response assessments, American Literature Course exams, the SAT and ACT essay and critical thinking activities. Now adaptable for ESOL classes.
The packet includes complete lessons, Common Core standards, essential and key questions. I have added an addendum that describes how to adapt the lessons for ELL students.
Tags: Close Reading, writing, Pre-AP, critical thinking, AP English Language, speech and debate, pesticides environment, agriculture, organic farming, social justice, argument, Socratic Seminar, synthesis, Rachel Carson, American Literature, Environmental Science, Ted Talks, NPR, theme, ELL adaptable material, flipped classroom
New Additions April 2017: link to Atlantic Monthly article on Silent Spring turning 50 years old. Reformatting and inclusion of 4th lesson. There is also a 30 question/answer key viewing guide to American Experience: Rachel Carson.
Included with rubric
116826Mr. SchwadererAP Language 26 October, 2016Silent Spring AnalysisIn the excerpt from Rachel Carson’s novel “Silent Spring”, she uses rhetorical questions along with a bitter but worrying diction and punctuation to prove her averse and her ignorance toward farmers that use highly potent pesticides. Carson uses rhetorical questions to be able to get the reader thinking about who is really to blame about the use of these dreadful pesticides such as Parathion. In the fourth paragraph she repeatedly is asking “who”, “Who is causing the decisions that set in motion these chains of harmful poisonings,” by using this rhetorical strategy it causes the reader tostop and think about who is really to blame about this. Is it a bigger corporation? Or Is it the farmers?She boggles your mind with questions such as, “Does Indiana still raise any boys who roam through woods or fields and might even explore the margins of a river?” This questionputs the reader in the parents perspection, where their child is galavanting about in the woods.