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Rachel Carson: Silent Spring. The fountainhead of the modern environmental movement. Silent Spring : Key Literary Foci . Literary science / scientific literature Drawing from various genres: fable, jeremiad, anecdote, scientific paper, popular science

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rachel carson silent spring

Rachel Carson: Silent Spring

The fountainhead of the modern environmental movement

silent spring key literary foci
Silent Spring: Key Literary Foci
  • Literary science / scientific literature
  • Drawing from various genres: fable, jeremiad, anecdote, scientific paper, popular science
  • To what ends does it deploy pastoral imagery? What about the use ecological metaphors like web, interconnection, etc.?
  • Drawing from various discourses that were already potent in society at that time (e.g. war metaphors borrowed from Cold War rhetoric and an apocalyptic mood associated with nuclear fears of the time)
the other road last four paragraphs of chapter
“The Other Road” (last four paragraphs of chapter)
  • How does Carson describe nature/the natural world in these paragraphs?
  • How does she characterize the relation between man and nature?
  • How does she characterize “science”?
slide5

“The paradox of eco-apocalyptic discourse is that the environmentalist dreams such dreams precisely in order to render the dream-scenario impotent”

- Lawrence Buell

“The obligation to endure gives us the right to know”

- Jean Rostand, qtd by Rachel Carson in Silent Spring

what can literature do and how can it do it1
What can literature do? And how can it do it?

“When art both of great worth, and in great quantities, begins to cluster around an issue, it means that civilization has identified it finally as a threat. Artists and scientists perform this function most reliably; politicians are lagging” - Bill McKibben

viramontes under the feet of jesus
Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus
  • What is a novel?
  • Strategies for reading this novel:
    • Make a character map
    • Keep a list of the places in the novel and how those places are described.
    • No quotation marks with dialogue.
    • Lots of perspective shifting:
      • Time shifts
      • Place shifts
      • Character focalization shifts
for tuesday
For Tuesday
  • Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus, Parts 1 and 2 (pages 3-90)
  • Fourth blog post due by Wednesday evening of next week [NOT MONDAY EVENING, though you can certainly post by Monday or earlier if you want to]