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Free MonkeyNotes Summary-Silent Spring by Rachel Carson-Free Book Notes
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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS

Note to the reader

This is a non-fiction book. However, it can be analyzed along literary lines. The following set of literary elements should, therefore, be regarded as a use of literary analysis to describe a non-fiction text.

SETTING

This non-fiction book is set mainly in the United States. It refers, however, to the use of insecticides and to the use of biological controls of insects in other countries as well. The primary target reader, however, is the United States resident. The time period covered in the book is generally the present time of the writing, 1962. Rachel Carson does refer back to the history of people’s efforts to control insects. This history goes back as far as two hundred years, but is mainly confined to the twentieth century.

LIST OF CHARACTERS

Major Characters

The chemical companies

Those companies responsible for the research and production of chemical poisons for the control of pest insects.

Entomologists

Scientists who study insects.

U.S. government officials

Officials of departments such as the Department of Agriculture who are responsible for propagating the use of chemical poisons for the destruction of pest insects or who research non-chemical means of insect control.

Conservationists

People who attempt to study the natural processes of the earth and protect the earth from chemical poisoning.


Minor Characters

The insects

Both the beneficial insects and the harmful insects.

The birds

They are killed by chemical poisons and who function in their natural habitat as natural insect controllers.

The earth

Alive with the activity of many organisms and which is threatened by massive and repeated doses of chemical poisons.

The water

Also alive with the activity of many organisms and which is threatened by chemical poisons.

The non-scientist citizen of the U.S.,

They often uses heavy doses of chemical poisons on the home and farm to kill insects, or who’s environment is subject to spraying against her/his will, and who also often recognizes when it’s too late the severity of the dangers of these chemicals.

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