Silent Spring Literary Elements

Silent Spring Literary Elements


Non fiction

Setting and Context

The events analyzed take place in the US between the 1950s and 1960s.

Narrator and Point of View

The events are analyzed from a fist person subjective point of view and the narrator is the author of the book.

Tone and Mood


Protagonist and Antagonist

The protagonists are the ones who try to fight against the devastating effect pesticides and herbicides have on the environment and the antagonists are the people who push for the use of said chemicals.

Major Conflict

The major conflict is between the pros of using pesticides and the dangers of using pesticides.


The story reaches its climax when they government reaches the conclusion that using pesticides and herbicides affects the environment in a negative way.


The image portrayed in the first chapter foreshadows the devastating effects pesticides will have over the environment.


When the government claimed that the pesticides had no negative effect on the environment is an understatement because it is proven that it does affect the environment in a negative way.


It is alluded that the pesticides and the herbicides used are a threat to the American Dream and way of life when it is mentioned that the eagles, a symbol used for the idea of American freedom, are dying because of the herbivores and pesticides used.




Carson presents the facts in a very paradoxical way. She knows that the public was aware of the dangers imposed by pesticide and herbicide usage and despite this the public still agreed to use those harmful substances.


The author draws a parallel between the dangers the chemical expose poses with the same way the smallpox posed a great danger to humanity during one point in history. The difference is however that while smallpox was not created by humans, pesticides were and this proves that humanity has the power of whipping itself out without any help from nature.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

When the author mentions the pesticide DDT, she also uses it in a metonymical sense to make reference to other pesticides used in the fields.


In the first chapter, ’’ in spring, white clouds of bloom drifted above the green fields.’’

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