Silent Spring Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Silent Spring Symbols, Allegory and Motifs

Symbol for the arrogance of humans

The majority of animals and other living beings all coexist peaceful in the world. They do not compete with one another and they do not try to change the system they live in. This however is not true when it comes to humans, who from the beginning of history influenced in a negative way the environment. That fact that each year they come up with new chemicals and new ways to alter the environment shows that mankind is unique among animal species in distorting the balance of nature.

Banned in other countries

A motif that appears in the book is the idea that the U.S. has a habit of continuing to use excessively pesticides and herbicides despite knowing about the dangerous repercussions they will have to suffer. Even after various chemicals were deemed as being carcinoid, they still continued to use them, claiming that the substances pose a threat to humans only when they are in specific states. The US seemed determined to ignore the dangers while other countries banned the use of herbicides completely in some areas when they discovered the dangerous effects.

Not aware of the risk

Another motif in the book is the idea that the government is willing to push for dangerous chemicals if doing so is politically beneficial. Because of this, the government denied knowing about the dangers he chemicals used in farming represent and also they insisted that the chemicals cannot be transmitted from one animal to another or from one person to another. This proved however to not be true.


Another motif in the book is the idea that in nature, everything is connected. An animal species is dependent on another animal species and even plants rely on certain microbes and insects in the soil to break down biological and vegetal substances into elements they can use. However, man chose to ignore this and did not took into consideration that by targeting a specific pest or plant they disrupt a complex ecosystem that is dependent on the species the scientists try to eliminate.

The robin

The robin is a bird that appears usually towards the end of winter and signals the beginning of spring. With the use of pesticides, the robins suffered greatly and in some parts where the robins were a common sight they disappeared completely. This is used here in a symbolic way, to suggest that the pesticides killed ‘’spring’’ that is it affected the way seasons come and go and it affected the animals that live in the exposed areas. Thus, the absence of the robin suggests that humankind did irreparable damage to nature in general.

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