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Handout for 1st Semester B. Com
---from Young India

Rachel Carson was a scientist (marine biologist) and a renowned writer.

Her book, The Silent Spring, started an ecological revolution.


She was born in Springdale, Pennsylvania US on May 27, 1907.

She had a pleasant childhood. Grew up in a countryside (rural area or village) that offered
her opportunities to observe animals, birds, plants and flowers in their natural environment.
She spent her summers wandering in the farm with her little dog Candy and watching the
butterflies, grasshoppers, the daisies, buttercups and meet little farm animals- chickens,
pigs, rabbits etc.
Reading aloud was the a fairly common pastime in the Carson household.
Rachels love for books was inspired by her mother, who read beautifully.
She became an independent reader at the age of 6.
At the age of ten, she wanted to become a professional writer.
St. Nicholas, a childrens magazine, published her first story- A Battle in the Cloud.
She received a cheque of $10 for it.
She received a gold badge for her second story.


She studied at Pennsylvania College for Women.

She first took up English literature and later dropped it to major in biology.
She obtained her Masters degree with great difficulty because she faced financial
difficulty due to continue her fathers death and the Great Depression (economic
She started looking for a fulltime job to support her mother.
She passed her civil services examinations in 1936.


She got a temporary position with the U.S. Bureau of Fisheries, that asked her to write 52
radio talks on fishery and marine life.
Later, she was asked to edit and rewrite the radio broadcast material in the form of
brochures. Thus, began her scientific literary career.
Carson began her full-time career as a junior aquatic biologist in the U.S. Bureau of
Fisheries, after passing the civil services examination.
She became a full-time nature writer in the 1950s.


She was a gifted writer.

At high school, her teachers appreciated her writings for their technical quality and depth
of thoughts and feelings.
She felt beauty was an important part of science.
She combined science and art (poetry) in her scientific writing.
She wrote about the creatures of land and sea.
She communicated science in simple but beautiful language.


First book-- Under the Sea Wind, written in lyrical style

Second book---"The Sea Around Us (1950), written in epic style.
Third book--- The Edge of the Sea. It tells the story of the creatures that lived at the
edge of the sea.
The most important book- The Silent Spring

THE SILENT SPRING (published on 27 September 1962)

It brought Carson into the lime light.


She wrote the book because she was disturbed by the damage that was being caused to
the environment by the new kind of chemical pesticides and she wanted to do something
about it.
She tried to convince her colleagues and friends to write a book about it. But she did not
find any suitable and willing person.
Her own sense of responsibility as a scientist made her to write the book herself.
The book describes the harmful effects of chemical pesticides on the environment.
She did not want to write a pessimistic(negative) book.
At the same time, she wanted to highlight(focus) how humans can damage the word.

ABOUT THE BOOK (Whats in the book)

It is written in jargon-free, simple language that common people can easily understand.
She explains the meaning of balance of nature and how disturbing the balance would
do us more harm than good.
She was not against the use of chemical control in appropriate situation.
She criticized the unscientific method of using pesticides.
She gives the public a good understanding of the natural world.


It started an ecological revolution.

The facts written in the book were appalling (shocking).
It made the government of her country sit up and listen to her ideas.
It shocked and disturbed many people.
To some others, it was clarification and revelation(disclosure).
She was at loggerheads(disagreement/fight) with the industrial world.
She became a target of attack by business interest.
The public supported her and they endorsed the ideas expressed by her in the book.
The book showed the power of common people who, given an impetus(push), can see the
whole picture of intricate (complicated and detailed) processes of nature and society than
some highly trained expect.
DDT was finally banned.

Why is she compared to Darwin by her friends and admirers?

Like Darwin, she collected a vast range of information.

Spent four and a half years collecting data from all parts of the world
She processed the data to give a broad concept of the natural world.
She wanted the public to test her ideas against own observations.

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