CSUSM Students

Discussion Questions

  • Why did the author title the book Silent Spring?
  • Who is the target audience: chemical companies, state agencies, or the average citizen?
  • Explain what Carson sees as the long-term threat to human health from pesticides. Do you agree or disagree?
  • What alternative methods of insect control does Carson write about?
  • Remember that Carson was writing and researching pesticides fifty years ago. If she were writing today, what do you think the greatest threat to the environment would be?
  • How would you describe Carson’s view of the many relationships in nature: between human beings and their environments, between plants and animals, between water and earth?
  • Her portrayal of chemical spraying suggests that there are moral dilemmas in the use of toxins as well as technical problems of environmental management. What moral dilemma is Carson worried about? Do you share her view?
  • Define values, ecology, and technology. What do these words have to do with Silent Spring and recent U.S. history?
  • After reading Silent Spring, how would you characterize its author? Is she a science writer? Environmental activist? Philosopher?

Thanks to an Instructionally-Related Activities grant, Student Life & Leadership and the Library are able to provide 500 first generation college students with copies of Silent Spring at orientation this summer.