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Fable For Tomorrow Essay

The Use of Language in A Fable for Tomorrow by Rachel Carson

556 Words3 Pages

The Use of Language in A Fable for Tomorrow by Rachel Carson

The extracts give the impression of stark contrast, even contradictions, from the very beginning. The author chooses to use the word fable in the title, which, traditionally, is something fictional and also usually refers to the past and yet this is coupled with
‘tomorrow’. This indicates that the author is looking to show the reader that, although the situation she refers to in the second extract may not be factual in its entirety, it may not be long before it is.

Carson uses graphical descriptions to convey the idea of harmony and peacefulness in the first paragraph ‘white clouds of bloom drifted above the green fields’. The author uses all of the senses to…show more content…

Carson’s tone changes dramatically from the first sentence of the second extract. The words ‘strange blight’ invoke a sense of fear and foreboding. The bleakness of the second extract is even starker in comparison to the light and sensory pleasing first. The author invokes a feeling of inhumanness with phrases such as ‘evil spell’ and
‘mysterious maladies’. Carson gives the impression that the deaths and sickness is widespread when she refers to ‘flocks of chicken’ and
‘much illness’. She also gives us information that indicates that the situation has affected the whole town, both animal and human, adult and child. This only adds to the darkness and desolation of the second extract. When Carson refers to children playing then dying she gives us the impression of innocence dying with them. The author also strengthens the impression of unnaturalness with her reference to the birds no longer being able to fly. This sounds crueller when in the first extract Carson describes the birds as ‘countless’.

In the final paragraph the author explains the purpose of the extracts and why she wrote them. She makes clear that although she is not aware of any one town experiencing the full list of horrors she described, it is a reasonable assumption that it will happen in the near future if nothing is done to prevent it. Carson leaves the reader in no doubt as to the validity of her

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“A Fable for Tomorrow” was intended by the author Rachel Carson to serve as a warning for the overuse of pesticides in the eco-system. Published in 1962, the town described in the essay initially epitomizes the small towns of another time when everything seemed in perfect harmony with nature. The animals survived in the natural world with the beauty of the flora surrounding them.

Describing a paradise, the birds found food in winter; the deer grazed hidden in the misty morning; the fish swam in the unsullied, clear water.  This was life as God intended it to be.

Through the use of pesticides, man altered the balance of nature.  Not only did the vegetation and animal life suffer, but the doctors were overwhelmed with the odd diseases that came into their offices. The herbicides and insecticides skewed the environment.

Carson’s argument portrays the lack of reproduction which the “white powder” impacts.  The chicken lays eggs but do not produce chicks. The birds were either dead or migrated to another site. No fruit, bees, or other animals could sustain life.

The problems presented in the imaginary town find roots in other real locations where incidences like those in the essay have actually occurred.  Carson describes the blight of the white power or pesticides as an evil spell that settled on the community. She never denotes exactly what the actual “evil spell” is in the fable. Using the metaphor of the evil spell, the author explains it is a mysterious malady that wipes out entire flocks of sheep and herds of cattle. Man has done this to himself.

No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world…A grim spectre has crept upon us almost unnoticed, and this imagined tragedy may easily become a stark reality we all shall know.

Carson’s purpose is not to deride the American public; rather, she hopes that awareness of the problem will stop the immoral use of a product that can induce such harm to man and his world.

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