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Obligation to Endure - Rachel Carson

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Pesticides are harming people and the environment. Rachel Carson lived from 1907 to 1964. She is a professor, aquatic biologist, editor, and writer. Carson is the author of “The Obligation to Endure.” In her essay she talks about how our earth is being polluted by chemicals and other bad things. She uses rhetorical strategies such as diction, metaphors, and rhetorical questions to persuade her audience to see that pesticides are bad and that they shouldn’t be used.

In “The Obligation to Endure,” Rachel Carson uses diction that implies ingestion. For example, she says that we are “fed little tranquilizing pills of half truth,” which means that we swallow the lies that are dangerous to us. She also says that we are victims of “the sugarcoating of unpalatable facts.” This means that we are likely to accept something horrible just because it’s said in a friendly way. By using this diction, Carson attempts to inspire her audience to look at the truth for what it really is and at least attempt to do something about it.

Rachel Carson uses metaphors to compare something that should be good to something that is bad. One example is when she uses a quote from Albert Schweitzer, “Man can hardly even recognize the devils of his own creation.” This quote uses a metaphor that refers to the pesticides that man has created. Carson uses this to try to get her audience to think that pesticides are like “devils” because, while they are being used to wipe out pesky insects, they are also harming the environment.

Rhetorical questions are also used in “The Obligation to Endure.” Rachel Carson uses rhetorical questions so that her audience becomes part of the argument. One example is when she asks the question “How could intelligent beings seek to control a few unwanted species by a method that contaminated the entire environment and brought the threat of disease and death even



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