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Rachel Carson’s Essay “The Obligation to Endure”

The Obligation to Endure Rhetorical Analysis

Nature and human beings have a functional self-sustaining relationship. Rachel Carson’s essay “The Obligation to Endure” captures the changing phase of the earth, particularly the environmental aspect following a substantial increase in industrial pollution. Therefore, this rhetorical essay discusses the purpose of Carson’s essay, which includes the appeals, evidence, and techniques used and their subsequent reasons and why they were vital for the work. Profoundly, the history of life on planet earth can be viewed as a record of living things interacting with their surroundings. While for most of the human history, the relationship has meant that life is molded over time by the inhabited environment, the recent times have affirmed that humans are capable of altering it in several significant ways, raising concerns about the future of life on the planet.

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Brief Background and Purpose

Primarily, Carson captures the essence of environmental protection by examining the dangers the public faces from the modern industrial pollution, an activity despite its benefits creates insurmountable problems for the current and future generations. Therefore, Carson (13) alerts the public about the horrifying impacts of current pollution, an outright indication of human’s desire to alter the environment. Essentially, the author aims to create awareness about the impending danger. The essay posits that people have entered a very dangerous point in history that they can willfully change environment on unprecedented scale; a worrying trend. Although life on the plant has always been portrayed or existed as an interconnected web of mutual influence, it has since waned significantly, instead, humans are in position to affect the existing web in profound ways.

Rhetorical Analysis

While writing about the harmful ramifications of releasing lethal materials into our environment, Carson uses horrifying evidence coupled with a passionate tone that captures the audience’s interest as an overall structure of her intriguing essay. Carson communicates a simple message; the pollution that humans are creating is massively destroying the earth. Pollution harms the environment in substantial ways, which include nuclear explosions, which discharge toxic chemicals into the atmosphere changing the composition of air and other particles (Carson 14). Pollution equally includes venomous pesticides sprayed on plants, killing vegetation and sickening animals, such as cattle. Carson notes the adjustments to these chemicals can take generations and completely changing dynamics of life on earth. In essence, the author uses a passionate plea, outlining the dangerous and unprecedented outcomes of the current environmental pollution to capture the audiences’ attention.

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Rachel Carson’s strategy of presenting evidence laced with a passionate tone is effective. The approach uses the evidence from the contemporary world, providing a practical understanding of the issue’s humans face if the problem is not resolved. In essence, the passionate tone is an effective approach because it explores the many ways her audience can get involved in protecting and preserving the environment. The audience understand what the environment offers and why it is imperative it is protected at all costs. Furthermore, Carson’s approach helps her address many issues, such as the devastating effects of constantly using chemical on the environment (Carson 13). The author discusses these deeply disturbing concerns with such conviction, which obligates a reader to play a role in environment protection. For instance, it makes a reader obligated to contribute to the challenge facing the planet in their way irrespective of the capacity to help the natural world. Conclusively, Carson’s passionate tone both outlines the severity of the problem and the conviction to her audience to play a part in restoring order regarding the environment pollution.

Carson’s assertive tone lends significant weight to her one-sided argument; she suggests there is only one way to solve the environmental menace – everyone should get involved irrespective of their capacity. The author’s one-sided approach is aggressively put forward and leaves no room for opposing viewpoints. I concur with Carson’ approach and find it a vital method of informing diverse audience about issues affecting them, which they may not fully understand their impacts due to gradual unnoticeable changes. Therefore, Carson’s approach is effective to drive points about issues of immense impact, such as pollution, which only have one side; destruction. Additionally, this strategy means the author does not target a specific audience, rather believes the issue she is raising affects everyone. As a result, she targets anyone who is reading the piece (Carson 12). Carson wants to deeply inform humans about the gravity of the problem, especially releasing chemicals into the atmosphere.

I believe Carson’s assertively aggressive approach of communicating her ideas to the audience perhaps allude to the perceived ignorance or uninformed audience about issues, such as climate change, which emanate from her argument about humans deliberatively altering the environment. For instance, the author’s audience has scantly information and knowledge about the impacts of radiation and pesticides on nature and themselves. Therefore, she seizes the opportunity in her essay to successfully enlighten them about the present while equally highlighting the future ramifications of the current actions. Carson (15) notes “future historians may well be amazed by our distorted sense of proportion.” The statement resonates with the author’s main argument about the need to protect the environment for better current life and posterity.

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Essentially, Rachel Carson’s essay captures the hallmark of human survival; protecting and preserving the environment by eliminating pollution. Carson cites several instances where pollution has led to untold impacts that will take generations to rectify. The author uses horrifying evidence laced with a passionate tone guided by a plea to her audience to play their part irrespective of the position or scale to tackle the pollution problem. While adopting a one-sided, aggressive, and assertive approach, Carson suggests that protecting the environment only has a single outcome; better life forms. Conclusively, the piece delves into the heart of human life, the conviction to promote awareness about environmental pollution, and the horrifying effects if nothing is done.


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