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Worksheet

1 - Reading Comprehension

Read the following book review from The Sunday Times in order to accomplish the tasks below.

The first lady of green protest

Rachel Carson The Life of the Author of Silent Spring

It comes as something of a shock to realise that concern about the environment is relatively new, and
that as recently as the 1950s the idea of a green movement was completely unknown. The revolution in our
attitude towards pollution and the extravagant use of chemicals to control pests in the countryside is largely
due to just one individual - Rachel Carson, Her book Silent Spring, published in 1962, transformed the attitude
of both the people and the government of the United States to the use of pesticides, and her concerns then
spread worldwide.
Linda Lear has written an extremely detailed biography of Carson. However, there were few hints in
Carson's childhood of the enormous influence she would later wield. Her family were always short of money,
but from her mother she learnt that intellect and self-worth were more important. At the age of 11 she decided
that she would be a writer, and in the spring of 1918 she had a short story published in the children's section
of a magazine. Love of writing and nature were to dominate her life. She won a small scholarship to Pittsburgh
College for Women and started studying English but, under the guidance of an outstanding teacher, changed to
biology, and went on to do anatomical studies on the development of the kidney in fish, for which she got an
MA. She was never more than a moderately competent scientist, but through her literary skills obtained a post
as a "feature writer of scientific subjects" at the US Bureau of Fisheries, She began writing pieces based on the
information to which she now had access, and found the combinations of science and writing addictive.
She was something rare for those times - a scientist who was also a brilliant writer, although, despite
good reviews, her first book Under the Sea Wind, sold less than 2,000 copies. As early as 1945 she tried to sell
a piece to Reader's Digest about the pesticide DDT and how it may affect the balance of nature if widely used,
but failed. They found it an unpalatable subject.
William Shawn, the editor of The New Yorker, took the imaginative step of agreeing to publish large
sections of her next book, The Sea Around Us, in 1951, and this caused a stir; again, it is hard to appreciate
how rare it was in those days to have any article even touching science in a leading literary magazine. The
book was a great success and, for the first time, she was financially secure. She still had several wearing family
responsibilities, but she was able to buy a home on the Marine shoreline, to which she moved with her mother.
She had never seen the sea as a child, and loved to walk the beach at all hours, enjoying both a spiritual and
intellectual relationship with nature,
When Carson was writing Silent Spring in the late 1950s, the applications of science to technology
were almost universally unquestioned and were regarded in a very positive light. Spraying with insecticides to
eradicate fire ants was increasing, and a plan to spray a Long Island site prompted her to write about the
dangers of pesticide abuse. For Carson the misuse of pesticides was analogous to the threat from radioactive
fallout, and she began writing Silent Spring. She was already ill with cancer, which she hid until the end...

A. Read the text and account for the appropriacy of its title.

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B.Say whether the following statements are true or false. Justify your answers by quoting from the

text.

1.Concern about the environment is as old as humankind.

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2. Rachel Carson is responsible for a drastic change of attitude regarding environmental problems.

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3.Rachel Carson came from a rich family.

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C.Scan the third paragraph of the text to find words meaning the following:

a) financial aid provided for a scholar because of academic merit

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b)counselling or advice on educational or psychological matters.

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c) causing abnormal dependency on some habits, especially drugs

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D. Answer the following questions on the text Use your own words as far as possible.

1. Why do you think Reader's Digest did not publish Carson's piece about the pesticide DDT?
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2. Which factors made Carson decide to write about the dangers of pesticides?

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II Use of English

A-Complete the second sentence in such a way that it has a similar meaning to the first one. Use the words
given.

1. Although her first book had good reviews, it sold less than 2,000 copies.
Despite ___________________________________________________________________________________

3.Rachel Carson wrote 'Silent Spring' in the late 1950s.


'Silent Spring _______________________________________________________________________________