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How do narratives work in the world? How can literary criticism characterize their full life-cycles and effects? This article suggests a model of narrative interaction to account for the intricacies and power of narratives, from background and composition to ultimate impacts. It applies the model of narrative interaction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, a landmark narrative which has incorrectly been dismissed from literary criticism's purview, and to ecocriticism, the activist critical practice which has taken Silent Spring for its own. In so doing the article shows how literary criticism can re-conceptualize and expand its own field of inquiry.