“This is a book about fast food, the values it embodies, and the world it has made,” (3) writes Eric Schlosser
in the introduction to his book, Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. He goes on to suggest, “Fast food has proven to be a revolutionary force in American life…. During a relatively brief period of time, the fast food industry has helped to transform not only the American diet, but also our landscape, economy, workforce, and popular culture.” (3, emphasis added) Ultimately, Schlosser
argues, the consequences of fast food for American society are not only “inescapable” (3) but decidedly and profoundly negative.
For your paper, choose THREE of the four aspects of American life highlighted by Schlosser
(landscape, economy, workforce, popular culture). For EACH of the three aspects that you select, evaluate whether or not you think that Schlosser
makes a persuasive case for 1) the role of fast food in transforming that particular aspect of American life, and 2) the negative consequences of that transformation. In evaluating your three aspects, consider the evidence that Schlosser
uses to support his claims. Take into account the kinds information that he uses to advance his argument, as well as the ways in which he narrates his story in an attempt to produce a desired response in his readers. Do his claims seem credible or convincing to you? Why or why not?
Then write a 4-5 page paper (approximately 1000-1250 words) in which you rank your three chosen aspects in order from least persuasive to most persuasive. Explain your ranking by discussing how each of the texts is or is not persuasive. And explain why you decided to rank them in the particular order that you choose—that is, why aspect “A” is the least persuasive, why aspect “B” is more persuasive than “A,” but less persuasive than “C”, and why aspect “C” is the most persuasive of the three, in your opinion.
Your discussion must include specific citations, or references, from each of the texts. Make sure to include the page number(s) of the passages from Fast Food Nation that you cite.
Guidelines to remember: Your 4-5 page paper should be typed. Use a 12 point, standard font. Use standard margins. The paper should be double-spaced, with no extra spaces between paragraphs.
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Schlosser admits as much: "I do not mean to suggest that fast food is solely responsible for every social problem now haunting the United States. In some cases (such as the malling and sprawling of the West) the fast food industry has been a catalyst and a symptom of larger economic trends. In other cases (such as the rise of franchising and the spread of obesity) fast food has played a more central role" (Schlosser 9). Fast food robs the land, numbs the soul to worker abuses, and numbs the palate. Unsanitary and unhealthy food sold with toys is what people crave, rather than fresh produce or even fresh versions of these comfort foods. Thousands of calories can be consumed in minutes, behind the wheel of the car, and obesity makes it difficult for individuals to enjoy life, much less 'real food.' The health costs and the psychological costs of obesity, a condition facilitated by the fast food industry, are incalculable.
Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2001.