After learning that the delicious smell of freshly cooked hamburgers is made in a chemical lab, my outlook on fast food has taken a u-turn. Eric Schlooser, author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, originating from his post in the Atlanta Monthly in Boston, goes into detail of the long, repulsive process of creating the food Americans know and love. The fast food industry has shaped the national and global culture by hiding the truth behind a paper wrapper. The wrapper doesn't include the fat content, calories, or ingredients in the meal, but serves as a wrapping paper that you can open on Christmas, revealing the present your mom has just bought you from McDonalds. The title captures the attention of the reader because they are not expecting a dark side of the food a typical American eats once a day. It also serves as a symbol for what our nation's lifestyle has become. The author's calm tone helps exemplify his point, but makes it readable and reliable by using quotes and statistics from other authors and companies. He is not yelling in anger, but is asserting his facts with a firm and confident tone. Fast Food Nation demonstrates interesting motifs and metaphors throughout the novel. The fast food chains have targeted the children by using toys as an incentive to convince their parents to buy the quick, cheap way out. Schlooser also uses rhetorical devices that tie into the average reader such as children recognize Ronald McDonald more often than Jesus. This may be a shocking fact to religious people in the world, but the truth hurts when our world has done nothing to overcome this industry. When it all got started in 1937, the 'credit,' or more so imfamousy, was owned to Richard and Maurice McDonald for creating the restaurant with, 'No Carhops- No Waitresses- No Dishwashers- No Bus Boys' (Schlooser 20), that changed every individual more than fifty years later. Schlooser identifies the men as the ones who began the glooming American businesses and population. The use of strong, persuasive facts throughout the novel persuade the reader to not only realize the things that secretly make up their food, but the reliance on the convenience of these chains. He captures the audience by using stomach-churning, nauseating histories and chemical make ups to lure the reader into more. Eric Sclooser intends the novel to be for anyone playing a role in the booming fast food industry, or at least the ones that can control themselves from stopping after the first few pages. He uses the introduction to interest the reader in the cause of social problems and physical disease in the world today, and symbolically referring to Cheyenne Mountain as the fast food industry. The mountain may be isolated, with pretty scenery, but within lies over fifteen hundred people corresponding to the burger may look juicy and fresh, but within lies the chemicals and pathogens that may harm our nation. The introduction also offers the main theme in the novel, the routine experience of buying your next meal. The low price appeals to low and middle class workers, but therefore it is made of low quality, failing to provide adequate nutrition for the consumer. The buyer and the consumer correlate because the person who is buying the hamburger, french fries, and milkshake is also supporting the huge corporations who are leading the world into the dark realities that are not being noticed. I support what Fast Food Nation is conveying to the public and recommend that people of all ages read the novel in support of stopping what our nation has become, an oversized, lazy population looking for the easy way out. The novel may shape the future of the fast food corporations, and hopefully put an end to the negative impact on our culture.
Fast Food Nation
February 9, 2009