Fast Food Nation

February 9, 2009
By Chris Dolan BRONZE, Plano, Texas
Chris Dolan BRONZE, Plano, Texas
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Eric Schlosser's 'Fast Food Nation' is a thorough investigation of all of the parts of the fast food industry similar to 'The Jungle' by Upton Sinclair. Eric Schlosser has clearly done his research with over 50 pages of footnotes to cite every fact he found and traveled across the country for face to face interviews with people who make the fast food business operate everyday. The book is divided into two sections, so that he may appeal to the widest audience. The book shifts from a history of fast food to a mixture of pathos and logos.

The beginning of the book, which includes chapters one and two, mainly talks about how the fast food industry started and then became so popular. This section of the book is quick history lesson about the fast food industry, while entertaining, is not necessary to the point of his book. Explaining that the industry did not always have harmful intentions and started from such simple roots eases the reader into the book. The first two chapters should be a part of the preface because they are suggested to read before the rest of the novel, but not reading them does not detract from the quality of the novel. In the first part of the book, Schlosser's tone is an optimistic one while talking about American business owners living the American dream. Towards the end of chapter two, it shifts to a gloomy tone about evil corporations, who disregard safety and health concerns and want to alter the minds of innocent children. At this time, he introduces his first concern with the industry, which leads to his arguments in the rest of the book.

Chapters three through ten could be called the 'meat' of the book, containing all of his arguments and explanations about the fast food industry. Schlosser talks to those who have the low paying jobs to find out details that the heads of the corporations would never tell him. Schlosser uses pathos when interviewing workers so that the reader can better relate to the experiences and pain that others are feeling. For example, Schlosser talks to Hank, a Colorado rancher, whose business is suffering because of the meatpacking companies that provide for the fast food chains. Ranching is one of many occupations suffering because of large corporate chains. Hank also shows Eric the difference between the land that he uses and the land the companies use. The companies destroy the land in order to raise cattle without much regard to environmental concerns. These giant corporations are also hurting their workers as Schlosser found out. Meatpacking has become the most dangerous job in America. Schlosser continues to describe the horrid conditions of the facility in order to show the reader what they are supporting when they buy from a fast food chain. He primarily uses vivid imagery so that the reader may experience the same thing as him. Schlosser has many facts towards the end of the book that he cites later in footnotes to establish the book as a credible source for information about the fast food industry.

Schlosser starts off easy with the simple history of how the fast food industry developed into what it is today. Then, he hit the reader with stories from real people affected by the industry and concrete facts not generally known to the public. Eric Schlosser uses a variety of techniques to appeal to the widest audience and makes people rethink about how they view the fast food industry.

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