AP English Summer Assignment Title: Fast Food Nation Author: Eric Schlosser Publication Date: January 17, 2002 Genre: Non-fiction Information about the author: Eric Schlosser was born in Manhattan 1959 but spent majority of his childhood in Los Angeles. He graduated from Princeton with a degree in American history. Before becoming a non-fiction writer, he tried many other professions including playwright, novelist, and a scriptwriter. Two of his plays have been produced in London. The first one, “Americans,” was produced in 2003 and the second, “We The People,” was produced in 2007.It wasn’t until his early thirties that he finally started writing non-fiction. At the time, Schlosser was working for Atlantic Monthly. He had many ideas and articles that were turned down by the magazine before Atlantic Monthly eventually assigned him an article titled “America and its Fast Food Industry. ” This expanded to become: “Fast Food Nation,” an international bestseller. This book first appeared on the New York Times bestsellers list and stayed there for 2 years. It also appeared on 10 other bestsellers list.This wasn’t the only recognition that it got, it also made an appearance on 60 Minutes, CNN, FOX News, CBS Evening New, NBC Nightly News, The O’Reilly Factor, and Extra. In 2006, the book was turned into a film that Schlosser was able to help with it as an executive producer and he even co-wrote the script. Eric Schlosser’s work is still very popular and he continues to write non-fiction. In Fact, he is currently working on a book about the American Prison System. Through his work, Schlosser has been able to inform and inspire many people through the discussion of the fast food and how it has influenced everyone.Historical information about the period of publication: This book was published in 2002, long after the fast food industry was established and enlarged. The fast food industry, being a constantly growing industry, was at its largest so far. In fact, a huge tally was taken in the state of Chicago based on the number of fast food chains were located within the state. Just within Chicago, there were 79 different chain brands. There were 99 McDonald’s locations, 90 subway, 72 Dunkin Doughnuts, 50 KFC, 41 Burger King, 22 Wendy’s, 19 Taco Belle, and many more.Characteristics of the genre: The genre of this book is non-fiction, meaning it based on true facts. This genre is most commonly confused with a novel. Novels consist of specific elements of literature that non-fiction books do not. For example, novels have an exposition, rising action, climax, decline, and conclusion. They usually have characterization as well. Non-fiction book contain true events and facts. Some examples of other non-fiction pieces are essays, journals, documents, biographies, and textbooks. Summary:The author wrote this book in two major sections: The American Way, and Meat and Potatoes. The American Way explains the beginning of fast food after World War 2. It opens by discussing Carl N. Karcher and the Mc Donalds brothers. It then goes on to explain the complicated relationship of Ray Kroc and Walt Disney to Carl. It covers the many ways they are similar and how they’ve made an impact of the fast food industry. This section also has a section that walks through the reasons why company’s profit from advertising directly to children.It concludes strongly as the author explains his trip to Colorado Springs where he gained knowledge about the typical fast food employee, which happens to have the highest rate of low-wage workers. The second section, Meat and Potatoes, talks about the chemical flavoring of food, the production of cattle and chickens, the beef industry, and the dangers of eating meat. It starts by going through the chemical components that give fast food its flavor. It then goes directly into the life of a typical rancher and the difficulties they face all due to the economy. It also has a section sub-titled as Most Dangerous Job in America.The reader later learns that meat slaughtering is indeed the most dangerous job, as the author takes you through all the gory details of how the cattle is raised, slaughtered, and processed. The book is closed with the deep discussion of America’s rising obesity rates and how the rest of the world is following the trend. Author’s style: Eric Schlosser’s writing style consists of many writing tactics that all make his book easy to read and quite enjoyable. One thing that I immediately noticed about his writing was that he is very descriptive in his stories and examples.He puts visual images in your head to make you feel like you are experiencing what he was at the time. Another thing that really stood out to me was how clear, matter of fact, and to the point he was. The last thing that stood out to me was how relatable his book was. Most of his information was linked with short stories of either his experience or the stories of the people he encountered while making the book. This made it easier to connect to the book as a reader. I also really enjoyed how he brought the book full circle from the beginning to the end.Examples that demonstrates the style: Schlosser was able to give the reader visual images when explaining different parts of the meat slaughtering process, “The slaughterhouse is an immense building, gray and square, about three stories high, with no windows on the front and no architectural clues to what’s happening inside. ” Schlosser demonstrated clear writing true factual statements such as “The three corporations now employ about 3. 7 million people worldwide, operate about 60,000 restaurants, and open a new fast food restaurant every two hours. His writing is to the point and is still able to impact the reader by making them think about the rapid expansion of these restaurants. In conclusion, I was able to relate to the topic of the book through some of the short stories of the hard working teens he interviewed in this book. For example, “Elisa had wanted to work at McDonald’s ever since she was a toddler-a felling shared by many of the McDonald’s workers I met in Colorado Springs. But now she hates the job and is desperate to quit. Working the counter, she constantly has to deal with rude remarks and complaints. I believe that many teenagers have been through a similar situation and many adults can remember a time when they did too. This makes the story a little more personable to the reader. Quote 1: “Hundreds of millions of people buy fast food every day without giving it much thought, unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ramifications of their purchases. They rarely consider where this food came from, how it was made, what it is doing to the community around them. They just grab their tray off the counter, find a table, take a seat, unwrap the paper and dig in….They should know what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. As the old saying goes: You are what you eat,” –page 10 Explanation: This is the opening and set-up of the book. It gives you a brief understanding of what the book is about and where it takes place. It gets the reader thinking about what they already know about fast food. It gives the reader a chance to relate to the text through his or her own fast food restaurant experiences. This sets up the reader’s entire perspective of the book and automatically sets a bad vibe toward fast food.Quote 2: “A survey of American schoolchildren found that 96 percent could identify Ronald McDonald. The only fictional character with a higher degree of recognition was Santa Claus. The impact of McDonald’s on the way we live today is hard to overstate. The Golden Arches are now more widely recognized than the Christian Cross” Explanation: This hard-hitting fact is added in to impact the readers by shocking them with the realization of the truth behind it. Its used to persuade readers to think of how much the fast food industry has become part of our society.Quote 3: “Obesity is now second only to smoking as a cause of mortality in the United States” – page 241 Explanation: This quote gives readers an opportunity to better understand reality. Fast food has a huge effect on America and is the leading cause of its obesity problems. The author is very persuasive by comparing obesity to something commonly known. The author wrote this book to persuade the readers to think about their fast food choices by giving the reader all the shocking and scaring facts that most people don’t know.Quote 4: “For years some of the most questionable ground beef in the United States was purchased by the USDA — and then distributed to school cafeterias throughout the country. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the USDA chose meat suppliers for its National School Lunch Program on the basis of lowest price, without imposing additional food safety requirements” –page 218 Explanation: The author chose to put this in because he is trying to persuade the reader to make a difference in the type of food that we give to our schools.He later goes on to say that, surely, we should be feeding the kids at these schools better quality food then they get at fast food restaurants. Quote 5: “In the USDA study 78. 6 percent of the ground beef contained microbes that are spread primarily by fecal matter… a simple explanation for why eating a hamburger can now make you seriously ill: There is shit in the meat” –page 197 Explanation: The unsettling nature of this quote subconsciously persuades the reader not to eat ground beef. It uses the statistic to give the importance behind the words, then simples it down in common phrasing to connect with the reader.It scares readers into not wanting to eat a hamburger due to the fact that they will get sick. Setting: The book starts in Southern California, “where it all began. ” This is where the first ever fast food restaurants originated. It then transfers to San Bernardino, California, the location of the very first Mc Donalds. This is extremely significant because of the amazing growth of the Mc Donalds chain over the past 74 years. Next, Schlosser talks about his trip to Oak Brook, Illinois where he visited the Ray Kroc Museum and the Mc Donalds University.At this University, future Managers and Franchisees are trained. This book also covers the growth of the fast food chains that takes place in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Next, Schlosser visits Aberdeen Idaho to see the JR Simplot Potato Plant that supplies most of the Mc Donalds fries. The author finally takes us to New Jersey, which is considered the “Flavor capital of the world” Key Figures: Name: Carl N Karcher Role: He was born in 1917 on a farm in Ohio. He dropped out of school in the 8th grade to work and dedicated 12-14 hours a day to the farm.After living his entire life in Ohio, at the age of 20, he got a job in California. He worked at a local, popular feed store about 76 hours a week. He then moved on to work at a bakery in Los Angeles for $24 an hour. This was 6 more then he got at the feed store. With his new profits, he bought a hot dog stand. This was such a success that 5 months later, he bought a second cart, and by 1944 he had a total of 4 functioning hot dog carts. Eventually he moved on to buy a restaurant that opened on Jan 16, 1945, which just so happened to be his 28th birthday. He called it Carl’s Drive-In Barbeque.When a competitors business opened nearby and seemed to be thriving with costumers, he decided to change his restaurant. He officially opened Carl’s J, a McDonalds-inspired restaurant, in 1956. This was the year the first superhighway was completed. By 1976, he had turned this into the largest fast food chain and in the 1980’s he started franchising Carl’s J restaurants. Significance: Carl started the trend for fast food restaurants by competing with McDonalds. He was the first burger restaurant in the area to be successful, encouraging the opening for McDonalds. His work helped build the trend of the fast food industry.Phrases with which the author characterizes the figure: The author referred to Carl as “one of the fast food industry’s pioneers. ” He was characterizing Carl a leading factor of the fast food industry. In a sense, Carl was almost a “founder” of fast food. He also calls Carl “a big form boy. ” I find it ironic that a born and raised farm boy grew up to be a businessman running the largest fast food chain in America. Name: Richard McDonald Role: Richard McDonald left New Hampshire for Southern California. In 1937, he opened a drive-in in Pasadena with carhops selling mainly hot dog.Just a few years later, he opened an even larger restaurant with his brother Maurice and called it McDonald Brother’s Burger Bar Drive-In. They strategically placed it right near a school to attract the students and families that attended there. Because of their location and young carhops, majority of their customers became young teenage boys that caused trouble. In the 1940’s, the brothers decided that they did not like drive-ins so they fired all of their carhops, got rid of anything on the menu that needed silverware, and only used paper cups/plates.This went on to be custom for all fast food restaurants. Significance: Richard was the first to run his restaurant like a factory assembly line, dividing the jobs so that each worker only needed to know how to one job. This saved lots of money for, not only him, but for all other fast food companies that later followed in his footsteps. He ultimately changed the popular way of eating from carhops to walk in and wait in line restaurants. He also designed the “golden arches” that are now one of the most commonly known symbols nationwide.Phrases with which the author characterizes the figure: When the author refers to Richard, he explains how he was “dissatisfied with the drive-in business,” and “tired of teenage customers. ” He also said “the McDonalds brother’s aimed for a much bigger clientele. ” I believe these phrases are significant to explaining Richard McDonald’s character because they all explain how he was passionate about wanting his business to grow larger and not be represented as a place for troubled teens to hangout. Name: Ray A. Kroc Role: Ray was born in Illinois in 1902 one year after Walt Disney, a man he knew and grew up with.They both dropped out of high school, served in the same World War 1 ambulance corps, then later fled to the Midwest and settled in southern California. What makes the two men so similar is not where they grew up or did in their younger years, it was their vision of America. As the author put it, they had “the same optimistic faith in technology and the same conservative political views. ” What he means by this is that both these men were able to see the fast food nation trend building and used it to their advantage. Walt Disney went on to be more successful in his rofits; however, Ray Kroc had a much bigger impact on society. He was the founder of the McDonalds Corporation. Significance: Ray played an important role in creating the fast food industry by founding the company that went on to symbolize corporate America. He took the McDonalds Brother’s service and spread it across the nation to create a fast food empire that relied on the McDonald standard created by Ray Kroc himself. His company inspired many imitators and designed the McDonalds mascot that is more famous the Mickey Mouse, which gave him lots of power over the economy.Phrases with which the author characterizes the figure: Ray was referred to as a “charming, funny, and indefatigable traveling salesman. ” This gives Ray the image of a good, young, hardworking man that wanted to grow his company. Another time, ray is said to have an “obsession with cleanliness and control. ” I like the mention of this because it became a known fact and thought that his company reflected this same personality. He was the face and image of the McDonald Corporation, and he was highly liked, helping to bloom the business. Significance of the opening scene:The opening scene draws you into the book right away by jumping right into a discussion about fast food and how it has wedged its way into every bit of American society. It uses an example of a common scenario that most every American has experienced at some point in their life. “Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cold air, walk in, get on line, study the backlit color photographs above the counter, place your order, hand over a few dollars, watch teenagers in uniforms pushing various buttons, and moments later take hold of a plastic tray full of food wrapped in colored paper and cardboard. I like this example because it gets the reader thinking of a time when they have done this exact thing. As it goes on to talk about how this routine has become custom, it sets up the entire book so the reader has a good understanding of what to expect as they continue reading. Significance of the closing scene: The closing scene brings the book back to the beginning of the book by using the same fast food scenario it opened with. The only difference is, it now explains the decision you might make after reading this book. Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cold air, walk inside, get in line, and look around you, look at the kids working in the kitchen, at the customers in their seats, at the ads for the latest toys, study the backlit color photographs above the counter, think about where the food came from, about how and where it was made, about what is set in motion by every single fast food purchase, the ripple effect near and far, think about it. Then place your order.Or turn and walk out the door. It’s not too late. Even in this fast food nation, you can still have it your way. ” The author leaves the choice to purchase the fast food up to the reader, which encourages the reader to think about the book and make their own judgment on if they would order the fast food given the chance. Argument Analysis In this book, Schlosser argues that fast food is not only dangerous to consume, but has also effected the world by turning in into a “fast food nation. At the beginning of the book, Schlosser garbs the readers attention by using a suspense factor in his writing. “Hundreds of millions of people buy fast food every day without giving it much thought, unaware of the subtle and not so subtle ramifications of their purchases. They rarely consider where this food came from, how it was made, what it is doing to the community around them. They just grab their tray off the counter, find a table, take a seat, unwrap the paper and dig in….They should know what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. As the old saying goes: You are what you eat,” With this, he takes the curiosity of the reader to his advantage by pulling you in and persuading you to feel strongly against fast food. To persuade the readers, he uses quotes and statistics to help the reader better understand the hidden dangers behind your common hamburger and fries. For example, “In the USDA study 78. percent of the ground beef contained microbes that are spread primarily by fecal matter… a simple explanation for why eating a hamburger can now make you seriously ill: There is shit in the meat. ” Just this shocking fact alone can make readers never want to eat a hamburger again. He also voices his opinion by directly quoting teens that worked at these fast food resturants and explaining how their stories merely represent thousands if teens all over the world.Schlosser also takes you through the meat slaughtering process with vivid details that makes the reader feel as if the almost experienced the tour as well. He closes the book by tying it back to the beginning and leaving the reader with a question of whether or not they would still buy fast food. He did this to leave the reader open to thinking about and reflecting what they’ve learned about fast food. Overall, this book persuaded me to take a personal vow to never eat fast food again.