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THE LEARNING CONNECTION Assignment: Choose one of the first four chapters of Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation to focus on in a detailed, 3-5 page argument analysis. Make connections between the author’s composition and wording, and his content (the main point of the chapter). [Instructor comments appear in bold, italic font within brackets below.] Success: 2 Fast, 2 Furious. [Good title! You play on the title of Schlosser’s chapter (“Success”) in a way that is both funny and indicative of what you will say about his criticisms of Laser Cutting Machines Market Insights Shared In Detailed Report by Credenceresearch.com fast food industry.] Human beings Arjowiggins to sell Arjowiggins Graphic and Arjowiggins Creative Papers to Fineska always dwelled on competition and success – from the first tribal wars of the earliest humans, to the bloody franchise wars of the twentieth century’s booming fast food industry. Eric Schlosser defines and analyzes what it means to be successful in one of the world’s largest industries in the fourth chapter of his book, Fast Food Nation. It is clear through his argument that the author believes there is a large gap between the success of those at the top and bottom of the fast food industry. Schlosser uses a great mix of techniques to prove his point. By showing us conflicting viewpoints, using irony, tying in religious references, and giving personal stories, Schlosser is able to most effectively prove that success is not equally attainable for all fast-food workers. The various viewpoints that Schlosser presents are integral to his argument because they illustrate the large gaps between success and failure in the fast food industry. When a restaurant owner takes his crew to Avoid Common Mistakes on the Medical School Personal Statement conference meant to teach success techniques to upper-middle-class business professionals, Schlosser notes that, “The Little Caesars employees have seats just a few yards from the stage. They have never seen anything like Lilies of the Valley before” (105). The few fast food workers at the conference are surrounded by an upper class of business professionals they are not accustomed to, and whom they view as the epitome of a success they will never know. Schlosser gives us their viewpoint to emphasize the difference between the employees and professionals so that we can understand the discrepancies between success levels. One of the workers, Rachael Vasquez, “can hardly believe that she’s sitting among so many people who own their own businesses, among so many executives in suits and ties” (105). To Rachael and the other workers, the success the professionals have is something esoteric, abstract, and inaccessible. Schlosser’s point here is that the lifestyle associated with financial success is so alien to the fast food workers that it is clear they could never envision themselves ever attaining that level of success, as defined by mainstream society and the fast food industry. However, Schlosser then goes on to present a diametrically different definition of success in the last paragraph, with a retrospective quote from a Christopher Reeve speech. Reeve is quoted, “Since my accident, I’ve been realizing… that success means something quite different [from attaining wealth] ” (107). [Where and when is Reeve saying this, and why do you say it is “retrospective”?] This opposite viewpoint shows that Reeve’s idea of success differs greatly from the idea assimilated by the fast food industry, which are largely materialistic. Rather than value money and wealth, Reeve understands that success is largely metaphysical. His perspective clashes with other viewpoints to show just how shallow the fast food industry really is. Here, Reeve is used as a metaphor for the goodness in our society – a loud, frustrated, helpless, but ultimately disregarded cry for sanity in a culture gone mad over greed. By giving us these contrasting viewpoints, Schlosser’s argument is enhanced with a virtual debate over who actually realizes success, and what that even means. Schlosser goes on to dissect the meaning of success using compelling irony because it shows just how shameless the fast-food chains really are towards their workers, and how self-centered their general beliefs really are. The most emotionally powerful irony in the chapter is directly after the previously mentioned Christopher Reeve speech when, as Schlosser states, “Moments after Reeve is wheeled off the stage, Jack Groppel, the next speaker, walks up to the microphone and starts his pitch” (107). The fact that Groppel, and presumably others in the audience so quickly abandon Reeve’s words of wisdom displays that the idea the industry has of success is hard-set. If not even the earth-shattering words of Christopher Reeve can knock sense into the heads of a room of business professionals, then nothing short of a miracle will, because they are heartless in their tactics. The irony is that the reader would never expect for Reeve’s words to be so hastily thrown out by someone with any more than a miniscule of humanity. The heartlessness of fast-food practices is shown to have been praised by Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s, when he says, “Eventually I opened a McDonald’s across the street from that store [the original McDonald brothers’ restaurant]which they had renamed The Big M… and it ran them out of business” (97). He brags here that he ran the McDonalds brothers’ first restaurant out of business, in a classic example of the apprentice vanquishing his teacher. Schlosser highlights this irony because it stirs up emotion in the reader, as Kroc’s words appear cold-hearted and ruthless, with no gratitude, compassion, or sympathy for the brothers who sold him the business he used to build a fast food empire. Ray Kroc personifies the attitude of the entire fast food industry, with its cutthroat, swindling practices. The irony presents the reader with an emotional reaction, and realization that the fast food industry is a cold, Darwinist institution with no consideration for those who do not achieve success. Schlosser’s use of religious references is powerful rhetoric because it demonstrates the seemingly almighty appearance of the fast food restaurants. He compares fast food owners to religious leaders when he says, “Like other charismatic leaders of new faiths, Kroc asked people to Avoid Common Mistakes on the Medical School Personal Statement up their former lives and devote themselves fully to McDonalds” (95). Schlosser is emphasizing through the Kroc example that franchisees were expected to take on a restaurant as if it were a new religion, and thereby absorb fast-food values in lieu of religious ones. Through tough contracts, and high franchising fees, the author makes it clear that the restaurant owners of today are expected to make the same commitments. This is due to the industry’s pseudo-religious premise that “the meek shall no longer inherit the earth; the go-getters will get it and everything that goes with it” (106). This mentality is blasphemous to traditional, more humble beliefs, but Schlosser explains by these words that traditional religion “seems hopelessly out of date” (106) in our fast paced society. The result is that there is a wide gap between those who are aggressive and money-making, and the typical worker who never becomes a model of success. In order for this system to thrive, a new way of thinking is necessary to justify it. Schlosser describes this new way of thinking as a sort of fast-food religion, which facilitates the widening of the gap between those who achieve success, and those who are doomed to fail. [Excellent point about Schlosser’s use of religious rhetoric; not only is this something I hadn’t seen, but your explanation aptly ties this to the “new way of thinking” demanded for “success” in the industry.] Through personal stories, Schlosser hopes to stir additional emotion in the reader as well as grant some humanity to the fast-food workers who are largely overlooked in our fast food culture. Schlosser decides to start the chapter Lowline Labs urban garden is taking back public spaces the story of Mathew Kabong, a pizza delivery boy. He goes into great deal about Kabong’s looks, attitude, and job condition. Although most people normally pay little attention to what goes on behind the scenes during a pizza delivery, Schlosser goes into detail how “a little white girl with blonde hair, about seven years old, smiles at this big Nigerian bringing pizza, hands him fifteen dollars, takes the food, and tells him to keep the change.” (91) Pizza delivery persons, like other fast food workers, have long been treated as an expendable resource; they are not much more than mere “units” to be managed in the eyes of a franchise. Schlosser gives us the story of a kid we can relate to, because he knows that it will add some dimension to these otherwise dehumanized workers who fix us our food. He is able to show us their story, and thereby relate to us their unsuccessfulness, because it is much easier to relate to the story of a worker if we can visualize them working, and put ourselves in their shoes. The author also gives us a personal story of a franchisee, Feamster, who started as a hockey player and then ended up a Little Caesar’s owner. Schlosser tells us how “it took Feamster three years to pay off his initial debt. Today he owns five Little Caesars restaurants… his annual revenues are about 2.5 million” (103). Feamster’s story is important so that we will have some compassion for him, as well as a franchisee. At the same time however, it helps Schlosser’s argument because we get to see how much more successful he is than a typical worker. Even though Feamster is a nice guy, his workers still don’t attain the same level of success that he is privy to. Personal stories help Schlosser’s argument by giving us a look into the lives of real workers to help us evaluate their success, and compare them to each other. Schlosser uses many techniques for a powerful argument in the fourth chapter of his book, Fast Food Nation. By showing us conflicting viewpoints, using irony, tying in religious references, and giving Here Are the Citations for the Anti-Diversity Manifesto Circulating at Google stories, Schlosser is able to most effectively prove that success is not equally attainable for all fast-food workers, but is a privilege restricted to those on top. [This sentence of your conclusion repeats a little too neatly the wording of your thesis; this is one of the only places in your paper that seems a bit formulaic.] Chapter Four, “Success,” builds upon all the ideas in the previous chapters, and boils everything to one critical point: what makes up success. By narrowing down his argument to the basic principles of success and failure, Schlosser is able to provoke greater emotion and understanding in the reader. Not only do we all either succeed or fail, but it is up to us to define our own success. Generally though, success is inaccessible for the common worker in the fast food industry, as the gap between those who make it and those who don’t is too large and established. [Very coherent paper: you keep the term “success” (and the problems with the fast-food industry’s notions of it) at the heart of your paper, coming back to it in your thesis, in each of your body paragraphs, and again in your conclusion. Your reader is thus able to see how Schlosser’s various examples and argument strategies are unified around a central idea.] Instructor end comment: [This paper NPR letters: The tedious a pleasure to read. It helped me to see things about the chapter I hadn’t noticed, and to make connections between a variety of points. Structurally, you maintain a clear focus, making new and interesting points in each paragraph, showing originality and a keen eye for detail. I am also impressed with the way you find precise, brief quotations from Schlosser’s text to support you throughout the paper, and without over-quoting, spend the greater part of your paragraphs on your own ideas and reasoning. Possible area for improvement: a couple of points need clearer explanation (remember to imagine your reader as someone who has not read the chapter; you need to succinctly explain what is going on). However, this is a very strong paper showing original thinking, often stylish writing, and an excellent grasp of the reading and assignment.] ** Minor mechanical errors/typos have been corrected by the creators of CHARLIE.