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Dark Side of the American Meal or Fast Food Nation: Critical Analysis

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A person can tell much about a society by what and how it eats. In Eric Schlosser, “Fast Food Nation,” it covers the impacts that fast food joints have had in America and other nations as well. After reading one might realize how much harm fast food has been to society. Schlosser highlights the changes American families have made in the past years while restaurants have been emerging on every street corner in the United States.

Fast food has changed the way that Americans eat. Before it was unimaginable to think about eating out for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but it is now a “norm” for current civilization. “A generation ago, three-quarters of the money used to buy food in the United States was spent to prepare meals at home. Today about half of the money used to buy food is spent at restaurants--mainly at fast food restaurants” (page 4). It is impossible to go anywhere without seeing the “golden arches” or taco bell, or any other fast food restaurant. Corporations have made meals cheap, tasty, and convenient for families on the go. One thing that fast food is good for is job opportunities. With so many restaurants being built daily it leads to jobs for teenagers and others who have difficulties getting jobs. The American Dream is more achievable. An individual can get a job easily at fast food restaurants; everywhere one can look they will most likely see a “we are hiring” sign on their front door. An employee might not make substantial amounts of money, but having a job is one step closer to accomplishing their American dreams.

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In Scholssers essay, it covered a plethora of transformations with labor, health, landscapes and many other such things. Since fast food restaurants are low-skilled work places, it was easy to get young teenagers job with low pay. The turnover rate in these types of work conditions is excessive compared to other jobs. These corporations do not care about their employees and make the job so easy, one is simply replaceable. Large corporations, most anyways, only care about the money and production that one is making, not about the individual's life situation or health. “Congress should ban advertising that preys upon children, it should stop subsidizing dead-end jobs, it should pass tougher food safety laws, it should protect American workers from serious harm, it should fight against dangerous concentrations of economic power” (page 267). Landscape and location is a huge factor of where a Mcdonald's, chick-f-la, or any other main restaurant is built. A capitalist will build where they think that their cooperation will make the most money at. One would not build a seafood restaurant in Oklahoma where there is no fresh water located near this state. There are several factors when coming to where they will build their next restaurant. While there may be many factors that come to planting and building up restaurants, it does not mean that they are doing it the right way. Throughout the entire book, Schlosser uses rhetorical assaults on capitalism in the fast food industry.

In the jungle by Upton Sinclair, the meatpacking industry was a disgusting and revolutionary discovery. After reading Fast Food Nation, one would realize that it still resembles the jungle. “The meatpacking industry's response to The Jungle established a pattern that would be repeated throughout the twentieth century, whenever health concerns were raised about the nation's beef. The industry has repeatedly denied that problems exist, impugned the motives of its critics, fought vehemently against federal oversight, sought to avoid any responsibility for outbreaks of food poisoning, and worked hard to shift the costs of food safety efforts onto the general public” (page 204). There have been several problems when it comes to the meatpacking industry in America. In Scholossers essay, he describes what they do with the meat to make it taste better after being frozen for so long. There are still laws and regulations that need to be passed and forced to several fast food restaurants.

After reading one will see that fast food is convenient and easy to pick up while on the go, but is not the healthiest option to consume. Schlosser did a great job in exposing the life of these industries and what impact they have made on American society today. There has been many changes to how one eats and what they consume in the twentieth century. Schlosser also commented in his essay, “Twenty years ago, teenage boys in the United States drank twice as much milk as soda; now they drink twice as much soda as milk” (page 54). In conclusion, maybe one should think about eating at home before going to a fast food restaurant in the future.

Work Cited

  1. Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation: the Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Mariner Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
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Dark Side of the American Meal or Fast Food Nation: Critical Analysis. (2022, December 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 11, 2023, from
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