AP 5-6 Sensational Summer Reading Assignment

“I believe that the free exploring mind of the individual human is the valuable thing in the world. This I would fight for; the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes armed with the freedom to examine, to imagine, to read.” – John Steinbeck

Your summer reading assignment will enable you to practice the imperative rhetorical analysis skills necessary for success in the course. You will practice the study of language while critically reading Eric Schlosser’s nonfiction book, Fast Food Nation:  The Dark Side of the All American Meal. The following review from Amazon.com provides an overview of Fast Food Nation.

"On any given day, one out of Americans chooses a quick and cheap meal at a fast restaurant without giving its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. The industry’s drive for consolidation, homogenization and speed has radically transformed America’s diet, landscape, economy, and workforce often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating exposé with an introduction to the iconoclasts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen, Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where potatoes and beef are grown into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations.  Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good and what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns. Schlosser’s investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meat packing plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. Schlosser’s searing portrayal of the fast food industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle, written in 1906; nightmare working conditions, union busting, unsanitary practices that introduce e. coli and other pathogens into restaurants, public schools and homes. Almost as disturbing is Schlosser’s description of how the industry both feeds and feeds off the young, insinuating itself into all aspects of children’s lives leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Schlosser investigates all aspects of the fast food industry and argues that eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behavior. Ask yourself; is the true cost of having it your way” really worth it?”

Step 1:

Create an Interactive Fast Food Nation Notebook using a half inch three ring binder. This binder will become your resource for Socratic Seminar discussions and writing assignments as we examine Fast Food Nation during the first two weeks of the school year.  Your Interactive Notebook will be turned in on the Monday of the first full week of school in August.

Step 2:

Critically read Fast Food Nation. Keep in mind that your reading isn’t about whether you agree or disagree with Eric Schlosser. Your critical reading needs to analyze the effectiveness of the rhetorical strategies Schlosser employs to construct his argument and how he attempts to sway his readers’ opinions. Organize your notebook by the following sections: Introduction, Chapters 1-10, Epilogue and Afterword. Each section needs to include an examination of the following rhetorical strategies.

Diction:The author’s choice of words and how the word choice contributes to the texture of the text. To evaluate diction, you must hear the words and feel their effect as they reflect the writer’s vision. What words does Schlosser choose to describe certain experiences? What words continually emerge? How does Schlosser’s word choice contribute to the overall tone of the chapter? Why does Schlosser consciously select certain words?

Detail:The facts, observations, incidents used to develop the topic and impart the writer’s voice.  Detail brings life, color, and description focusing the reader’s attention and bringing the reader into the scene. Detail can also be an understatement by lack of detail. What points does Schlosser include in his descriptions of events? What details add meaning and enrich the text?

Imagery: The representation of the sensory experience. All five senses may be represented and writers often experiment by mingling the senses. Images evoke a vivid experience, convey emotion, and suggest ideas. What images does Schlosser include in each section of the text? How does he appeal to the senses? What is the implication of his use of imagery?

Tone: The expression of attitude. Tone is the writer’s implied attitude toward his/her subject and audience. Tone is the hallmark of the writer’s purpose and understanding tone is the requisite to understanding meaning. What is Schlosser’s attitude toward his experiences in each section of the book? How does he communicate his purpose? How does his tone change from one section to the next?

Appeals: Three appeals need to be examined: logos/logic, pathos/emotion, and ethos/credibility. Writers use appeals to connect to their readers. Examine how Schlosser appeals to the logical side of the reader. What logical arguments does he make? How does he evoke an emotional response? How does he establish credibility? How is he an authority on a certain issue? Why is he worth listening to? Please refer to the following article Classical Rhetoric and Aristotle for a further discussion of the appeals.

Step 3:

Discussion Guide Questions. As you critically read and examine the text, respond to the questions with admirable thoroughness and thoughtfulness expected of an AP student.

Step 4:

Research the life of Eric Schlosser. Google him!! Watch a video of him revealing his reasons for writing the book. Create a one-page review of his life and his accomplishments. Include a works cited of sources used.

Step 5:

Research Literary Criticisms on Fast Food Nation and Eric Schlosser. How is the book viewed? Include a criticism, Mark the Text and write a page reaction to the criticism. Do you agree or disagree with the criticism?

Step 6:

Create an Advertisement Analysis. Select an advertisement for fast food. Include a copy of the advertisement in your notebook. Write a well-developed paragraph in which you identify, analyze and evaluate the persuasive techniques used in the ad. What is the focal point of the ad? Who is the target audience? What is the ad attempting to convince the audience to do? Does the ad use color effectively? What feeling is the ad trying to produce? What seems to be the ad’s primary persuasive technique? Overall, how persuasive is this ad?

I am looking forward to a challenging, and rewarding year in Advanced Placement Language and Composition, AP English 5-6. I know you are dedicated to academic excellence and will embrace this assignment with passionate conviction, Enjoy your vacation and the Sensational Summer Reading Experience!!!

Mrs. Mary Murphy-Tick

English Teacher

North Canyon High School

Classical Rhetoric and Aristotle

Aristotle defined rhetoric as “an ability, in each (particular) case, to see the available means of persuasion.” Some means are external to the argumentation, i.e. blackmail or threats. However, others means of persuasion are internal to an argument; logos, pathos, and ethos.


The main concern in an argumentation-persuasion presentation should be with the logos, or soundness, of your argument. This includes the facts, statistics, examples, and authoritative statements you gather to support your viewpoint. This supporting evidence must be unified, specific, sufficient, accurate, and representative. Imagine, for instance, you want to convince people that a popular charity misappropriates the money it receives from the public. Your readers, inclined to believe in the good works of the charity, will probably dismiss evidence that enhances your position unless your reasoning, or Logos, is very sound.


Sensitivity to the pathos, or the emotional power of languages, is another key consideration for creators of argumentation-persuasion presentations. Pathos appeals to a viewpoint or course of action. The pathos of a piece derives partly from the communicators’ choice of language. Connotative language, for example, are words with strong emotional overtones and have the ability to move the audience to accept a point of view and may even spur them to act. Adolf Hitler, during World War II, was very effective with the use of propaganda filled with elements of pathos in order to convince the country and rally support for his cause.


Finally, whenever presenting any argument or persuasion, the establishment of ethos, or credibility and reliability is very important. The audience cannot be expected to accept or act on your viewpoint unless you convince them that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re worth listening to. You will come across as knowledgeable and trustworthy if you present a logical, reasoned argument that takes opposing views into account. It is also important to make sure that the appeals to emotion are not excessive. Too much emotionalism tends to undercut credibility.


The delivery of any good argumentation-persuasion presentation involves an interplay of logos, pathos, and ethos. The exact balance among these factors is determined by the audience and purpose, that is, whether or not you want them to take action. For the execution of this, the presentation should be tailored to the audience and its needs, how much the audience knows about the issue, how they feel about you and your position, what their values and attitudes are, and what motivates them should all be taken into account.

The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Eric Schlosser

Study Guide

Readers must trust the good character, fairness, and reliability of the writer before they are willing to accept his arguments. The philosopher Aristotle called this quality ethos. Analyze the ways Eric Schlosser establishes his ethos, helping the audience to trust the writer and see the importance of his investigation of the fast food industry.  Be sure to explore the chapter fully, particularly the second half.


How does the amount spent on the fast food compare with the amount spent on other things in our society?

Why is fast food worth studying?

What are some of the observations about McDonald’s made by the author?

What does the author say about independent farmers?

What does the author say about the political clout of the meat packing industry?

According to the author, why did he write this book?

Chapter 1:

Some readers find it counterproductive to Schlosser’s argument against the fast food industry that he would create such a sympathetic portrait of fast food pioneer, Carl Karcher. Discuss the relevance of providing this background information in formulating an argument.

Chapter 1 “The Founding Fathers:"

What restaurant chain did Carl Karcher start?

Why did General Motors want to buy trolley systems throughout the U.S.?

What was the Speedee Service System, and how was it different from what other fast food restaurants were doing?

What were some of the characteristics of the men who started the fast food industry?

What were some of the other fast food restaurants that were inspired by the McDonald’s approach to food service?

Chapter 2:

Analyze how Schlosser’s strategy of comparison between Disney and McDonald’s, and their founders, make important points about the fast food industry and their marketing strategies.

Chapter 2 “You Trusted Friends”:

What are some of the parallels between Ray Kroc and Walt Disney?

How does the author describe Walt Disney and Ray Kroc’s involvement in politics?

What is synergy in marketing, and what are some of the ways that fast food companies practice synergy?

Why, in the 1980s, did companies start marketing to and what were some of they ways in which they did this?

How successful have efforts been to limit advertising aimed at children? What does the author say about marketing fast food products in the schools?

Chapter 3 “Behind the Counter”:

In what ways is Colorado Springs today much like southern California?

What new businesses have moved into Colorado Springs in recent years?

What type of business is the largest private employer in the state of Colorado? How does McDonald’s decide where to build new restaurants?

Why are so many fast food employees teenagers?

What is “throughput” From where did the term come, and how does it apply to the fast food industry?

What is meant by McDonald’s English”?

What is the average job turnover rate in the fast food industry?

How has the “real value” of wages at fast food restaurants changed over time?

How has the fast food industry responded to efforts to unionize its workers?

What are the benefits and costs of having teenagers work after school?

What is the impact of the Fair Labor Standards Act and of Colorado state law on the hours that kids in Colorado Springs can work at fast food restaurants?

What does the author say about robbery and murder in fast food restaurants?

Who is often responsible for committing robberies of fast food restaurants?

How has the fast food industry responded to efforts by OHSA to reduce workplace violence?

Chapter 4:

Analyze how Schlosser explores irony in this chapter titled “Success” through his focus on Dave Feamster’s Little Caesar franchise and the concluding spokespeople (especially Reeves) at the sales seminar.

Chapter 4 “Success”:

What was different about the way McDonald’s franchised businesses?

How does the cost of MacDonald’s franchise compare with the cost of a franchise from other fast food chains?

How does the failure rate of franchises in general compare with that of other businesses?

Among franchises what is “encroachment”?

What are some of the disadvantages of running a franchise?

What fast food chain is considered the worst in its treatment of franchisees?

Chapter 5:

Scientifically, Schlosser argues that a key factor in the success of the fast food industry is artificial flavor and coloring. What is the effect of his description of “A typical artificial strawberry flavor, like the kind found in a Burger King strawberry milkshake,...”

Chapter 5 “Why the Fries Taste Good”:

What connection does J.R. Simplot have to the fast food industry?

How have the potato farms in Idaho changed in the last 25 years or so?

What is PGI and how successful has it been at organizing potato farmers?

What is the “fallacy of composition”?

What make McDonald’s French fries taste different from the fries of other fast food restaurants?

What are some of the similarities and some of the differences between artificial flavors” and natural flavors?

Chapter 6:

“For a moment, we sat quietly on top of the hill, staring at the speedway bathed in twilight, at this oval strip of pavement, this unsettling omen” (135). What is the primary rhetorical purpose of the sentence, in relation to the entire chapter?

Chapter 6 “On the Range”:

What are some of the problems facing cattle ranchers?

What impact has the consolidation of the meat packing industry had on cattle ranchers?

What are “captive supplies” of cattle?

What was the impact of the Chicken McNugget on the poultry industry?

What are the conditions or terms of business under which most poultry farmers operate?

How does the nutritional value of a McNugget compare with that of a hamburger?

Why would small independent cattle ranchers be afraid to speak out against the practices of large meat processors?

Which type of cattle rancher is currently facing the greatest economic difficulty?

How does the suicide rate for ranchers and farmers compare with the rate for US. citizens in general?

Chapter 7:

Upton Sinclair argues in his novel The Jungle “Human beings, had been made cogs in the great packing machine.” Who is Schlosser arguing are the “Cogs in the Great Machine” in this chapter? Evaluate the analogy.

Chapter 7 “Cogs in the Great Machine”:

What changes did IBP introduce to the meat packing industry?

Why were newer meat packing plants located in rural areas rather than in cities?

What were the links between IBP and organized crime?

What has been the relationship between labor unions and modern meat packing plants?

How do wages in meat packing plants today compare with wages in the early 1900s, after the workers became unionized?

How high is the employee turnover rate in the meat packing industry and why don’t the meat packing plants see this as a problem?

Where do meat packing companies go to recruit new employees?

What is the impact on small communities of having a meat packing firm?

Chapter 8:

Schlosser concludes “The Most Dangerous Job” accounting the trials of Kenny Dobbins. What is the effect of his placing the dramatic story at the conclusion of the chapter rather than at the beginning of the chapter? Do you see similar patterns of organization in other Schlosser’s chapters? If so, which chapters?

Chapter 8 “The Most Dangerous Job”:

How does the injury in meatpacking compare with the injury rate in other occupations?

What kinds of injuries do workers in meatpacking plants typically suffer?

What is the impact on workers of speeding up the line in meatpacking plants?

Why don’t more workers complain about safety conditions in the plants?

What role do supervisors play in the reporting of workplace injuries in meat processing plants?

What does the author describe as the most dangerous type of work in these plants and what kind of injuries do these workers risk?

What has been the impact of allowing plants to maintain their own injury logs

How has the authority of OSHA changed over time?

What does the author think about claims that meat packing plants have a great deal of concern about the health and well being of their workers?

From a worker’s point of view, what are some of the problems with Colorado’s Workers’ Compensation Law?

Chapter 9:

Analyze how Schlosser combines logical and emotional appeals in this chapter to create an effective message. In other words, how does he manage all this scientific data, making it easier to understand and read? Cite specific strategies such as diction, analogy, facts, cause, and effect.

Chapter 9 “What’s in the Meat”:

Compared with several decades ago, how common are food-related illnesses today?

How had the centralization of food production influenced the spread of food-related illnesses?

What authority does the U.S Government have to demand the recall of tainted meat?

What are most of the microbes in meat spread by?

What was the first national hamburger chain and what did it do to try to change the image of the hamburger?

What are the effects of E. coli 0157:H7 on the human body?

What are some of the ways people can be infected with E. coli 0157:H7?

What kinds of things are fed to cattle? (Things that might facilitate the spread of pathogens?)

How does the risk of contamination for ground beef compare with the risk of contamination of whole cuts of beef?

Why is the author concerned about the use of older dairy cattle to make ground beef?

How has the meatpacking industry generally responded to health concerns about the nations’ beef?

What was the Streamlined Inspection System launched by the USDA?

How did the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant chain respond to its outbreak of salmonella?

What criticism does the author have of the current recall system for tainted meat?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of irradiating meat?

What kind of meat is selected for consumption in public schools?

Chapter 10:

History, places, people, and events are often alluded to in this chapter. Cite at least three specific examples, and explain how these are appropriate illustrations for advancing Schlosser’s argument.

Chapter 10 “Global Realization”:

Why did the author visit Plauen, Germany?

In a discussion of fast food corporations, why is it important to talk about the overseas' operations?

In foreign countries, what group does most fast food advertising target?

In what ways might there be a connection between the obesity rate in America and the fast food industry?

Why is obesity a problem for American Society as a whole?

What kind of business is the most frequent target of anti-American protests in foreign countries, and what kinds of groups engage in these protests?

What did London Greenpeace do to protest McDonald’s, and what was McDonald’s response?

What does the author think Congress should do about food safety and working conditions in the fast food industry?


An epilogue is actually a conclusion, which, generally, looks to the future from where a book ends. Explain how the content of this chapter is an appropriate conclusion to Schlosser’s criticism of the fast food industry.  How, and why, does he employ specific facts and illustrations?

Epilogue, “Have it Your Way”:

In what ways are restaurants like Conway’s Red Top and In-N-Out different from McDonald’s and most other fast food chains?

What does the author think should be done about advertising unhealthy foods to children?

What does the author say about the safety of the U.S. food supply compared with that of other countries?


An afterword is included to provide additional information after the initial publication of the book.  Why would this additional information be relevant to Schlosser’s argument? Discuss how the content of this chapter helps bolster, or discredit Schlosser’s ethos, particularly the sections titled “wrong, wrong, wrong”.

“I believe that the free exploring mind of the individual human is the valuable thing in the world. This I would fight for; the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes armed with the freedom to examine, to imagine, to read.” – John Steinbeck



A:  Superior

  • Rhetorically analyzes the text fully and explores the issues thoughtfully; clearly fulfills the assignment
  • Show substantial depth and complexity of thought
  • Demonstrates clear, focused, unified, and coherent organization
  • Ideas are fully developed and detailed
  • Evidences superior word choice, sentence variety, and transitions; may have rare spelling or punctuation flaws

C:  Competent

  • Adequately analyzes the text and explores the issues; fulfills most of the assignment
  • Shows clarity of thought but may lack complexity
  • Is organized
  • Ideas are adequately developed, with some detail
  • Demonstrates competent writing; may have some spelling or punctuation flaws



F:  Inadequate

  • Demonstrates serious inadequacy in one or more of the areas specified for the D paper, OR,
  • Fails in its attempt to discuss the topic
  • May be deliberately off-topic
  • Is so incompletely developed as to suggest or demonstrate incompetence

A   = 200 - 180

B   = 179 - 160

C   = 159 - 140

D   = 139 - 120

F   =     0 - 119

B:  Strong

  • Rhetorically analyzes the text and explores the issues; fulfills the assignment
  • Show some depth and complexity of thought
  • Is effectively organized
  • Ideas are well developed, with supporting detail
  • Demonstrates strong word choice, sentence variety, and transitions; may have a few spelling or punctuation flaws

D:  Weak

  • May distort or neglect parts of the assignment
  • May be simplistic or stereotyped in thought
  • May demonstrate problems in organization
  • May have generalizations without supporting detail or detail without generalizations; may be underdeveloped
  • May show patterns of flaw in vocabulary, sentence variety, or transitions; spelling or punctuation problems
  1. ________/ 50 Chapters 1-10 Rhetorical Analysis
  2. ________/ 50 Chapters 1-10 Discussion Guide Responses
  3. ________/ 30 Biographical Information
  4. ________/ 40 Literary Criticism
  5. ________/ 30 Advertisement  and Analysis

           ________/200 Final Score

Example of Step 2:

Critically read Fast Food Nation.

Analysis of Rhetorical Structure

Introduction: Chapter 1

Rhetorical Strategy




“And yet Cheyenne Mountain is hardly pristine.” (1)

The word pristine is often associated with purity, something with a positive connotation.  By describing the mountain as not pristine, Schlosser gives the impression that the mountains are soiled by secrets.


“When the men and women stationed at Cheyenne Mountain get tired of the food in the cafeteria, they often send somebody over to the Burger King at Fort Carson.” (2)

Schlosser describes a place filled with food, yet people often leave to get fast food from a massive chain such as Burger King or Dominos.  This detail is included to show that food has become something as a novelty to Americans rather than something necessary for their survival.


“Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cool air, walk in, get in line, study the backlit color photographs above the counter...take hold of a plastic tray full of food wrapped in colored paper and cardboard.” (3)

Schlosser appeals to the sense of sight in this excerpt, emphasizing the use of color in the fast food industry.  He does this to show the reader how the fast food industry manipulates their love for things that are bright to draw them in and create and experience rather than just a meal.


“The place feels like the set of an early James Bond movie with men in jumpsuits driving little electric vans from on brightly lit cavern to another.” (2)

In this portion where he likens the structure to the set of an early James Bond movie, Schlosser sounds thoughtful and amused.  He likely employs this playful tone because so early in the book he wants to engage the readers and capture their imaginations rather than coming across as heavy and detached.


“This is a book about fast food, the value it embodies, and the world it has

Schlosser tells us in this portion why he chose to write this book.  This helps develop his ethos and build credibility because he outlines his motives and intentions simply from the very beginning of the

Example of Step 3:

Discussion Guide Questions


Ethos is important for an author to develop, especially when creating a nonfiction piece of work.  Eric Schlosser develops his credibility in several ways. To create trust, Schlosser tells us at the very beginning of the book, on the third page, why he chose to write this book.  This helps develop his ethos and build credibility because he outlines his motives and intentions simply from the very beginning of the book. In addition, he cites the work of other experts on the topic, such as farm activist and writer of Eat Your Heart Out, Jim Hightower.

  1. The amount spent on fast food in our society exceeds spending on higher education, technology, cars, and entertainment combined.
  2. Fast food is worth studying because it is a reflection of the social, economic, and technological trends of our culture.
  3. The author makes several observations about McDonald’s, including the fact that the company hires more employees than any other public or private corporation.  In addition, their advertising and marketing is groundbreaking; McDonald’s is the most recognized brand in the world and more kids are familiar with Ronald McDonald that Santa Claus.
  4. The author says that corporations, not independent farmers, wield control over our nation’s food supply.  Independent farmers are hardly that anymore. They serve as hired hands for large corporation and as a result, rural communities are more prisoners than farmers.
  5. The meatpacking industry has enormous political power.  Because of the meatpackers’ allies in Congress, the government can’t even recall tainted meat.
  6. According to Eric Schlosser, he wrote Fast Food Nation because of its impact on kids.  He also wanted to trace the influences of fast food and shed light onto the darker parts of the industry, those hidden from the public.

Chapter 1

Schlosser's argument was actually strengthened by painting a sympathetic portrait of Carl Kartcher.  By providing background information about the men who pioneered the fast food industry, he proves to us that fast food was not always super incredibly way that it is today.  Because he goes out of his way to remind the readers that the fast food industry had humble, pure beginnings, he proves to us that is can be that way again, an idea that he will likely explore later in the book when criticizing the industrialization of the food industry.

Example of Step 4:

Research the life of Eric Schlosser

Welp 1

Sydney Welp

Mrs. Murphy-Tick

AP English 5-6

13 August 2012

Eric Schlosser

Ever since he was a boy, Eric Schlosser has always been passionate about learning new things.  As a young man, Schlosser earned a degree in American History at the well-respected Princeton University.  Upon his graduation, he tried his hand at several different paths in the writing profession such as playwright, screenwriter and novelist.  Later in life he finally found his calling in journalism, becoming a regular correspondent for the magazine Atlantic Monthly and contributed articles to other publications often.

What began as an assignment for Rolling Stone became Eric Schlosser’s most favorite work, a cutting criticism on America’s fast food industry titled Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All American Meal.  Although at first hesitant to take on the assignment, Schlosser was driven by his desire to uncover anything that he believed was “kept from people or deceptive.”  Likened to a modern day version of The Jungle’s Upton Sinclair, Eric Schlosser and his controversial book swept America by storm.

Example of Works Cited in Step 4:

Research the life of Eric Schlosser

Welp 3

Works Cited

Schlosser, Eric.  “Eric Schlosser on Obesity, Kinds, and Fast Food PR.”  Interview by Jonathan

Rosenblum.  PRWatch.org. Center for Media and Democracy, 17 Nov 2006.  Web. 6 Aug.2012.

“Eric Schlosser’s Biography.”  Drury University. Drury University, 3 Dec. 2010.  Web. 6 Aug. 2012.

Good web information:  https://sites.google.com/a/fsh.echalk.com/fast-food-nation-analysis/