Persuasive Author’s Arguments in Fast Food Nation Book

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In a book based largely on facts, Fast Food Nation is riddled with rhetorical strategies which prove to convince the reader of the author’s side. These strategies support the author’s argument and provide a more effective argument, with the use of techniques such as imagery and ethos. They provide an argument that is more receptive to the reader and strengthen the already provided facts.

Fast Food Nation has heavy imagery, painting both pretty pictures and ugly ones. The imagery used lets the reader feel as though they are there and more vividly imagine them. When Schlosser visits Colorado Springs, he describes a scene with, “All the trailers look the same, slightly ragged around the edges, lined up in neat rows. Kabong parks the car, and when the radio and the headlights shut off, the streets suddenly feel empty and dark. Then somewhere a dog barks, the door of a nearby trailer opens, and light spills onto the gravel driveway.” A reader can imagine as if they are really there, interviewing this man along with him. The set scene also makes the interview seem much more personal to the reader. As a contrast, Schlosser also uses details such as, “I see: a man reach inside a cattle and pull out their kidneys with his bare hands, then drop the kidneys down a metal chute, over and over again, as each animal passes by him; a stainless steel rack of tongues; Whizzards peeling meat off decapitated heads, picking them almost as clean as the white skulls painted by Georgia O’Keeffe.” This detailed scene disturbs the reader, the mechanical way they prepare a previously living animal for consumption, and the way these things no longer seem to bother the people who work there. The imagery of the writer provokes different emotions within the reader, effectively supporting the author’s points, such as showing the horrors of the meat industry and the slaughterhouses.

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The author also uses appeal to pathos, ethos, and logos throughout the book. Schlosser uses logos by the facts he presents to make his case. Usually he uses pathos along with logos, a way to make these facts appeal emotionally to the reader. For example, he provides the statistic, “Roughly four or five fast food workers are now murdered on the job every month.” However, he then appeals to pathos with providing an actual story of this such as, “…a jury convicted a former employee of first degree murder for the execution style slayings of three teenage workers and a female manager at a Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant. […] The bodies lay in an empty restaurant as burglar alarms rang, game lights flashed, a vacuum cleaner ran, and Chuck E. Cheese mechanical animals continued to perform children’s songs.” This depiction appeals emotionally to the readers, making the statistic into something real and heart-wrenching. Schlosser also appeals to ethos by showing his expertise through his thorough research and providing hard facts with his argument, along with demonstrating writing that is not overly biased but still shows his perspective.

The use of these strategies only serves to reinforce the argument, and allow the readers to be more persuaded by Schlosser’s point. Without the use of these strategies, the book would just be a textbook of facts with no real persuasion to the author’s point of view and the case being made would be significantly less convincing.

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