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Comparitive/Contrast Assessment on Fast Food Nation and the Jungle

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*Comparative/Contrast Assessment*: Fast Food Nation **and The Jungle Similar to the many real-life stories told by Schlosser in his written depiction of the fast food industry, The Jungleby Upton Sinclair is a notable relation of the same type of horrors. Unlike Schlosser, though, Sinclair writes his book in a fictional story line, in which he included great models of figurative language and imagery that strategically capture the reader in a world full of sympathy and belief. In this manner, he uses the journey of Jurgis Rudkis to depict the conditions in the meat packing industry in the United States.

Jurgis, being the main character, was not used only to reveal the harsh and hidden lives of those working and living in Packingtown, however. Sinclair also used Jurgis to portray his personal belief of capitalism being corrosive. The following quote has been taken from a review found at AssociatedContent. com. “The Jungle shows the effects of economic hardship on an immigrant family in the early 1900's. That is all it is reliably accountable for. This story is a downright attack on capitalism that the author tries to conceal behind a fictional story of a sympathy deriving family of Lithuanian Immigrants” (A Review of The Jungle, 2007).

Sinclair’s attacks on the United States’ economic and governmental system immediately point out the radical side of his personality, and from there the doubt that his ideas and story are not radical in and of themselves as well begins to grow. It is with this part of his writing that Sinclair loses his rhetoric flair and ability to produce quality muckraking journalism. In order for me to be able to effectively explain how both Fast Food Nation and The Jungleare poor examples of muckraking journalism, I must first enlighten you with the definition of the actual term “muckraking”.

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According to Webster's New World College Dictionary 2009, muckraking is searching for and publicizing, as in newspapers, any real or alleged corruption by public officials, business executives, or other important persons (Muckraking Definition, YourDictionary. com). Muckraking journalism is then defined as the literature that displays these corruptions of society, whether effectively or not. The role of journalism in a democratic society is to report the truth, with minimal harm, and no outside interest. It should also be held accountable to its readers. Journalists are not filling this role by reporting half-truths that send people into a anic, like Fast Food Nation and even The Jungle. Starting with Fast Food Nation, I found by researching that many published book reviews had at least one major commonality: the book covers too many different aspects of the fast food industry that it came to a point where there were too many things to comprehend and analyze all at once while reading. That’s not even everything he talked about either! Throw in a plethora of statistics and facts, and you have some highly confused readers! In his work, Schlosser writes, “This is a book about fast food, the values it embodies, and the world it has made. However, it is much more than that. It is everything that anybody could ever imagine that somehow, in some unbelievably slight way, has to do with fast food. Eric Schlosser tries to associate everything from armed robbery to political bombings to the spread of a particular strain of Escherichia Coli, all with fast food companies. Schlosser discusses how and why the industry developed, current labor practices in fast food establishments, how the taste of food can now be manipulated, federal regulations (and lack thereof), television and school advertising, health issues, and the spread of fast food abroad. This book is cleverly disguised as being about fast food. It is not about fast food. It is about how evil conservatives are and how capitalism is the cause of all that is bad in America. It is about how armed robbery has drastically increased. Fast food just happens to be mentioned quite a bit. The author constantly inserts little comments here and there that try to make even very debatable topics out to be unequivocally bad things. In my opinion, this book should come with a warning label and include a free copy of The Communist Manifesto” (Jayson D.

White, Socialist Propaganda in Fast Food). Jayson D. White’s perspective here describes what many others were saying as well, telling of how Schlosser strays far and wide, devoting chapters to various aspects of the industry and then referencing other random aspects in unrelated chapters. They do not all fit neatly together, and even the jumbled picture is a frightening one. Schlosser closes Fast Food Nationby saying that "you can still have it your way” and that consumers have the choice to just say no to fast food.

His hope is apparently that, armed with the information he provides, consumers will make the obvious choice and run as fast as they can from any and every fast food joint. Unfortunately, he never really addresses the question of why consumers would (and so often do) choose to purchase the products of these establishments in the first place. He never mentions the opposing argument to his own personal viewpoint, and his credibility drops with that lack of information. Instead, Schlosser inputs more and more seemingly random statistics to show his own views have “support” behind them, when in all reality, they don’t at all.

Schlosser was determined to make a point, and he does so with the uncontrollable urge to exaggerate details, add in supposed “facts” and numbers, and altogether disregard the opposing viewpoint, something which is of high importance in a persuasive and informative piece of muckraking literature. This shows how Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation is a poor example to use when describing muckraking journalism. Now we can move on to The Jungle and the different viewpoints that have been written regarding the book’s contents and set-up.

From the muckraking standpoint, the way Sinclair writes his fictional story is actually quite interesting and as a result a lot more persuasive and believable than Schlosser’s book which is only jam packed with statistics. The following quote is one that I feel really stands out strong from the book in regards to how imaginative and mind-painted creation Sinclair’s writing is as a whole. . The Jungle, on the other hand, is written directly form Sinclair’s personal experience of being in Packingtown for even just a week, and he already was able to smell the horrible scent, even taste the horrible scent!

Sinclair’s use of figurative language really appeals to the reader, and that strengthens the reader’s opinion to side with the author. “Elzbieta sees how the sausage is doctored when she works filling casings in the sausage room. She sees how any random mix of animal parts is ground into "sausage. " Anything that is spoiled is simply dyed with chemicals like borax and packaged for sale. In addition, she watches as leftovers that have fallen on the floor of the room are scooped up, along with dead rats and other filth, and put into the grinding machine for sausage” (_The Jungle_– Upton Sinclair, Chapter 7).

Not only does this quote give the reader a very nice detailed image to let them think over in the back of their minds, it also gets its point across, which is that the meatpacking plants use absolutely anything in their batches of sausages that end up being sold at the super market. As a result, this is a great muckraking example included in the book. Upon reading The Jungle and various critical analyses, I would say that the novel is actually quite nice in its overall appeal to me as a reader.

With this novel, being of journalistic muckraking character, I was surprisingly persuaded for the most part with what Upton Sinclair was telling me. . In addition, unlike Fast Food Nation, I felt like the pieces of information and statistics in The Junglewere relevant to the current topic at hand in the novel, rather than just being thrown at the reader in hopes of persuading them that this statistic pertains to the aspect being discussed. Like many of these reviews, I too feel that The Jungle is not perfect; however, I do agree with many critics that the manner in which the story was written was quite appealing.

I was particularly attracted to and persuaded with the story line and its continuous rising and falling actions that were filled with suspense, to the point where I actually wanted to read each and every next page so that I could find out what would happenAs a reader, I felt highly pressured to believe what was being told to me while I read Eric Schlosser’s piece of literature, and that if I don’t believe his words then I would be assisting in and attributing towards the awful-sounding statistics that were abundant in Fast Food Nation.

While reading Sinclair’s novel, on the other hand, I felt relatively at ease in making my own decision, knowing that there were facts and stories laying out there for me to grasp and believe if I so chose. As a result, I was more directed to believe Sinclair’s words than the numerous statistics and “facts” trying to be shoved down my throat by Schlosser. Another aspect of The Jungle that helped capture my overall opinion, and presumably many other readers’ as well, was that of the emotional attachment with the portrayed characters and the events they were going through.

Sinclair did an excellent job at creating a real life experience for the reader, as if they were the “Jurgis” in the book, creating distinct emotional reactions to the horrible reality of the meatpacking industry, which in turn establishes his pathos. However, like Schlosser, Sinclair’s downfall was his inclusion of personal political and economic system goals.

Upton Sinclair's “sudden stray from the story and straightforward praise of socialism at the end of the novel reveals his narrow-minded opinion of the economy of the United States and labels him as a radical believer in socialism, just like that of Schlosser in Fast Food Nation. Sinclair’s book also hinders the reader’s knowledge of socialism because it does not reveal its negative effects. Socialism puts complete control of the economy in the hands of the government.

It places a barrier on production and decreases the influence to create new products. Socialism is a less severe definition for an economy that supports communism. While Upton Sinclair wrote this novel to ‘find righteousness’ and benefit the American people he fails to foresee the negative effects of his ideas. Sinclair's novel makes it evident that many immigrants and workingmen unjustifiably suffered under capitalism, but an economy influenced by his views would not necessarily be better. ” (Associated Content, 2007).

By hiding the other side’s opposition, just like what Schlosser did in Fast Food Nation, author Upton Sinclair hushes his audiences’ questions by not answering them whatsoever. As you can see, although each author wrote with a different style, the authors were still not nearly as effective muckraking journalism examples as they would have been. Bibliography Fast Food Nation – by Eric Schlosser The Jungle – by Upton Sinclair http://www. yourdictionary. com/muckraking http://www. amazon. com/Fast-Food-Nation-Eric-Schlosser/product-reviews/0395977894/ref=cm_cr_pr_hist_1? e=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar http://www. complete-review. com/reviews/food/schlosse. htm http://www. amazon. com/Fast-Food-Nation-Eric-Schlosser/product-reviews/0395977894/ref=cm_cr_pr_link_next_5? ie=UTF8&showViewpoints=0&filterBy=addOneStar&pageNumber=5 http://www. bookrags. com/notes/jun/TOP1. htm http://www. enotes. com/history/q-and-a/how-did-muckraking-journalism-change-u-s-44633 http://mandatorychaos. blogspot. com/2007/11/role-of-journalism-in-democracy. html

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