Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Essay #1 Topics

I gave these out this afternoon in ENG101. If you missed class, please consult with me regarding any questions you have about the instructions or the essay questions.

Essay #1 Topics

Due: before midnight on Tuesday, 10/26, by email

Please write an 5-7 page persuasive essay on one of the following topics; please refer to the Style Sheet attached to the syllabus for instructions on how to format the essay. The essay should take a position on your topic in a thesis statement, develop that thesis through detailed explanations of several major claims, and provide support for each major claim. You are encouraged to use personal experience to support your argument, but you must use textual support from Schlosser and at least one piece of independent research gathered through the library’s subscription databases or book research; in addition, you may use support from the annotated bibliography packets. You must provide MLA in-text citations and a “Works Cited” entry for all references.

1. In “Your Trusted Friends,” Eric Schlosser discusses “the explosion in children’s advertising” that has taken place in the past three decades (42), noting that besides conventional advertising fast food restaurants use a number of specialized tools and “marketing alliances” to entice children and gather information about them and their food preferences (48). More recently, according to Schlosser, this advertising has been extended to the hallways and even the classrooms of public schools. Should these industry practices (or one particular such practice) be regulated? Banned? Allowed to continue without interference?

2. In “Behind the Counter,” Eric Schlosser describes efforts to unionize McDonald’s restaurants over the past 50 years and the company’s organized resistance to such efforts in the form of “flying squads” and restaurant closures (76). But Schlosser also describes other, more “passive” forms of resistance to unionization in the fast food industry, such as “de-skilled” systems of production and the franchise structure of fast food corporations (70). Which of these two forms of resistance, active or passive, does more to thwart employees’ efforts to organize for better working conditions and higher pay?

3. A persuasive topic of your choice, based on the first four chapters of Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation. If you choose this option, you must present your topic to me by emailing a paragraph-length proposal before noon on Wednesday, 10/20. (Please use the phrase “Ethics of Food paper proposal” as the subject line of your email.)

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