Essay 2 (500 words) will be an argument synthesis paper concerning any of the topics brought up in Fast Food Nation.  (I have included some ideas for prompts, but if you would like to write about another issue, then let me know.)  Use only your book.  DO NOT USE OTHER SOURCES.  Read the helpful Writing and Research Handbook’s pages 25-38 and/or “MLA Formatting and Style Guide” from the OWL.  This time in your essay, you will use information you’ve obtained from the book to support your argument.  You must include at least three quotes and at least three paraphrases from the book.  You must include MLA in-text citations (parenthetical references) after using quotes or paraphrases, but you do not have to include a works cited page. 

Possible prompts for Essay 2:

  1. Fast food companies hire more teenagers than any other business in the U.S.  They have often been accused of not training their young employees sufficiently.  Do you agree or disagree?  Provide plenty of evidence from the book to support your argument.
  2. Like many American industries, the meatpacking industry changed its way of business and shifted to a cheaper source of labor, ending a decades-long association with unions that protected workers by demanding safe working conditions and decent wages.  Argue for or against this practice.
  3. In Chapter 5, “Why the Fries Taste Good,” Schlosser tells us about the flavor industry and its role in processed food.  Do you think food companies need to be more honest about the ingredients they use?  Why or why not?

Some important features of Essay 2:

  1. Use signal phrases to set up each quote.  See link under directions for Essay 2.
  2. Summarizing, quoting, and paraphrasing must be documented using MLA
  3. Organization of argument must be clear
  4. A balance of your ideas and ideas from your sources must exist
  5. Counterarguments must be summarized, discussed, and refuted (responded to)
  6. Logical fallacies must be avoided; authors’ logical fallacies must be discussed
  7. As with Essay 1, use MLA formatting.  The link is under the directions for Essay 1.

MLA in-text citations, also called parenthetical references, are very important.  Here are a few examples of using them with quoting and paraphrasing:

Paraphrase (idea/information from source, but put into your own words):

  • Since Hurricane Katrina, Social Services said there are about six thousand more homeless people in New Orleans (Saulny 2).  **Notice the last name of the author and the page number where the information was found are both included.  Notice the parentheses, and notice that the punctuation comes after the last parenthesis.  This is considered a paraphrase because the student writer put the information into her own words.

Quote (exact wording of author): 

  • One writer has the right idea: “Solutions need to start at the grassroots, but we now have models that can be followed nationally” (Smith 2). **This quote is preceded by a signal phrase that makes it clear that the writer agrees with the quote.  Always introduce a quote with a signal phrase; never have a quote just sitting there on its own, which would make it a freestanding quote.  The quote is in quotation marks because it is the exact wording of the author.
  • His intent is to “take homeless policy from the old idea of funding programs that serve homeless people endlessly and invest in results that actually end homelessness” (Gladwell 8).  **This is a quote that is integrated with a paraphrase.
  • According to FEMA spokesman Ronnie Simpson, “It’s the individual’s responsibility to go out and find what’s suitable for them” (qtd. in Saulny 3).  **This is quote within an article, meaning that the author, Saulny, interviewed Ronnie Simpson, and is quoting him in her piece.  The student writer used this quote in his own essay, and to let us know that it is not Saulny’s words, he used qtd. in in front of the author’s name and page number.   

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