Essay #3: Entering the “Conversation”

Purpose: In Assignment #3, you will be expected to provide all of the “basics” of
college-level writing: a clear thesis statement that responds directly to the prompt,
focused paragraphs, and “sandwiched” quotes. In addition, you will be expected to
provide at least two counterargument/refutation sequences.
Texts: Super Size Me, directed by Morgan Spurlock; Fast Food Nation by Eric
Schlosser; “Absolutely. Government Has No Business Interfering with What You Eat”
by Radley Balko; “Not If Blaming the Victim Is Just an Excuse to Let Industry Off the
Hook” by Kelly Brownell and Marion Nestle. (The Balko and Brownell essays can be
found toward the back of the course packet, just after the Rhodes and Jacoby
essays.)
Topic: Early in Super Size Me, his film about fast food in America, Morgan Spurlock
asks, “Where does personal responsibility stop, and corporate responsibility begin?”
In this paper you will be asked to weigh in on this very question. Do obese people
who sue fast food corporations for “hooking” them on Big Macs have a valid claim?
Do consumers have anyone to blame other than themselves for their consumption,
or are we entirely responsible for what we eat, even if the content of the food we
buy isn’t revealed to us by the seller? To what degree are fast food chains such as
McDonald’s like drug pushers preying on human weakness? How culpable is the
fast food industry for America’s health problems?
Writing Task: In a well-developed, thesis-driven essay, answer the following
question:
Should we blame fast food companies for the health
problems of consumers?
Requirements: 1) Use proper format. 2) Underline your thesis. 3) Cite at least
three of the four sources above. 4) Provide at least two
counterargument/refutation sequences. 5) Provide in-text citations as well as a
Works Cited page. Use MLA format. 6) Your essay must be at least 1200 words.
Your rough draft must be at least 1200 words as well.
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Tips: 1) Make sure to place your thesis in the first paragraph. Also, be sure to
answer the prompt directly. Important: Your paper should not be solely a critique
of Super Size Me or Fast Food Nation. It should be a careful argument in response to
the prompt. Along the way, you will want to address the movie and book. But your
paper should not be about the movie or the book. 2) If you argue that consumers
are entirely responsible for their unhealthy consumption of fast food, be sure to
explain why Spurlock’s argument is invalid. Use counterargument. Do not overlook
the opposing position in this debate.
Raw Citation information (Keep in mind that you will need to create your citations in MLA
format. This is just the raw information. Tip: The Balko and Brownell essays are works in
an anthology.)
Title of Movie: Supersize Me
Lead Performer: Morgan Spurlock
Distributor: Hart Sharp Video
Year of Release: 2004
Medium: DVD
Title of Essay: Absolutely. Government Has No Buisness Interfering with What You Eat
Author: Radley Balko
Title of Anthology: Elements of Argument (ninth edition)
Editors: Annette T. Rottenberg and Donna Haisty Winchell
Publisher: Bedford St. Martins
Place of Publication: Boston
Year: 2009
Title of Essay: Not If Blaming the Victim is Just an Excuse to Let Industry Off the Hook
Author: Kelly Brownell and Marion Nestle
Title of Anthology: Elements of Argument (ninth edition)
Editors: Annette T. Rottenberg and Donna Haisty Winchell
Publisher: Bedford St. Martins
Place of Publication: Boston
Year: 2009

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