Reading questions for The Jungle and “The Most Dangerous Job” (from Fast Food Nation)
1. Choose two sections from The Jungle that are particularly powerful or persuasive. Briefly describe them, and then explain what makes them so powerful/persuasive.
Both sections are in the first part of the story when the workers would lose limbs and fingers making food. The part where the workers had no nails because they had worn them off pulling hides. And further in the same section where workers would fall into vats and they died and were sold as Lard. I hope things have changed since then. The conditions that these people work in are unbelievably disgusting. And when you think that the end result is food that people are expected to eat that’s even worse. It’s bad enough if they were making building materials for house or something but this is something that the kids are going to eat an old people are going to serve for Sunday dinner. I know unions would come up later but it seems like everyone would get together and say were not to do this anymore. It is so powerful and persuasive because it doesn’t sound true. It sounds unbelievable. It reminds me of the Frederick Douglass book I thought the same thing. This can’t be real because people wouldn’t let it happen. But it is real.
2. What is the focus of this excerpt from The Jungle? Use evidence from the text to support your response.
The focus from this part of The Jungle is on working conditions. This section talks about where processed food actually comes from in 1900 and how it changed the lives of the people who had to work there to make it. “Scarce of one of these that had not some spot of horror on his person” “the pluckers had to pull out this wool with their bare hands till the acid had eaten their fingers off”. In both of these quotes you see that the working conditions are horrible. Obviously they found people to do these jobs because it went on for years. You would think once somebody saw that acid had eaten away somebody’s hands no one would want that job.
3. What is a secondary focus of this excerpt from The Jungle? Use evidence from the text to support your response.
The secondary focus of the excerpt is just as gross. This section talks about where processed food actually comes from in 1900. “till all but the bones of them had gone out to the world as Durham’s Pure Leaf Lard” and “the barrels would be dirt and rust and old nails and stable water and cartload after cartload of it would be taken up and dumped into the hoppers with fresh meat and sent out to the public’s breakfast” both of these quotes are about where food came from in 1900. Processed food had no controls or standards and was just barely food it seems like most of it was rat carcasses, and dirt.
4. Choose two sections from “The Most Dangerous Job” that are particularly powerful or persuasive. Briefly describe them, and then explain what makes them so powerful/persuasive.
The first section they talk about how the cows die is the most powerful. It is also the most disgusting. “Worker called a sticker does nothing but stand in a river of blood” and as soon as this steer falls a worker grabs one of its hind legs shackles it to a chain and the change lips that huge animal into the air” user two of the less gross quotes that are still very powerful. In the first quote a man who does nothing but murder spouse with lethal precision all day long must be insane to work there. If you don’t start out insane I think the job itself would drive you nuts. I wouldn’t be surprised if you ended up a psychopath killer from doing this job. I cant imagine how anyone would ever consider doing this. I’m never eating red meat again. The second quote about the worker grabbing the cow lets you know that the cows were still alive. It was alive just a few seconds ago it was still be warm. Cows are sweet and kind I can imagine slaughtering them all day. My brother is a vegetarian. Maybe hes right.
5. What is the primary focus of this chapter? Use evidence from the text to support your response.
This is a tough question I think the primary focus is the conditions for workers. Although I can’t get past the animal cruelty part of the story that was my primary focus but I don’t think it’s the primary focus of the reading. Quotes that support it being about the workers include “roughly 40,000 men and women suffer an injury or work-related illness that requires medical attention beyond first aid” and “today some plants slaughter up to 400 title an hour… Carved by workers desperate not to fall behind” in both of these quotes it talks about the suffering of the workers because big corporations just want to make more profit. Accidental cuts and accidents are hardly ever reported because managers get paid a bonus if the workers don’t get hurt.
6. What did you learn about the contemporary meatpacking industry in this chapter?
I know they don’t wait for cows to die of old age before we get to eat them but honestly I thought it was a little more humane. I was wrong. It is horrific how cows die so we can eat McDonald’s food. I didn’t know that slaughter houses existed really. That probably sounds stupid but I guess I just figured one cow would make more food than it apparently does. I cant imagine the whole nation eating that much red meat. TI guess hundreds of thousands of cows are needed here.
7. What questions do you have after reading “The Most Dangerous Job”?
Maybe I’m naïve but I guess I wonder if it’s really true. You would think if that many people were getting hurt that someone would talk before now. I really have never heard how gross and disgusting cow processing slaughter houses are… And you think it would be on the nightly news every night. I wonder if maybe they’re just exaggerating this one really gross plant or something and other ones are much more industrialized and humane.
8. What connections do you see between the excerpt from The Jungle and “The Most Dangerous Job”?
I think the people of 1900 and the people of 2015 have a lot in common. If you don’t have any skills your going to be stuck working a job that you find disgusting. The only thing that has really changed in 2015 is we are more interested in figuring out where our food comes from. I think people in 1900 came from foreign countries and who could barely speak the language were stuck doing these gross jobs just like immigrants from Mexico and other Latin American countries are stuck doing these gross jobs in 2015.