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A Dark Reflection on Good and Evil

Jeff Didio Mrs. Karen Redding English 1102 June 28 2012


Dark Reflections on Good and Evil Table of Contents Analytical Cover Letter…………………………………………………1 Quality Comparison……………………………………………………. Least Successful Paper (original final draft)……………………3 Most Successful Paper (original final draft)…………………….6 “What’s the Difference?” Paragraphs………………………….11 Revision Samples……………………………………………………….. Least Successful Paper (with mark-up)………………………….13 Least Successful Paper (new final version)……………………...16 Most Successful Paper (with mark-up)………………………….19 Most Successful Paper (new final version)………………………24 Free Choice Essay (with mark-up)………………………………30 Free Choice Essay (new final version)…………………………..34


June 28, 2012 Karen P. Redding, M.A. Assistant Professor of English Gainesville State College Oconee Campus 304 Oconee Classroom 1202 Bishop Farms Parkway Watkinsville, Georgia 30677 Dear Mrs. Redding, This semester has been a great learning experience. Through just four weeks I have noticed significant changes in my writing techniques. My main goal of the semester was to get back into the rhythm of writing academic papers. I’ve always been confident in my writing abilities, however after taking six years off from school I realize now that writing is a perishable skill. I feel that this semester has brought back many of these lost skills as well as helped me to gain skills that I have never had before. This semester has helped me sharpen my ability in writing introductions, thesis developments, conclusions, and tying these things together. This semester I also learned to analyze film, something I have never done before. The group discussions in and out of class definitely helped me. When ever I got stuck on something, outside thoughts and perspectives of my peers helped my creative process keep going. As we started to write papers I noticed that one of the biggest difficulties I faced was tying my body paragraphs to my thesis. I felt that while I made some good points, they were loosely tied together with my thesis, I found myself reforming my thesis to fit the body paragraphs rather than using the body paragraphs to support my thesis, which in turn weakened my paper as a whole. I feel that I have made improvements in overcoming these problems since the start of the semester. For example, in our essay “Writing Critique� looked like I had taken a sentence from each body paragraph and added them all to the conclusion paragraph. The sentences did not flow well together and I barely tied them together with a one sentence conclusion.(Didio paper 1) In my final draft of the essay, I spent more time on the flow of the paper and making sure it all tied together. Another bad habit I had was working with quotes. Often times I would throw in quotes with little to no introduction or follow through. In my writing critique, I threw in one quote about electrocution where I failed to introduce the citation or explain it afterwards. As I came back to my earlier papers I found that the majority of my quotes could be condensed, better explained, or completely omitted. Lastly, I had a habit of getting hung up on essay lengths. Looking back I found that in my essays I used so many examples of things to support my thesis that my essays often resembled a list that I failed to successfully tie to my thesis. I also used large quotes to add length to my papers that I did not need. Revisiting my papers I omitted many of the weaker examples in my papers, and more thoroughly explained the strong points. By doing this I strengthened my paper, used better arguments for my thesis, and easily met the standards for essay length. Overall, I feel that I have become more successful in writing papers. Through the constant feedback on my essays and peer evaluations I feel that I am a much better writer than at the beginning of the semester. While working on papers I now take more time to better explain 1


myself. In just four weeks I have learned to better explain myself in essays, structure my essays, and provide a more thorough product as a whole.

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How the Exposition Changed America The Chicago World's Columbian Exposition was created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's journey to America, The fair showcased America's ingenuity in creating new technologies, engineering advancements, and the spirit of the American people. The Columbian Exposition was instrumental in shaping America’s future, it brought new ideas and technology to the public and the after effects can still be seen today. In "The Promotion of New Technology Through Fun and Spectacle,” Judith Adams wrote, "When new technologies are experienced in the amusement guise, they are eagerly and confidently embraced with joyful spirit. In contrast, in common, unadorned, and competitive "actual" world, a novel technology will threaten and frighten because it imposes itself on individuals generally without attention to the cultivation of comprehension or engagement."(Adams) The fair was important because it helped promote new technologies by introducing those new inventions in entertaining setting to the masses of fair goers. At that period in history the public was skeptical and even fearful of electricity and technology. “Electricity would garner some negative connotations, however, in 1889-90 when animals (dogs, calves, and a horse) were killed in the first electrocution experiment, and convicted murderer William Kemmler was executed by electricity in Auburn Prison, Auburn, New York.”(Adams) The public also feared electricity because it was invisible and hard to understand how it worked. The World's Columbian Exposition helped to shed fear from the public by amazing fair goers with its uses and in creating spectacles. The publicity electricity got at the fair helped hasten the


spread of electricity across the world. One of the highlight of the exposition was the Ferris Wheel, created by George Washington Gale Ferris. While the Ferris wheel was powered by steam boilers, it was also decorated in 2,900 light bulbs. Because of the Exposition , amusement parks continue to provide exhibits and rides to generate excitement in the public to this day. Another exhibit was an intramural railroad which became the precursor to monorails today. A moving sidewalk was also showcased where people could either stand or sit as a conveyor belt carried them to a new destination. This invention helped pave the way for similar walkways in airports and other places. While constructing the Exposition the designers decided that all electric wires and conductors would be buried underground for safety and aesthetic reasons. A complex subway was designed to hide the wires and provide easy access for maintenance. This same subway would be used as a reference while designing Walt Disney World. In “The Legacy of the fair” Julie K. Ross writes, “By the turn of the century, the first permanent iteration of the concept of the Midway was established at Coney Island, New York, and has been followed by scores of permanent amusement and theme parks throughout the country--including Disneyland and DisneyWorld.”(Rose) The Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition brought about the concept of a permanent amusement park that future developers would use as inspiration. The World's fair helped fuel the idea of consumerism. The fair showcased consumer products such as Shredded Wheat, Pabst Beer, and Juicy Fruit gum. The fair also showcased diet soda and hamburgers. The producers that won medals at the fair would later use their awards to


sway buyers into their particular brand of product. By including concession stands at the fair, people linked entertainment and fun with spending money. “The Exposition had an emphatic answer: onward and upward. The answer of the Fair's visitors to this question was equivocal, as is found in the varied reactions to the Fair's message of American strength through pride in its culture, education, commerce, and technology. The cultural legacy of the Fair is not quite as obvious, but still as pervasive, today, coloring every aspect of daily modern life--from museums to the Pledge of Allegiance to hamburgers and Disney World.”(Rose) The Exposition helped strengthen patriotism by giving Americans a new holiday, Columbus day. The fair even created patriotism among children with the Pledge of Allegiance. The overall grandeur and displays exhibited at the fair fed American patriotism. Americans saw the technology at the fair and saw a connection between technological progress and American progress as a whole. The World’s Columbian Exposition has set the standard for fairs, brought on a new form of consumerism, and brought new technology to the public in a way that excited people. Patriotism grew and many Americans became excited about the development and progress of America. The Exposition helped America transition into the 20th century and many of the concepts and products introduced in 1893 can still be seen today.

Works Cited Adams, Judith A. "The Promotion of New Technology through Fun and Spectacle: Electricity at the Worlds Columbian Exposition." The Journal of American Culture 18.2 (1995): 45-. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 11 June 2012.


Rose, Julie K. "The Legacy of the Fair." The World's Columbian Exposition: Idea Experience, Aftermath. N.p., 1 AUG 1996. Web. 11 Jun. 2012. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/ ~ma96/wce/title.html>.


The Conflict Within Throughout the years, many directors have tried to capture the true essence of war in movies. Though very few have actually succeeded, Oliver Stone is one of the few directors who actually did. Platoon, considered a controversial movie depicting the Vietnam War, illustrates a soldier’s inner conflict between good and evil. Stone uses his own personal experiences of the war to add realism while using certain scenes to represent actual events such as the Mai Lai massacre to add additional conflict. Through camera angles and dialog, Stone shows how war is not as simple as the "good guys versus bad guys", but rather varies with each individual. Stone builds up to the village scene with the camera using a distance shot showing the back of the platoon stopped in their tracks. As the camera moves across the front of the platoon in a horizontal shift, it stops on a dead soldier tied to a post, his throat slit and an indistinguishable note nailed to his chest. The camera closes in and moves horizontally across the faces of the men looking at the dead soldier, the men expressionless with the exception of their eyes which show sorrow and anger. The camera shift stops on Barnes’s mangled and ugly face, Barnes being the only one to actually say anything. He curses the enemy in a tone of pure hatred, expressing the thoughts and feelings of the entire platoon. Up until they get to the village, Barnes is neither good or bad. It isn’t until they reach the village that Barnes’s true nature emerges. Charlie Sheen’s character, Chris, is the narrator in Platoon, and as they walk up to the village, he narrates: “The village, which stood for maybe 1,000 years, didn't know that we were coming that day. If they had, they would’ve run. Barnes was at the eye of our rage, and through him, our Captain Ahab. He would set things right again. That day, we loved him.” (Stone) That day, darkness and hate overcame the platoon as they came across the village, blind with


rage. As they climb the top of the hill to the village, they see a Vietnamese person running away. Stone illustrates Barnes’ true nature as he shoots and kills the Vietnamese man without hesitation. In this scene, whatever compassion or mercy that Barnes may have had was now lost. The camera focuses on Barnes’ face which expresses only rage. When he tells a soldier to check the body out, the soldier happily complies, showing that the rest of the platoon feels the same way as Barnes. Stone reveals the anger of the platoon when the soldiers aggressively march into the village and start destroying everything, including the livestock. Stone shows one soldier quickly walking through the village and shooting towards the camera. This angle shows the destruction that is left behind from the soldier’s anger. The soldiers yell at the villagers and round them up. When Barnes finds a family hiding in a hole, he yells at them to get out. After he gets a couple of villagers out of the hole, he gets tired of waiting for the rest and throws a white phosphorus grenade into the hole, killing everyone left inside. Chris is at another part of the village inside a hut when he finds a hole with villagers inside. The camera angle starts from within the hole, covered up with bamboo. This point of view shot illustrates the vulnerability of the villagers inside the hole who, hiding, find the barrel of a rifle pointing right at them. Chris pushes the bamboo aside with his rifle and starts yelling at them to get out. Chris’s friend, Junior, tells him to stay calm and that the villagers are scared. Chris replies that he’s scared too and sick of it, then continues to yell and pull the two villagers out, one an old lady and the other a cripple. Chris has reached his breaking point and, in his frantic dialog, it is unclear if Chris will succumb to violence or do the right thing. He starts slapping and shoving the crippled villager. The character called Bunny walks in at this point and tells Chris to kill the villagers. Chris snaps and starts shooting his rifle around the villager’s


one leg while yelling at him to dance. With Chris exhausted and near tears, Junior starts to take him out of the hut. Stone shows in this scene that being in a constant state of fear and danger can drive good people to commit violence. This scene also shows Bunny’s true character. As Chris and Junior begin to leave the hut, Bunny attacks the crippled man and kills him by hitting him repeatedly with his shotgun. Stone shows the brutality of Bunny with the camera looking down over Bunny’s shoulder at the cripple as he kills him. Stone shows that while some of the soldiers act out because of their constant fear, other soldiers, like Bunny, enjoy the act of killing. While Bunny is not a main character, Stone makes the character out to be the darkest with no redeeming qualities. Barnes may be the primary antagonist in this movie, but even his methods can be rationalized; Bunny gets actual enjoyment out of killing and hurting others. When Chris returns to the center of the village, all the other villagers have been rounded up. Stone then builds a feeling of chaos when he shows the entire platoon standing around spectating as Barnes interviews the head villager. As he interrogates the villager, the soldiers yell to kill everyone while the villagers are yell and scream out of fear. When the head villager’s wife comes over and starts arguing, Barnes raises his weapon and in an act of impatience shoots the wife, silencing everyone for a moment before the head villager’s daughter begins to cry. Barnes adds even more tension to the scene when he grabs the girl and threatens to kill her. Barnes becomes more enraged and is about to kill the girl when Willem Dafoe’s character, Elias, the personification of good, comes in and starts an all out brawl with Barnes. The camera is angled on the ground showing the fight and then switches to close ups of everyone else in the platoon yelling for one man or the other to win the fight. It takes one half the platoon to restrain Barnes and the other half to restrain Elias. At this point, the entire platoon is divided, half siding with


Barnes and the other siding with Elias. Stone divides the characters by good and bad, the likeable characters being good and siding with Elias, while the characters that are unlikable side with Barnes. As they leave the village, Stone shows soldiers that are sided with Barnes trying to rape villagers before Chris and Elias come across them and stop them, further showing Elias to be good. After the platoon burns down the village and march out, Barnes’ supporters walk alone upfront without helping the villagers. Bunny takes a quick picture to remember the destruction he took part in. Chris walks behind Barnes’ supporters and in front of Elias. At this point Chris is caught in the middle; he doesn’t know what is the right thing to do. Stone shows Johnny Depp’s character Lerner, as well as other minor characters that sided with Elias, following him and carrying smiling children on their shoulders, some wearing the soldier’s helmets. Stone makes it clear that Barnes represents evil and Elias represents good. In a brief scene after they get back to base, Elias and Barnes report their own versions of what happened in the village to their captain. The captain ensures that there will be an investigation. A moment later, Barnes walks away and stops to light a cigarette. Stone shows a closeup of Barnes as Bunny, off screen, says that someone should kill Elias. Barnes with his scarred and sunken face just stares off into the distance smoking while the others ask if there will be an investigation. Stone uses Barnes’s facial expressions and silence to show that Barnes is the bad guy and will try and kill Elias. In the final scene of platoon, a wounded Chris is flown out on a medevac. It is the first scene in the movie where Chris is truly safe. He is out of the jungle and in the broad, open daylight waiting for the helicopter. Stone shows closeups of Chris’s face showing relief and happiness. The medevac slowly lifts off in a sea of white smoke. His smile fades as he looks


down and sees all of the dead bodies and bomb craters from the firefight he just survived. Stone uses Chris’s narration to explain the conflict that Chris has briefly overcame, but will always have: “We did not fight the enemy. We fought ourselves, and the enemy was in us. The war is over for me now but it will always be there the rest of my days. As I’m sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called possession of my soul. There have been times since I’ve felt like a child born from these two fathers.” (Stone) Chris finishes up his narration by saying, “we must find goodness and meaning to this life.”, as the screen fades to white. In Platoon, Oliver Stone depicts the duality of man. Every man is filled with good and evil. Platoon is not a movie about the good guys versus the bad guys. In platoon, everyone has the power to be the good guy or the bad guy. The movie depicts the inner conflict of one man versus himself, not an outside influence. Outside influences certainly play a role, but making the right decision ultimately comes down to the individual.

Work Cited Stone, Oliver, dir. Platoon. Perf. Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Tom Berenger. 1986. Film.


Quality Comparison

Looking back at the essays we have written for English 1102 it seems clear to me which essay I wrote that was the least successful and essay that was most successful. I chose my least successful paper to be “How the 1893 Chicago Columbian World’s Exposition Changed America” The essay that I chose as most successful was “The Conflict Within” I found that in both essays I had trouble with tying everything together to my thesis. In my essay, “How the 1893 Chicago Columbian World’s Exposition Changed America” I listed off spectacles of the fair but did a poor job explaining the significance of them to America. Lacking good content I used long quotes and citations to make my paper longer, often times the quotes made little to no sense as to what I was talking about. In “The Conflict Within”, I wrote about the movie “Platoon”, which also had similar problems of bulking up my paper with unnecessary content. In my most successful paper I found that I started to summarize the movie more and analyze the movie less. Getting the chance to redo my essays, the first thing I did with my least successful essay was analyze my quotes. At one point I realized that I put in a quote about electricity that did not have an introduction or a follow through. The other quotes in my essay could all be reduced and better explained. As I struggled to build my essay I also started listing off achievements of the fair. Many of these achievements I listed should have been omitted and the ones I kept written about in more detail. In the essay “The Conflict Within” I found that I had made some of the same mistakes as my least successful paper, only for different reasons. As I analyzed the movie “Platoon”, I started to realize that there was so much of the movie’s plot I wanted to talk about that my essay began turning into a bulky piece of work that started getting away from my initial intent of the


paper. I tried to improve this essay by cutting out as much plot summary as possible or break the summary up more and explain the significance better. I felt that my initial ideas for the essay “How the 1893 Chicago Columbian World’s Exposition changed America” and “The Conflict Within” were good subjects to write on. I feel that “The Conflict Within” was more successful however because I spent more time actually contemplating the deeper meaning of the movie “Platoon”. I also was able to use comments from my other essays to build upon and avoid patterns of mistakes. I feel that “The Conflict Within” was a better more complete essay overall. When I started to go over the essay I felt that it was already a good paper that needed to be polished up. When I looked at “How 1893 Chicago Columbian World’s Exposition Changed America” I saw a paper that might be better off scraped and started over than try and save the paper.


How the Exposition Changed America The Chicago World's Columbian Exposition was created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's journey to America, The fair showcased America's ingenuity in creating new technologies, engineering advancements, and the spirit of the American people. The Columbian Exposition was instrumental in shaping America’s future, it brought new ideas and technology to the public and the after effects can still be seen today. In "The Promotion of New Technology Through Fun and Spectacle,” Judith Adams wrote, "When new technologies are experienced in the amusement guise, they are eagerly and confidently embraced with joyful spirit. In contrast, in common, unadorned, and competitive "actual" world, a novel technology will threaten and frighten because it imposes itself on individuals generally without attention to the cultivation of comprehension or engagement."(Adams) The fair was important because it helped promote new technologies by introducing those new inventions in an entertaining setting to the masses of fair goers. At that period in history the public was skeptical and even fearful of electricity and technology. “Electricity would garner some negative connotations, however, in 1889-90 when animals (dogs, calves, and a horse) were killed in the first electrocution experiment, and convicted murderer William Kemmler was executed by electricity in Auburn Prison, Auburn, New York.”(Adams) The public also feared electricity because it was invisible and hard to understand how it worked. The World's Columbian Exposition helped the public overcome their fears by amazing fair goers with its uses and in creating spectacles. The publicity electricity got at the fair helped hasten the


spread of electricity across the world. One of the highlight of the exposition was the Ferris Wheel, created by George Washington Gale Ferris. While the Ferris wheel was powered by steam boilers, it was also decorated in 2,900 light bulbs. Because of the Exposition , amusement parks continue to provide exhibits and rides to generate excitement in the public to this day. Another exhibit was an intramural railroad which became the precursor to monorails today. A moving sidewalk was also showcased where people could either stand or sit as a conveyor belt carried them to a new destination. This invention helped pave the way for similar walkways in airports and other places. While constructing the Exposition the designers decided that all electric wires and conductors would be buried underground for safety and aesthetic reasons. A complex subway was designed to hide the wires and provide easy access for maintenance. This same subway would be used as a reference while designing Walt Disney World. In “The Legacy of the fair” Julie K. Ross writes, “By the turn of the century, the first permanent iteration of the concept of the Midway was established at Coney Island, New York, and has been followed by scores of permanent amusement and theme parks throughout the country--including Disneyland and DisneyWorld.”(Rose) The Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition brought about the concept of a permanent amusement park that future developers would use as inspiration. The World's fair helped fuel the idea of consumerism. The fair showcased consumer products such as Shredded Wheat, Pabst Beer, and Juicy Fruit gum. The fair also showcased diet soda and hamburgers. The producers that won medals at the fair would later use their awards to


sway buyers into their particular brand of product. By including concession stands at the fair, people linked entertainment and fun with spending money. “The Exposition had an emphatic answer: onward and upward. The answer of the Fair's visitors to this question was equivocal, as is found in the varied reactions to the Fair's message of American strength through pride in its culture, education, commerce, and technology. The cultural legacy of the Fair is not quite as obvious, but still as pervasive, today, coloring every aspect of daily modern life--from museums to the Pledge of Allegiance to hamburgers and Disney World.”(Rose) The Exposition helped strengthen patriotism by giving Americans a new holiday, Columbus day. The fair even created patriotism among children with the Pledge of Allegiance. The overall grandeur and displays exhibited at the fair fed American patriotism. Americans saw the technology at the fair and saw a connection between technological progress and American progress as a whole. The World’s Columbian Exposition has set the standard for fairs, brought on a new form of consumerism, and brought new technology to the public in a way that excited people. Patriotism grew and many Americans became excited about the development and progress of America. The Exposition helped America transition into the 20th century and many of the concepts and products introduced in 1893 can still be seen today.

Works Cited Adams, Judith A. "The Promotion of New Technology through Fun and Spectacle: Electricity at the Worlds Columbian Exposition." The Journal of American Culture 18.2 (1995): 45-. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 11 June 2012.


Rose, Julie K. "The Legacy of the Fair." The World's Columbian Exposition: Idea Experience, Aftermath. N.p., 1 AUG 1996. Web. 11 Jun. 2012. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/ ~ma96/wce/title.html>.


How the 1893 Chicago Columbian World’s Exposition Changed America The Chicago World's Columbian Exposition was created to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Columbus's journey to America. The fair showcased America's ingenuity in creating new technologies, engineering advancements, and the spirit of the American people. The Columbian Exposition was instrumental in shaping America’s future, bringing new ideas and technology to the public that can still be seen in society today. In "The Promotion of New Technology Through Fun and Spectacle,” Judith Adams says that when technology is brought forward through entertainment, it is eagerly embraced, while the same technology might scare or intimidate people under normal circumstances because of a lack of understanding. (Adams) The fair was important because it helped promote new technologies by introducing those new inventions in entertaining settings to the masses of fair goers. The fair gave the new technology a positive image and helped spread this technology across the world. One particular technology that the fair helped improve the image of and spread popularity was electricity. At that period in history, the public was skeptical and even fearful of technology. The people especially feared electricity because it was invisible and difficult to understand, but the World's Columbian Exposition helped dispel these fears by exciting people with its multiple purposes and creating spectacles embellished in electricity for the fair goers to admire. Because the fair was so popular, it gave electricity the publicity it needed to hasten the spread of electricity across the world. The world finally began to see the practical uses of technology, ranging from lightbulbs to a fully electric kitchen. One of the highlights of the exposition was the Ferris Wheel, created by George


Washington Gale Ferris. While the Ferris wheel was powered by steam boilers, it was also decorated in 2,900 light bulbs, inspired to out-class the Eiffel Tower which was built for the Paris World’s Fair. The Ferris wheel was all about one-upping the competition, a concept that amusement parks continue to strive for to this day. The motivation behind the Ferris wheel also showed the American mentality of wanting to be the best, a mentality that is still around today. Another exhibit was an intramural railroad which became the precursor to monorails today. A moving sidewalk was also showcased where people could either stand or sit as a conveyor belt carried them to a new destination. This invention helped pave the way for similar walkways in airports and other places. While constructing the Exposition, the designers decided that all electric wires and conductors would be buried underground for safety and aesthetic reasons. A complex subway was designed to hide the wires and provide easy access for maintenance. This same subway would be used as a reference while designing Walt Disney World. In “The Legacy of the fair” Julie K. Ross writes, “By the turn of the century, the first permanent iteration of the concept of the Midway was established at Coney Island, New York, and has been followed by scores of permanent amusement and theme parks throughout the country--including Disneyland and DisneyWorld.”(Rose) One reason the subway turned out to be so successful was because Americans wanted to see spectacles and be entertained; seeing wires would have been aesthetically unappealing to fair goers. The concept and design of the subway was so well thought out that future developers of permanent amusement parks used the Chicago World’s Columbian Exposition as inspiration for building their own fairs.


The World's fair helped fuel the idea of consumerism and showcased consumer products such as Shredded Wheat, Pabst Beer, and Juicy Fruit gum. The fair also showcased diet soda and hamburgers. The producers that won medals at the fair would later use their awards to sway buyers into their particular brand of product. By including concession stands at the fair, people linked entertainment and fun with spending money. The Exposition helped strengthen patriotism by giving Americans a new holiday, Columbus day, and even created patriotism among children with the Pledge of Allegiance. The overall grandeur and displays exhibited at the fair fed American patriotism. Americans saw the technology at the fair and saw a connection between technological progress and American progress as a whole. The Worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Columbian Exposition has set the standard for fairs by outdoing previous fairs. The fair brought many innovations such as a new form of consumerism. The fair also brought new technology to the public in a way that excited people. The grandeur of the fair showed and inspired American patriotism as Americans became excited about the development and progress of America. The Exposition helped America transition into the 20th century and many of the concepts and products introduced in 1893 can still be seen today.

Works Cited Adams, Judith A. "The Promotion of New Technology through Fun and Spectacle: Electricity


at the Worlds Columbian Exposition." The Journal of American Culture 18.2 (1995): 45-. ProQuest Research Library. Web. 11 June 2012.

Rose, Julie K. "The Legacy of the Fair." The World's Columbian Exposition: Idea Experience, Aftermath. N.p., 1 AUG 1996. Web. 11 Jun. 2012. <http://xroads.virginia.edu/ ~ma96/wce/title.html>.


The Conflict Within Throughout the years, many directors have tried to capture the true essence of war in movies. Though very few have actually succeeded, Oliver Stone is one of the few directors who actually did. Platoon, considered a controversial movie depicting the Vietnam War, illustrates a soldier’s inner conflict between good and evil. Stone uses his own personal experiences of the war to add realism while using certain scenes to represent actual events such as the Mai Lai massacre to add additional conflict. Through camera angles and dialog, Stone shows how war is not as simple as the "good guys versus bad guys", but rather varies with each individual. Stone builds up to the village scene with the camera using a distance shot showing the back of the platoon stopped in their tracks. As the camera moves across the front of the platoon in a horizontal shift, it stops on a dead soldier tied to a post, his throat slit and an indistinguishable note nailed to his chest. The camera closes in and moves horizontally across the faces of the men looking at the dead soldier, the men expressionless with the exception of their eyes which show sorrow and anger. The camera shift stops on Barnes’s mangled and ugly face, Barnes being the only one to actually say anything. He curses the enemy in a tone of pure hatred, expressing the thoughts and feelings of the entire platoon. Up until they get to the village, Barnes is neither good or bad. It isn’t until they reach the village that Barnes’s true nature emerges. Charlie Sheen’s character, Chris, is the narrator in Platoon, and as they walk up to the village, he narrates: “The village, which stood for maybe 1,000 years, didn't know that we were coming that day. If they had, they would’ve run. Barnes was at the eye of our rage, and through him, our Captain Ahab. He would set things right again. That day, we loved him.” (Stone)


That day, darkness and hate overcame the platoon as they came across the village, blind with rage. As they climb the top of the hill to the village, they see a Vietnamese person running away. Stone illustrates Barnes’ true nature as he shoots and kills the Vietnamese man without hesitation. In this scene, whatever compassion or mercy that Barnes may have had was now lost. The camera focuses on Barnes’ face which expresses only rage. When he tells a soldier to check the body out, the soldier happily complies, showing that the rest of the platoon feels the same way as Barnes. Stone reveals the anger of the platoon when the soldiers aggressively march into the village and start destroying everything, including the livestock. Stone shows one soldier quickly walking through the village and shooting towards the camera. This angle shows the destruction that is left behind from the soldier’s anger. The soldiers yell at the villagers and round them up. When Barnes finds a family hiding in a hole, he yells at them to get out. After he gets a couple of villagers out of the hole, he gets tired of waiting for the rest and throws a white phosphorus grenade into the hole, killing everyone left inside. Chris is at another part of the village inside a hut when he finds a hole with villagers inside. The camera angle starts from within the hole, covered up with bamboo. This point of view shot illustrates the vulnerability of the villagers inside the hole who, hiding, find the barrel of a rifle pointing right at them. Chris pushes the bamboo aside with his rifle and starts yelling at them to get out. Chris’s friend, Junior, tells him to stay calm and that the villagers are scared. Chris replies that he’s scared too and sick of it, then continues to yell and pull the two villagers out, one an old lady and the other a cripple. Chris has reached his breaking point and, in his frantic dialog, it is unclear if Chris will succumb to violence or do the right thing. He starts slapping and shoving the crippled villager. The character called Bunny walks in at this point and


tells Chris to kill the villagers. Chris snaps and starts shooting his rifle around the villager’s one leg while yelling at him to dance. With Chris exhausted and near tears, Junior starts to take him out of the hut. Stone shows in this scene that being in a constant state of fear and danger can drive good people to commit violence. This scene also shows Bunny’s true character. As Chris and Junior begin to leave the hut, Bunny attacks the crippled man and kills him by hitting him repeatedly with his shotgun. Stone shows the brutality of Bunny with the camera looking down over Bunny’s shoulder at the cripple as he kills him. Stone shows that while some of the soldiers act out because of their constant fear, other soldiers, like Bunny, enjoy the act of killing. While Bunny is not a main character, Stone makes the character out to be the darkest with no redeeming qualities. Barnes may be the primary antagonist in this movie, but even his methods can be rationalized; Bunny gets actual enjoyment out of killing and hurting others. When Chris returns to the center of the village, all the other villagers have been rounded up. Stone then builds a feeling of chaos when he shows the entire platoon standing around spectating as Barnes interviews the head villager. As he interrogates the villager, the soldiers yell to kill everyone while the villagers are yell and scream out of fear. When the head villager’s wife comes over and starts arguing, Barnes raises his weapon and in an act of impatience shoots the wife, silencing everyone for a moment before the head villager’s daughter begins to cry. Barnes adds even more tension to the scene when he grabs the girl and threatens to kill her. Barnes becomes more enraged and is about to kill the girl when Willem Dafoe’s character, Elias, the personification of good, comes in and starts an all out brawl with Barnes. The camera is angled on the ground showing the fight and then switches to close ups of everyone else in the platoon yelling for one man or the other to win the fight. It takes one half the platoon to restrain


Barnes and the other half to restrain Elias. At this point, the entire platoon is divided, half siding with Barnes and the other siding with Elias. Stone divides the characters by good and bad, the likeable characters being good and siding with Elias, while the characters that are unlikable side with Barnes. As they leave the village, Stone shows soldiers that are sided with Barnes trying to rape villagers before Chris and Elias come across them and stop them, further showing Elias to be good. After the platoon burns down the village and march out, Barnes’ supporters walk alone upfront without helping the villagers. Bunny takes a quick picture to remember the destruction he took part in. Chris walks behind Barnes’ supporters and in front of Elias. At this point Chris is caught in the middle; he doesn’t know what is the right thing to do. Stone shows Johnny Depp’s character Lerner, as well as other minor characters that sided with Elias, following him and carrying smiling children on their shoulders, some wearing the soldier’s helmets. Stone makes it clear that Barnes represents evil and Elias represents good. In a brief scene after they get back to base, Elias and Barnes report their own versions of what happened in the village to their captain. The captain ensures that there will be an investigation. A moment later, Barnes walks away and stops to light a cigarette. Stone shows a closeup of Barnes as Bunny, off screen, says that someone should kill Elias. Barnes with his scarred and sunken face just stares off into the distance smoking while the others ask if there will be an investigation. Stone uses Barnes’s facial expressions and silence to show that Barnes is the bad guy and will try and kill Elias. In the final scene of platoon, a wounded Chris is flown out on a medevac. It is the first scene in the movie where Chris is truly safe. He is out of the jungle and in the broad, open daylight waiting for the helicopter. Stone shows closeups of Chris’s face showing relief and


happiness. The medevac slowly lifts off in a sea of white smoke. His smile fades as he looks down and sees all of the dead bodies and bomb craters from the firefight he just survived. Stone uses Chris’s narration to explain the conflict that Chris has briefly overcame, but will always have: “We did not fight the enemy. We fought ourselves, and the enemy was in us. The war is over for me now but it will always be there the rest of my days. As I’m sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called possession of my soul. There have been times since I’ve felt like a child born from these two fathers.” (Stone) Chris finishes up his narration by saying, “we must find goodness and meaning to this life.”, as the screen fades to white. In Platoon, Oliver Stone depicts the duality of man. Every man is filled with good and evil. Platoon is not a movie about the good guys versus the bad guys. In platoon, everyone has the power to be the good guy or the bad guy. The movie depicts the inner conflict of one man versus himself, not an outside influence. Outside influences certainly play a role, but making the right decision ultimately comes down to the individual.

Work Cited Stone, Oliver, dir. Platoon. Perf. Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Tom Berenger. 1986. Film.


The Conflict Within Throughout the years, many directors have tried to capture the true essence of war in movies. Though very few have actually succeeded, Oliver Stone is one of the few directors who actually did. “Platoon”, considered a controversial movie depicting the Vietnam War, illustrates a soldier’s inner conflict between good and evil. Stone uses his own personal experiences of the war to add realism while using certain scenes to represent actual events, such as the Mai Lai massacre, to add additional conflict. With the help of camera angles and dialogue, Stone shows how war is not as simple as the "good guys versus bad guys", but rather varies with each individual. Stone builds up to the village scene with the camera using a distance shot showing the back of the platoon stopped in their tracks. As the camera moves across the front of the platoon in a horizontal pan, it stops on a dead soldier tied to a post, his throat slit and an indistinguishable note nailed to his chest. The camera closes in and moves horizontally across the faces of the men looking at the dead soldier, the men expressionless with the exception of their eyes which show sorrow and anger. The camera shift stops on Barnes’s mangled and ugly face, the only soldier to actually say anything. He curses the enemy in a tone of pure hatred, expressing the thoughts and feelings of the entire platoon. Stone’s use of camera angles, along with Barnes’ dialogue, show an intense sense of emotional pain and anger, two heavy contributors that affect the soldier’s actions in the village. Before they reach the village, Barnes is neither good or bad; it’s when they arrive at the village that Barnes’s true nature emerges. Charlie Sheen’s character, Chris, is the narrator in Platoon, and as they walk up to the village, he narrates: “The village, which stood for maybe 1,000 years, didn't know that we were coming that


day. If they had, they would’ve run. Barnes was at the eye of our rage, and through him, our Captain Ahab. He would set things right again. That day, we loved him.” (Stone) Chris’ narrative explains that the platoon is united in their feelings of hate and thoughts of revenge. While the men in the platoon all feel the same way, once in the village, each soldier conducts himself differently. As they climb the top of the hill to the village, they see a Vietnamese person running away. Stone illustrates Barnes’ true nature as he shoots and kills the Vietnamese man without hesitation. In this scene, whatever compassion or mercy that Barnes may have had was now lost. The camera focuses on Barnes’ face which expresses only rage. When he tells a soldier to check the body out, the soldier happily complies, showing that the rest of the platoon feels the same way as Barnes. Stone reveals the anger of the platoon as one soldier quickly walks through the village and shoots towards the camera. This angle gives the sense of the soldiers venting their emotions through destruction. Stone further develops Barnes’ character as the villain as he gets tired of waiting for villagers to come out of their hiding place and throws a grenade into the hole, killing everyone left inside. Chris is at another part of the village inside a hut when he finds a hole with villagers inside. The camera angle starts from within the hole, covered up with bamboo. This point of view shot illustrates the vulnerability of the villagers inside the hole who, hiding, find the barrel of a rifle pointing right at them. The next camera angle is over Chris’ shoulder as he pushes the bamboo aside with his rifle and starts yelling at them to get out. Chris’s friend, Junior, tells him to stay calm and that the villagers are scared. Chris replies that he’s scared too and sick of it, then continues to yell and pull the two villagers out, one an old lady and the other


a cripple. These two camera shots show that both Chris and the villagers are equally scared. Chris has reached his breaking point and, in his frantic dialog, it is unclear if Chris will succumb to violence or do the right thing. He starts slapping and shoving the crippled villager. The character called Bunny walks in at this point and tells Chris to kill the villagers. Chris snaps and starts shooting his rifle around the villager’s one leg while yelling at him to dance. With Chris exhausted and near tears, Junior starts to take him out of the hut. Stone shows in this scene that being in a constant state of fear and danger can drive good people to commit violence. Stone also shows that while Chris may be angry and scared, he is ultimately good and cannot bring himself to commit any serious violence to the innocent villagers. This scene also shows Bunny’s true character. As Chris and Junior begin to leave the hut, Bunny attacks the crippled man and kills him by hitting him repeatedly with his shotgun. Stone shows the brutality of Bunny with the camera looking down over Bunny’s shoulder at the cripple as he kills him. Stone shows that while some of the soldiers act out because of their constant fear, other soldiers, like Bunny, enjoy the act of killing. While Bunny is not a main character, Stone makes the character out to be the darkest with no redeeming qualities. Barnes may be the primary antagonist in this movie, but even his methods can be rationalized; Bunny gets actual enjoyment out of killing and hurting others. Stone then builds a feeling of chaos when he shows the entire platoon standing around spectating as Barnes interviews the head villager. As he interrogates the villager, the head villager’s wife comes over and starts arguing. The camera shows a half body shot of Barnes as he raises his weapon and, in an act of impatience, shoots the head villager’s wife. Barnes looks down at his kill with a look of anger and disgust, silencing everyone for a moment before the head villager’s daughter begins to cry. Stone, in a series of close-ups of the soldier’s faces,


shows a feeling of mostly confusion mixed with approval by some and shame by others. In this scene, Stone shows that the platoon is divided on what they think is right and what they think is wrong. The same scene also shows the facial expression of the Platoon Leader who lets the whole incident happen and only spectates, even though he is actually in charge. The PL is not a good or bad person, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just inept. In this scene, there are a couple of brief closeups of his face expressing fear and confusion; he does not know what to do. The PL is an important character because he shows that people, even when they know something is wrong, are often too scared to stick up for what is right. Barnes adds even more tension to the scene when he grabs the girl and threatens to kill her. Barnes becomes more enraged and is about to kill the girl when Willem Dafoeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s character, Elias, the personification of good, comes in and starts an all out brawl with Barnes. The camera is angled on the ground showing the fight and then switches to close ups of everyone else in the platoon yelling for one man or the other to win the fight. The camera angles add to the scene a sense of intensity and also shows division within the platoon. It takes half of the platoon to restrain Barnes and the other half to restrain Elias. At this point, the entire platoon is divided, half siding with Barnes and the other siding with Elias. Stone divides the characters by good and bad, the likeable characters siding with Elias while the characters that are unlikable siding with Barnes. Stone divides the platoon in this way so that there is a visual distinction between the good and bad soldiers. As they leave the village, Stone shows soldiers that are sided with Barnes trying to rape villagers before Chris and Elias come across them and stop them, further showing Elias to be good. In the final shot, after the platoon burns down the village and marches out, Stone uses a distant shot to show Barnesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;


supporters as they walk alone upfront without helping the villagers. Chris walks behind Barnes’ supporters and in front of Elias. Stone uses this shot to show that at this point Chris is caught in the middle; he respects both Barnes and Elias and doesn’t know what is the right thing to do. In a brief scene after they get back to base, Elias and Barnes report their own versions of what happened in the village to their captain. The captain ensures that there will be an investigation. A moment later, Barnes walks away and stops to light a cigarette. Stone shows a closeup of Barnes as Bunny, off screen, says that someone should kill Elias. Barnes with his scarred and sunken face just stares off into the distance smoking while the others ask if there will be an investigation. This scene shows the seriousness of Barnes. His scars and sunken face reflect his inner self and future intentions. Stone uses Barnes’s facial expressions and silence to show that Barnes is the bad guy and will try and kill Elias. In the final scene of platoon, a wounded Chris is flown out on a medevac. It is the first scene in the movie where Chris is truly safe. He is out of the jungle and in the broad, open daylight waiting for the helicopter. Stone shows closeups of Chris’s face showing relief and happiness. This scene is important because it shows for a brief moment that Chris’ battle over good and evil had momentarily stopped. The medevac slowly lifts off in a sea of white smoke. His smile fades as he looks down and sees all of the dead bodies and bomb craters from the firefight he just survived. Stone uses Chris’s narration to explain the conflict that Chris has briefly overcame, but will always have: “We did not fight the enemy. We fought ourselves, and the enemy was in us. The war is over for me now but it will always be there the rest of my days. As I’m sure Elias will be, fighting with Barnes for what Rhah called possession of my soul. There have been times since I’ve felt like a child born from these two fathers.” (Stone)


Chris finishes up his narration by saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;we must find goodness and meaning to this life.â&#x20AC;?, as the screen fades to white. In Platoon, Oliver Stone depicts the duality of man. Every man is filled with good and evil. Platoon is not a movie about the good guys versus the bad guys; everyone has the power to be the good guy or the bad guy. The movie depicts the inner conflict of one man versus himself, not an outside influence. While outside influences certainly play a role, making the right decision ultimately comes down to the individual.

Work Cited Stone, Oliver, dir. Platoon. Perf. Charlie Sheen, Willem Dafoe, and Tom Berenger. 1986. Film.


Free Choice Essay Mark Up The Evils of Fast Food In American society fast food is a natural part of life. It’s usually cheap, its fast, and it is convenient. Americans are blasted by advertisements almost everywhere they go by fast food. Large fast food corporations market their products where ever they can, in all areas of the media, and most places where people congregate in masses, such as sporting events and music concerts. The problem with fast food is that it is almost never healthy and corporations will do everything they can to keep people buying it. The media has a major influence on fast food. A primary sponsor of television shows are food companies, fast food commercials are seen at every commercial break. The commercials portray to their audience healthy people eating unhealthy food. The message is, “buy our product and you can have as much fun and be as happy as these people” Arby’s is one example of this. Arby’s sells their food as “Good mood Food”. Arby’s tells the consumer that emotional eating is a good thing, when emotional eating is usually eating unhealthy to feel better. One of McDonald’s slogans is “Put a smile on your face”, as if eating their food will instantly change your psychological being. Fast food companies may also show a bunch of attractive people hanging out with each other having the best time of their lives. Even the food itself is given a makeover to look better. Fast food companies go to great lengths to sell their food. Through shiny packaging fast food companies try to catch the eye of their intended audience. As Thomas Hine wrote, “Packaging strives at once to offer excitement and reassurance. It promotes something newer and better, but not necessarily different.”(125) While Hine is talking about technology, it also pertains to fast food. The marketing of the product doesn’t just stop at the package.


Companies often hire professional artists to take their product and make it look more appetizing. The product that is presented to the consumer in a commercial is usually not even edible. For example, food stylist Kim Krejca (adoramaTV) talks about using WD-40 to make brownies look more appetizing to consumers. Children are not safe from being targeted. Many companies offer a children’s menu that are just as unhealthy as the product marketed to their parents, only in a smaller dosage. McDonald’s and Burger King both offer kid’s meals where they throw in a toy in an effort to appeal to young children. They know that a nagging kid can be a very effective method at making their parents buy their products. The fast food industry even influences what can be seen in an actual television show. Television producers must be careful not to offend sponsors. On reality shows products are often censored if they are not a product of a sponsor, while other shows use products without labels so as not to offend sponsors. Often times a company will pay for product placement in shows, movies, and even sporting events. The majority of fast food is unhealthy. Food is loaded with fats and preservatives in order to lengthen the product’s shelf life. In the documentary “Supersize Me” Morgan Spurlock shows the decomposition of McDonalds foods compared to other restaurant’s similar foods. While the McDonalds food did last longer than their counterparts, it was the McDonalds French fries that stood out. After ten weeks the French fries showed almost no change. While fast food chains are starting to jump on the healthy food bandwagon after seeing Subway’s success, the items on the average menus are still mostly unhealthy foods. Fast food has deep roots in the on-the-go American culture. In today’s society most people want to streamline their day and find the most efficient way to do as many tasks possible.


Craig S. Watkins wrote, “Like fast food, fast entertainment is easy to get, all around us, and typically cheap, but not always good for you” (143) While Watkins is talking about technology he is also describing fast food. Fast food sells itself by quickly creating a meal for someone that doesn’t want to take the time and cook themselves. America has also turned into an individualistic culture. Most families are on the go doing their own thing. When parents are preoccupied with work, and kids are preoccupied with school and their social life, a sit-down meal becomes less practical. Fast food is quick and easy, to the point a parent can just pick up food on the way back from work. The media fuels this by leading people to believe they simply don’t have the time for a home cooked meal. Many fast food restaurants stay open twenty four hours. If a person wants food at four in the morning, their only choice is to buy fast food or make a home cooked meal, given they have the food at home already to cook. This also caters to consumers with lower income jobs who don’t work a typical nine to five job. Income levels affect the practicality of eating healthy. In the documentary Food Inc., a lower income family shows how hard it is with little time or money to eat healthy. When faced with the prices of individual items such as produce, they found that it was just cheaper to buy unhealthy foods off a fastfood dollar menu. In the Documentary Food Inc., Michael Pollan talks about how unhealthy food affects lower income households and causes obesity. “Why is it you can buy a double cheeseburger from McDonalds for 99 cents when you can’t even get a head of broccoli for 99 cents. We’ve skewed our food system to the bad calories and it’s not an accident. The reasons that those calories are cheaper are because those are the ones we are heavily subsidizing. This is directly tied to the kind of agriculture that we’re practicing and the type of farm policies we have. All those snack food policies are the ones that come from the commodity crops; Wheat, corn, soybeans.


By making those calories really cheap is one of the reasons the biggest predictor of obesity is income level.” Fast food companies use these bad calories because it makes production cheaper. Fast foods almost never provide the nutritional facts to their products. While they may pass health inspections they almost never tell the consumer what actually goes into their products. Many companies add preservatives, chemicals, and artificial flavoring to boost a product’s taste appeal to a customer, while also making the product cheaper and make it last longer. While fast food is everywhere in America, that doesn’t mean it’s a good thing. The media shoves the idea of fast food down society’s throat. The fast food industry aggressively tries to market their products to as many people as possible. The fast food market targets people regardless of age or income. In an attempt to mass produce and cheaply manufacturer products, the industry hands out a product to people that is cheap and unhealthy.

Works Cited Kim Krejca, Gayle, Rick, Wallace, Mark. “How’d They Do That?” adoramaTV. Uploaded by, adoramaTV Oct 11, 2010. Accessed March 29, 2012. www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhPC9frwE4g&feature=related Hines, Thomas. “What’s in a Package.” Signs of Life in the USA. Ed. Sonia Maasik, Jack


Solomon. 7th ed. Boston: 2003 Bedford/St. Martin's, 125. Print. Spurlock, Morgan. “Supersize Me” Dir. Spurlock, Morgan. Pro. Spurlock, Morgan, 2004 Watkins, Craig S. “Fast Entertainment and Multitasking in an Always-On World.” Signs of Life in the USA. Ed. Sonia Maasik, Jack, Solomon. 7th ed. Boston: 2003 Bedford/St. Martin's, 143. Print. Pollan, Michael “Food Inc.” Dir. Kenner, Robert. Pro. Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media, River Road Entertainment, 2008


Free Choice Essay Final

Fast Food’s Grip on American Society In American society, fast food is a natural part of life. It is cheap, it is fast, and it is convenient. Americans are blasted by fast food advertisements almost everywhere they go. Large fast food corporations market their products wherever they can-- in all areas of the media and most places where people congregate in masses, such as sporting events and music concerts. The problem with fast food is that it is almost never healthy and corporations will do everything they can to keep their profits up. Fast food industries have a major influence on the media. A primary sponsor of television shows are food companies; fast food commercials are seen at almost every commercial break. The commercials display to their audience healthy people eating unhealthy food. The message is, “buy our product and you can have as much fun and be as happy as these people”. Arby’s is one example of this. Arby’s sells their food as “Good Mood Food”, telling the consumer that emotional eating is a good thing, when emotional eating is usually eating unhealthy to feel better. One of McDonald’s slogans is “Put a smile on your face”, as if eating their food will instantly change your psychological being. Fast food companies manipulate the viewer by showing an unrealistic representation of attractive people hanging out with each other having the time of their lives while showing none of the harmful effects of their food. With fast food advertisements virtually everywhere, the temptation to eat unhealthy food is always present. Fast food companies go to great lengths to sell their food. Even their food is given a makeover. Through shiny packaging, fast food companies try to catch the eye of their intended audience. As Thomas Hine wrote, “Packaging strives at once to offer excitement


and reassurance. It promotes something newer and better, but not necessarily different.”(125) While Hine is talking about technology, it also pertains to fast, food. The marketing of the product doesn’t just stop at the package. Companies often hire professional artists to take their product and make it look more appetizing. The product that is presented to the consumer in a commercial is usually not even edible. For example, food stylist Kim Krejca (adoramaTV) talks about using WD-40 to make brownies look more appetizing to consumers. Children are not safe from being targeted. Many companies offer a children’s menu that are just as unhealthy as the product marketed to their parents, only in a smaller dosage. McDonald’s and Burger King both offer kid’s meals where they throw in a toy in an effort to appeal to young children. They know that a nagging kid can be a very effective method at making their parents buy their products.

The majority of fast food is unhealthy. Food is

loaded with fats and preservatives in order to lengthen the product’s shelf life. In the documentary “Supersize Me”, Morgan Spurlock shows the decomposition of McDonalds foods compared to other restaurant’s similar foods. Overall McDonalds’ food lasted longer than their counterparts, it was the McDonalds French fries that stood out. After ten weeks the French fries showed almost no change. While fast food chains are starting to jump on the healthy food bandwagon after seeing Subway’s success, the items on the average menus are still mostly unhealthy foods. Fast food has deep roots in the on-the-go American culture. In today’s society, most people want to streamline their day and find the most efficient way to do as many tasks possible. Craig S. Watkins wrote, “Like fast food, fast entertainment is easy to get, all around us, and typically cheap, but not always good for you”. (143) While Watkins is talking about technology, he is also describing fast food. Fast food sells itself by quickly creating a meal for someone that


doesn’t want to take the time and cook themselves. America has also turned into an individualistic culture. Most families are on the go doing their own thing. When parents are preoccupied with work and kids are preoccupied with school and their social life, a sit-down meal becomes less practical. Fast food is quick and easy to the point a parent can just pick up food on the way back from work. The media fuels the appeal of convenience by leading people to believe they simply don’t have the time for a home cooked meal. Many fast food restaurants stay open twenty four hours. If a person wants food at four in the morning, their only choice is to buy fast food or make a home cooked meal, given they have the food at home already to cook. Fast food also caters to consumers with lower income jobs who don’t work a typical nine to five job. Income levels affect the practicality of eating healthy. In the documentary Food Inc., a lower income family shows how hard it is with little time or money to eat healthy. When faced with the prices of individual items such as produce, they found that it was just cheaper to buy unhealthy foods off a fastfood dollar menu. In the Documentary Food Inc., Michael Pollan talks about how unhealthy food affects lower income households and causes obesity. “You can buy a double cheeseburger from McDonalds for 99 cents when you can’t even get a head of broccoli for 99 cents. We’ve skewed our food system to the bad calories and it’s not an accident. The reasons that those calories are cheaper are because those are the ones we are heavily subsidizing. This is directly tied to the kind of agriculture that we’re practicing and the type of farm policies we have. All those snack food policies are the ones that come from the commodity crops; Wheat, corn, soybeans. By making those calories really cheap is one of the reasons the biggest predictor of obesity is income level.” Fast food companies use these bad calories because it makes production cheaper. Fast foods


almost never provide the nutritional facts to their products. While they may pass health inspections, they almost never tell the consumer what actually goes into their products. Many companies add preservatives, chemicals, and artificial flavoring to boost a productâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s taste appeal to a customer which makes the product cheaper and last longer as well as remove nutrients and make the product even less healthy than before. While fast food is everywhere in America, that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mean that it is a good thing. The media shoves the idea of fast food down societyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s throat by aggressively trying to market their products to as many people as possible. The fast food market also targets people regardless of age or income. In an attempt to mass produce and cheaply manufacture products, the industry hands out a product to people that is unhealthy.

Works Cited


Kim Krejca, Gayle, Rick, Wallace, Mark. “How’d They Do That?” adoramaTV. Uploaded by, adoramaTV Oct 11, 2010. Accessed March 29, 2012. www.youtube.com/watch?v=uhPC9frwE4g&feature=related

Hines, Thomas. “What’s in a Package.” Signs of Life in the USA. Ed. Sonia Maasik, Jack Solomon. 7th ed. Boston: 2003 Bedford/St. Martin's, 125. Print.

Spurlock, Morgan. “Supersize Me” Dir. Spurlock, Morgan. Pro. Spurlock, Morgan, 2004

Watkins, Craig S. “Fast Entertainment and Multitasking in an Always-On World.” Signs of Life in the USA. Ed. Sonia Maasik, Jack, Solomon. 7th ed. Boston: 2003 Bedford/St. Martin's, 143. Print.

Pollan, Michael “Food Inc.” Dir. Kenner, Robert. Pro. Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media, River Road Entertainment, 2008

A Dark Reflection on Good and Evil  

Final portfolio for Eng1102

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