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ENGL 126: Midterm exam: Please submit by Sun. 4/14 at midnight.
You may use your book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and a dictionary, but not other sources (I am asking you to submit through turn it in, so make sure that you are quoting any exact phrases from the text).
Choose one of the following two prompts to respond to, and write an in-class essay focusing on The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Do NOT answer both choices. Indicate which choice you are addressing.
Each question includes a quotation from The Omnivore’s Dilemma and some questions. The quotation gives some focus to the question, and it is a jumping off point for analyzing a concept. Compose an essay with a thesis that answers this question. Demonstrate your understanding of the quote and its context, as well as your knowledge of how this applies to other examples in the book. You may want to summarize to some extent to show your knowledge of the book while remaining on topic.
Your essay should include:
No title needed. Label that you are responding to Choice #1 or Choice #2.
Introduction with thesis statement.
Address the specific question that you chose, and in relation to this answer, demonstrate your knowledge of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, using specific examples (at least 2 quotes) to support your point.
No works cited page needed.
minimum length: 1.5 double-spaced typed pages
Choice 1: (sorry the formatting is off for the long quotations–I wasn’t able to change it)
Let us stipulate that both of these meals are equally unreal and equally unsustainable. Which is perhaps why we should do what a responsible social scientist would do under the circumstances: discard them both as anomalies or outliers–outliers of a real life. Or better yet, preserve them but purely as ritual, for the lessons they have to teach us about the different uses to which the world can be put. Going to McDonald’s would be something that happens once a year, a kind of Thanksgiving in reverse, and so would a meal like mine, as slow and storied as the Passover seder. (410-411)
Explain this quote. Why does Pollan compare his perfect meal and a meal at McDonald’s as “unreal and equally unsustainable”? Drawing on selected main points and examples in The Omnivore’s Dilemma, explain in what ways these meals are similar. How are they different?
The industrialization–and brutalization–of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. Tail docking and sow crates and beak clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering four hundred head of cattle an hour would promptly come to an end–for who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. We’d probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals we’d eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve. (333)
Explain this quote and Pollan’s reflections and conclusions in this chapter, “The Ethics of Eating Animals.” What is the problem our industrial way of raising meat? What alternatives has Pollan investigated in The Omnivore’s Dilemma? Drawing on main points and examples from selected parts of this book, what do you think Pollan’s recommendation would be on purchasing and eating meat, and why?