Literature Study GuidesFast Food NationEpigraph And Introduction Summary

Fast Food Nation | Study Guide

Eric Schlosser

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Course Hero. "Fast Food Nation Study Guide." Course Hero. 10 Nov. 2017. Web. 15 Nov. 2018. <>.

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Course Hero. (2017, November 10). Fast Food Nation Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved November 15, 2018, from

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(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Fast Food Nation Study Guide." November 10, 2017. Accessed November 15, 2018.


Course Hero, "Fast Food Nation Study Guide," November 10, 2017, accessed November 15, 2018,

Fast Food Nation | Epigraph and Introduction | Summary


Key Takeaways

  • The book's epigraph, "A savage servility slides by on grease," is a quotation from the poem "For the Union Dead" by Robert Lowell. The word "servility" also describes the fast food industry's emphasis on obedience.
  • Scientists at Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station, a central hub of American military security, purchase fast food regularly. The fast food wrappers they leave behind may show future archaeologists "the nature of our civilization."
  • Fast food is both "a commodity" and "a metaphor" in the book. Social, cultural, economic, and technological forces combine to create a nation's diet.
  • The fast food industry encourages a culture of "uniformity," conformity, and standardization in America's service and retail economies.
  • The industry's scientific innovations represent "the best and worst of American capitalism" in its innovation, and in its widening gulf between rich and poor.
  • Fast food industry leaders in the American West believe in a free market and small government, but, despite their political views, they depend on federal subsidies.
  • "Gigantic corporate farms" have replaced independent food growers and farmers.
  • Meatpacking has become a dangerous job done by transient immigrants, and towns have changed as a result.
  • The meat industry has introduced deadly pathogens into the American diet.
  • Fast food corporations work with government allies to oppose worker safety, food safety, and minimum wage laws.
  • Eric Schlosser will use evidence, including statistics and worker narratives, to prove the claims he makes in the Introduction.
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