Analyzing the Text
The Jungle is set in a slaughterhouse and cannery, while Fast Food Nation is set in a flavoring lab. Sinclair aimed to expose the unsanitary and unsafe working conditions, while Schlosser wants to educate his readers as to the various ways in which man-made flavorings deceive our taste buds without us even knowing.
His description of the IFF’s work shows that it is indeed possible for them to manufacture the taste and smell of chicken in a flavor lab.
In The Jungle, the passages describing the methods of producing food and the injuries the workers suffered provide vivid examples of what really happened in that factory. In Fast Food Nation, Schlosser’s descriptions of how smoke flavoring is created and what smells were inside Grainger’s glass bottles provide sensory details to help the readers understand what it would be like to visit IFF or a similar lab.
Both selections address food – in particular, what’s in it. Both writers write in a journalistic style, but one difference is that Sinclair’s piece is actually a fictionalized version of what really happened, while Schlosser’s is a completely true account.