From Investigation to Participation // Alec Girouard

From food to culture, culture to violence, industry to food, food to violence, you name it, the connection has been made. Delving deeper into not just the issues of the food industry or the source of violence from a killer, but also looking at the bigger picture and how society affects those industries or people has opened my eyes to how different aspects of topics connect and how those topics can bring about huge issues of ethics and human thought. Industry, food, culture, violence, and self all coincide with one another in this class; they provide for great debates over sources of violence or how human thought and culture has changed for the better or worse. This English class is not just doing research and writing the essay, it is experiencing the stories that society has to tell through research and portraying that in a way that brings in a deeper feeling of emotion and thought. Although many aspects of the food industry and society were looked at over the last two quarters, the constant search and investigation of the source of violence and its role in different mediums has been the key focus in the course load.

Chickens being treated extremely poorly in their so called "open range" environments.
Chickens being treated extremely poorly in their so called “open range” environments.

Where most of the ideas sprouted from and debate started was from the material and research itself. Food, Inc. is a film that goes through many different stories about the fast food industry and follows certain individuals around as they take you through a tour of how violent the fast food industry has become. It shows the darker sides of the giant, metal ridden factories where the majority of the nations’ animals are produced. In one of the scenes there is a struggling family of four that can only afford fast food restaurants due to being paid minimum wage and working long hours (Kenner). I did an experiment and found that it is very possible and convenient to eat healthy foods even on an very limited budget like that family was. At other points in the film I could see the pain of a chicken as it was too overfed to move, and too broken to have hope anymore. Violence is heartbreaking when we are on the other side of it, and is something that I learned more and more of as we studied it immensely. Moving over to Columbine was a little bit of a change in that it looked at violence more directly through an actual killer’s story, rather than investigate the sources of violence in the food industry. Reading Columbine challenged the usual ways in which I interpreted killers; it provoked more thought and debate on who Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold really were, rather than just labeling them as cold-blooded killers. The search for their sources of violence meant going through their history, relationships, family, and behavior to figure out their motive.

Eric and Dylan.
Eric and Dylan.

The methodology of finding and analyzing the research consisted of many hours of scouring through different research materials. These materials included website documents, scholarly journals, books, video sources, and many more. I found books to be the most helpful when I could find them, but news articles on the topics I was researching, like Aaron Alexis for example, were very helpful in that they covered the material in a simple and factual way. I feel that through researching multiple forms of the same topic it brought me to a better understanding to what my topic was and how I could improve on my Slant.

The answers to the tough questions that creative writing brings up are not all found in the research. Sometimes the point of the paper is just to get people talking about it, which will in turn possibly bring about a movement for change. Violence in humans and industries can be studied and looked at endlessly, but only when people finally start talking about it and bringing it up can we think of ways to do something about it.

Works Cited

Kenner, Robert, writ. Food, Inc. Magnolia Pictures, 2008. Web. 10 Dec. 2014.

Cullen, David. Columbine. New York: Twelve, 2009. Print.


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