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The Omnivore Versus the Forest sample essay

The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan describes the everyday struggle between the omnivore and its food choices. The omnivore’s dilemma comes about every time the omnivore becomes hungry. There is the question of “What do I want to eat? ” for each meal. Pollan believes that the omnivore has three main food chains: the industrial (corn), the pastoral (grass), and the personal (forest). I chose Part III Personal of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The personal food chain is where the hunter-gatherer finds their food within the forest. I will be reviewing chapters 15 through 17, The Forager, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and The Ethics of Eating Animals.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma offers an interesting insight of the omnivore overall however, does it meet my common expectations of readability, storyline development, and maintaining interest. The way a book reads in terms of words and language used is readability. When an author uses uncommon or unknown words throughout, it affects the way the book reads. When I am constantly looking up words that are unfamiliar or I cannot determine from the context, I lose interest. The constant stopping distracts from how it reads. There were a few words I did not know such as chanterelle and surfeit.

Chanterelle turns out to be a species of mushroom, which I was able to determine from the context of the paragraph. I had to stop to look up surfeit, which means an intemperate or immoderate indulgence in something. Overall chapters 15 through 17 have great readability. Storyline development is another important aspect of a book. The story must gradually build onto itself without becoming stagnant. A storyline that builds to climax fast and leaves the rest of the story with nothing or a storyline that takes forever to develop will ensure that I will stop reading.

Chapters 15 through 17 add to the storyline of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Chapter 15 starts with the gatherer or forager. Pollan begins with his gathering experience of helping his mother collect clams, berries, and beach plums during childhood. He then adds to the storyline with his adulthood experience gathering in the forest for mushrooms to getting his hunting license. Chapter 16 builds into how the omnivore’s dilemma applies to the hunter-gatherer. Pollan explains how the omnivore overcomes the defenses of plants and animals and thus creates the dilemma.

Chapter 17 then adds in the how the omnivore feels about eating animals, how the vegetarian chooses how to eat, how animals suffer (both being hunted and farm animals), the happiness of farm animals, the extreme vegetarian – the vegan, and the clean kill. The last aspect of a book is maintaining interest. I will only read a book if my interest is peaked and maintained throughout. Maintaining my interest is the culmination of the other two aspects: readability and storyline. The first three chapters of Part III have some interesting parts however, my interest went in waves. Chapter 15 was the most interesting of the three chapters.

Pollan held my interest by providing some background and telling his story of the first attempts at foraging. Chapters 16 and 17 did not hold my interest at all. I had to force myself to keep reading. The Omnivore’s Dilemma met two of the three common expectations I have for reading books. Unfortunately, the book was not able to hold my attention as expected. A book can read well and have a good developed storyline but if it fails to keep me interested, I will never finish the book. The interesting insight The Omnivore’s Dilemma provides is not enough for me to keep reading.

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