Review of Part 3 of Omnivore’s Dilemma

Review of Part 3 of The Omnivore’s Dilemma ENGL-135 Advanced Composition Professor Edmondson William McGuire In Part 3, Chapters 15, 16, and 17 of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan explores looking foraging for different foods, the ethics of hunting animals and harvesting the meat from them, and giving a brief look into what brought about the paradox of The Omnivore’s Dilemma.
Chapters 15, 16, and 17 bring up a lot of good points about foraging and hunting and Pollan provides through detail and research on the topics, but upon reading these chapters you find it lacking content that will keep you engaged and the material can be pretty dry at times while you get a little bit of disorganization from random topics. Chapter 15 of Omnivore’s Dilemma was a short chapter on how Pollan is preparing to make a meal from all of the foraging groups. Fruits, vegetables, fungi, and meat were the components that made up this meal, he wanted to find and gather enough from each group to make his first.
Pollan had just moved to California, so his unfamiliarity with the area was a disadvantage, so he decided to hire a companion to help him on his quest. Chapter 16 takes the reader to a different venue, Pollan discusses the beginnings of The Omnivore’s Dilemma through a research paper that was written in 1976 by Paul Rozin and titled The Selection of Foods by Rats, Humans, and Other Animals. Pollan expresses how similar we are to rats that we are omnivores, but unlike rats, we have lost our instinct of choosing food and follow advertisements as our guide.

He then goes on to suggest that the problems stem from capitalistic gains and the pursuit of revenue. In chapter 17 we are taken back to Pollan on his foraging quest he started in chapter 15. This chapter looks more at the ethics of hunting and eating animals that are not processed in processing plants like we are so use to seeing. Pollan brings up reasoning on why he is a meat eater and battles with the struggle on if eating meat at a steakhouse is morally right and ethical. He goes into detail about the way the animal lived and if the animal had a long, happy, humane life.
The author concludes that if we look away from how the animal goes from being on the farm to a freezer in the supermarket then people turn vegetarian and if we can’t look away then we have to find a way to accept it and determine if the animal endured a lifetime of suffering. Part 3 in the book meets two out of the three common expectations and displays some strong descriptive wording to give you a sense of imagery when you read certain parts of the book as well as give you a good understanding on the point he is trying to get across.
An example of one of the statements that he uses to paint a picture for you and try to bring you there is “I began to notice things. I noticed the soft yellow globes of chamomile edging the path I hiked most afternoons, and spotted clumps of miner’s lettuce off in the shade (Claytonia, a succulent coin-shaped green I had once grown in my Connecticut garden) and wild mustard out in the sun. (Angelo called it rapini, and said the young leaves were delicious sauteed in olive oil and garlic. ) There were blackberries in flower and the occasional edible bird: a few quail, a pair of doves. (Pollan, pg. 285) Another strength in this book is the subject matter that pertains to what the author is trying to convey to the reader, Pollan is trying to show the readers that the way we use to obtain and eat food is ever changing and will continue to change and we are easy to influence as it pertains to our diets, he does well in keeping to the theme of his book. The weaknesses of Part 3 cover two of the three common expectations and they are the lack of engagement for the reader and the order in which the subject matter is presented.
This book is not tailored for someone who loves to read fantasy or action, something that will leave you hanging on the edge of your seat wanting more. Instead what you get is someone detailing his experiences and research that supports a lot of his ideas, ethics of eating animals, and corn sex, alas no explosions or protagonist/antagonist struggle. I found myself dozing off a few times feeling like I was in an agriculture lecture or biology class.
The subject matter is laid out well in some parts of the book, but Pollan jumps around a lot with the material, for instance, in chapter 15 he is foraging for food then chapter 16 is about a research article that gave him inspiration to write The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and then chapter 17 is about his moral conflict of eating steak at a steakhouse and whether or not the animal had to suffer to get to his plate. I think the book needs some improvement in this regard so the author is not jumping to different topics at random.
In The Omnivore’s Dilemma, the author Michael Pollan is somewhat successful in satisfying the common expectations for the chapters I have read, one of the expectations is both a strength and a weakness for this part of the book. I think that the book as a whole does not satisfy the common expectations with the big one being engagement, there will be people who are interested in this book but it is only a small facet of the readers out there today. The book does deliver on the use of imagery and the subject matter stays on topic most of the time and supports his ideas and theories.
Later on in part 3 in the next three chapters he goes on the hunt and he elaborates on the history of pigs that are not native to California and his feelings after the kill. He then finds some wild mushrooms to pair with the meat he has acquired from harvesting the pig and talks about his adventures trying to find non-poisonous mushrooms; and the final chapter presents the author preparing the meal with all of the components he has foraged for and harvested. Works Cited Pollan, M. (2006). The Omnivore’s Dilemma. New York, New York: Penguin Books.

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