Dumpster Diving

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“On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner is an essay about the author’s personal struggles of homelessness and the art of getting his daily necessities from local Dumpsters. Even before he was homeless, he had started to “Dumpster dive,” or “scavenge,” as he calls it, due to the depletion of his savings (Eighner 161). Despite the fact that the essay is about the author’s homeless experiences, he manages to remove most of the emotion from the essay and takes more of an approach that seems like he’s writing a Dumpster diving guide. Eighner utilizes many style elements including writing with a strong sense of reason and judgment, contemporary information, and his general dejected tone.

This essay seems like it could have been written for two different audiences: One being those individuals who might be fascinated with the idea of Dumpster diving, or those who already partake in the activity, and the other might be those individuals who are wasteful. The main purpose of this essay is to share the author’s own personal experiences of being homeless, to talk of his knowledge of Dumpster diving, and to also explain and give advice on how a person might go about living out of the Dumpsters. An additional purpose of the essay might be to show how wasteful people truly are. Eighner writes of one particular group, which he finds to be quite excessive, “Students throw out many good things, including food” (Eighner 164). You can respect Lars Eighner as the author while you read this essay because you know that this is how he lived his life for years, and therefore, you can trust that he knows what he is talking about.

This essay is written with a style of contemporary information. Eighner starts by giving his reasons for why he originally started Dumpster diving. Eighner then goes into more depth about Dumpster diving itself. He first talks about eating from the Dumpsters, how to tell what is safe to eat, and what to stay away from. He talks about where good places to...
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