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Dumpster Diving - a Critical Analysis

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David Wilson

Instructor: Mrs. Sain

English 101 S

October 26, 2010

"On Dumpster Diving"

A Critical Analysis

"On Dumpster Diving" was written by Lars Eighner. In this essay he is a homeless man accompanied by his dog Lizbeth. He thinks that his audience will change their ways of thinking, in terms of how they view dumpster diving, as well as their own wastefulness. He views dumpster diving as being positive because divers are not adding to the problem of creating more waste. Eighner uses figurative language to reach out to his audience while maintaining a strong, steady purpose. He shows us that he is sincere about his daily routine of dumpster diving, by explaining his point of view and providing a positive tone. He says "Between us are the rat-race millions who have confounded their selves with the objects they grasp and who nightly scavenge the cable channels looking for they know now what" (365). As Eighner is sharing his own life experiences, he is trying to point out that it takes someone living on the streets, scavenging for survival, to show us how many everyday items we waste.

Eighner uses chronological order to grab his audience's attention. By doing so it allows the reader to paint a mental picture so they can relate to what it is like to dumpster dive. He does this by talking about many different "diving" events which take place in various settings. For instance, Eighner starts out with a general scene of many dumpsters supplying many different types of food and supplies. Eighner mentions that "All of these foods might be found in any dumpster and can be evaluated with some confidence largely on the basis of appearance" (358). When he started his daily routine of diving it was hard to find the right food at the right time. As the days went by and he started becoming a true "scavenger" (356) he then knew where the hot spots were. The restaurants and people around these dumpsters started becoming suspicious which then caused him to move on to different dumpsters. He then tells us about one of his favorite dumpsters located behind a pizza delivery shop. Since Eighner frequented this dumpster on a daily basis he was able to tell which pizza was fresh and made that day to the pizza that was made the day before. Another scene described in this essay is the dumpsters located near a college, "Students throw out many good things, including foods" (358). He finds this as a reason to keep up with their move out dates at the end of the semester so he can scavenge their foods and any "Junk" (364) items that may be thrown away.

Another topic he discusses is the meaning and desire of dumpster diving. Each item he finds has some sort of



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