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“On Dumpster Diving” By Lars Eighner Review

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    The effect of Lars Eighner’s attention to language in the first five paragraphs acts to emphasize the idea that he is not like the other divers, but he is educated and smart instead of the stereotype that the homeless are uneducated or impaired which draws the attention of the readers. As a result, it establishes the ethos of the author. Eighner presents his intellect and his intelligence when he discusses about the process of accessing information as well as understanding the nature of the history of the word and of the scavenging to suggest that he is living off what has been left behind. He clearly establishes his qualifications as someone knowledgeable.

    Especially, when he claims that he “began Dumpster diving about a year before [Eighner] became homeless” should suggest a moment of surprise, as this is not an exercise in word origin but a personal experience with the Dumpster and its contents. Also, by demonstrating his educated background when he discussed his passion of dumpster diving, his use of the diction like “scavenger” gave a “honorable niche” to describe his occupation instead of the dirty connotations a traditional “dumpster diver” would have used. For this reason, readers can trust in the information he presents about dumpster diving.

    Verbal irony is adroitly used when Eighner describes “Dumpsters in this area are very rich” which shows the value of the items that are refused of college students and is ironic because garbage waste is compared to wealth in spite of the fact that dumpsters are meant for waste or trash and aren’t usually described as rich. Situational irony is employed when Eighner says the “typical disregard is a half jar of peanut butter” and then he explains how peanut butter is unlikely to spoil in a “reasonable time”. It is ironic because students should be wise about details like that. A lot of students campaign for the environment when in reality, they are wasting just as much as others. It is also clearly evident that it is ironic since Eighner, a homeless man, understands more about the chemical activities of certain foods than rich kids who are supposed to be intelligent.

    Of course, some may note that the whole idea of frequenting an area near a university – where many students are working hard for an education in to get a good job – to get the best goods from the Dumpsters is also ironic. Students’ relationship to the economy at large may suggest that they are more consumer than producer as they are full of wasteful human beings who waste a lot of valuable and reliable items .

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