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Lars Eighner’s eloquence and extensive vocabulary reveal a man who takes pride in what he has learned as a dumpster diver, and who uses this knowledge to subvert stereotypes about his lifestyle. He quotes examples of his experiences as a dumpster diver and his progressive journey to dignify his way of life throughout the essay.
Eighner’s experience highlights that the art of dumpster diving is a new way of life which can be learned with practice. He points out that “eating from dumpsters is what separates the dilettanti from the professionals” (14). Thus, he feels that he has acquired the skill of picking from dumpsters and is pleased with it. In addition, he dislikes the use of any other word instead of “Dumpster” and perceives that the word is “too apt” (13) and “cute” (14). He proudly states that he “lives from the refuse of others. He is a scavenger.” (14). Therefore, he is not shameful of being a “scavenger” and prefers this word for him.
Eighner admires his job as an “honorable niche” (14). His essay draws attention from the beginning when he indicates that he does not like lavish wastage and claims that he would like to become a “less wasteful consumer” (14). This phrase is quite apt which glorifies his profession of dumpster diving as it is only through this profession that he started to appreciate the value of thrown entities and started using them – thus minimizing the waste. He is happy with the profession he has adopted, and he finds joy in the things he finds in the dumpsters. He does not complain about his circumstances instead he finds this occupation to be interesting. He claims, “Dumpster diving is outdoor work, often surprisingly pleasant” (21). He expresses that his job is worthwhile and productive.
Eighner has carefully dedicated part of his essay to guide people to make them safely adopt the profession of dumpster diving by describing do’s and don’ts for picking food as a dumpster. Most of the people view the dumpsters as the persons who have no principles. However, Eighner has tried to change the mentality of people by quoting examples from his lifestyle. He has used two examples in this regard – never placing a “bogus” order and being “intoxicated” by mistake. Firstly, he states, “I never placed a bogus order to increase the supply of pizzas and I believe no one else was scavenging in this Dumpster” (15). This demonstrates he will remain hungry rather than be dishonest. Again, he turns out to be unique in relation to others when he shows his disapproval of being “intoxicated at a public place” (17) by accidentally consuming rum. He states that it might be a “boon”(17) for some dumpsters. However, he is not that sort of person who would be joyful about it.
Eighner’s critical analysis of every food reveals that his job is hard yet he has devised certain ways to confirm the quality of foods. In order words, he has done a good amount of work to find which foods are “safe” to eat (14). He has acquired the skill of sorting good food from a dumpster. He specifies names of various foods like “crackers”, “raw fruits”, “chocolates” (15) to prove this. He wants the readers to put themselves in his place through the reference of various foodstuffs so that they can imagine his lifestyle. His genuine and cautious appraisal of sustenances interests the reader and the reader is bound to read about it painstakingly. The way Eighner pictures various stages of dumpster diving is astounding. He emphasizes that the man gets transformed and become a better dumpster as he advances in the business. This shows that he is so dedicated to his profession that he also underwent various challenges during his excursion as a dumpster diver, yet he was constantly prepared to confront them. He admires his profession by stating, “Those who disparage his profession are the fools, not he” and expresses that “The diver, after all, has the last laugh” (17).
Eighner tries to uplift his lifestyle when he quotes that he is very ethical when it comes to picking things from a dumpster. He uses a non-judgemental approach when he finds personal stuff and confidential information in the dumpsters. Evidently, he tries to subvert generalizations regarding his way of life. The phrases “Despite all of this sensitive information” and “scavenger ethics” (19) are very effective in this regard. In addition, he is critical of picking stuff from “individual garbage cans” but according to him they are “personal”, however, a dumpster is “less personal”. Moreover, he also appears to be extremely sensitive when it comes to Lizbeth – his dog. He aspires to a “comfortable old age” (20) for her. This reveals that he is not only a person of good moral character but also very tender-hearted.
Lastly, he compares himself to rich people despite being a dumpster diver. It is evident of the fact that considers himself no less than “very wealthy” (22).
In conclusion, his usage of words and depiction of different encounters demonstrate that he genuinely takes pride in what he has learned as a dumpster diver and has truly made people see dumpster diving in a different way.

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