Summary Of ' On Dumpster Diving '

1364 Words6 Pages
In 1993, Lars Eighner, a homeless college dropout, published his memoir titled Travels with Lizbeth. Within, an essay titled “On Dumpster Diving” shares his experiences and how they define his identity. Eighner views identity not solely on his status of a scavenger, but rather on how his experiences shape his identity and how he acts despite his circumstances. Similarly, as a student, my own identity is not based on my status, but rather on how my behavior is shaped in my situations. The identities of individuals are defined by how they live, how they react, and how they behave in all circumstances, not on their status or profession. Throughout Eighner’s essay, he utilizes various strategies to explain the process of Dumpster diving and how his personal experiences have shaped his own identity. Starting with a narrative, the author describes his passion for Dumpsters and his financial reasons for becoming a scavenger. Transitioning into a didactic tone, Eighner then defines various terms surrounding this idea of Dumpster diving and contrasts the meaning of a scavenger and scrounger. To him, scavenging is “a sound and honorable niche” (55), while scrounging is crude and demeaning. After comparing the motives of Dumpster divers with average people, he discusses various foods found in Dumpsters and the processes needed to ensure safe and healthy consumption. With a negative attitude towards ignorant college students and wasteful consumers, Eighner begins
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