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On Dumpster Diving - A Literary Essay Example

4 pages
858 words
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
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On dumpster diving is an essay that covers a lot of information that a reader could have hardly imagine. The narrator in the essay introduces his life to the reader as a dumpster diver and paint a clear to us what a dumpster is and who is a dumpster diver. The essay shows the value of the things we throw away to other people how they use them, precisely how to use these waste thing effectively. The narrator uses narration/description to establish ethos and to build pathos with the reader while the logos of the argument depends heavily on the employment of compare/contrast and cause/effect. The choices of modes make the essay's argument logical, ethical, and emotionally relevant, ultimately making it persuasive.

The narrator begins the use of logos to appeal to the readers the logic behind how we use different things we encounter in our daily life. The author then proceeds to address his life as a dumpster diver and helps explain the kinds of waste people throw away. The narrator applies logos where he addresses the nature of the humans where they tend to throw away what they do not need. For instance the different waste by the students. The students waste foods due to reasons such as breaking for holidays or short breaks, and they do not want to leave the food in the house. Logically as the reader, this food is thrown out, and for a dumpster diver, this is healthy food. "Students throw out many good things, including food. In particular, they tend to throw everything out when they move at the end of a semester, before and after breaks, and around midterm when many of them despair of college."(89) This persuades the reader of the evidence needed to prove how food is wasted in different places and by different people.

As the narrator proceeds, they have applied ethos as another means to help persuade the reader of what dumpster diving is and its importance. In this section, the narrator introduced a different type subject which entails the type of waste people tend to through away without knowing. The narrator gives examples of waste such as the medical prescriptions and other sensitive information which dumpster divers come across. The narrator gives his views towards such waste and explains how such information speaks a lot about the person. But the narrator goes ahead and explains how such information does not interest him hence the appeal to person's privacy. This is a show of ethics and appeals to the reader of the ethical life of the dumpster divers. The narrator also introduces us to can scroungers who are a different type of people who scavenge for cans to sell and use the few coins they earn. They are referred to as less organized since they go through anything and leave them reckless with fewer responsibilities as compared to the dumpster divers.

The narrator also appeals to the reader's emotions which is the application of pathos. The readers get to learn more about how the different things people throw away may end up suffering for instance the pets. The narrator introduces us to his pet Lizbeth how they spend time together and dumpster dive together. He tells us how he found the pet next to a dumpster and rescued it. This is a clear indicator of the poor decisions people make from time to time. The decision of keeping the pet makes the reader get emotionally attached to the good act performed by the reader. How they interact together among other things makes the reader enjoy their company. People tend to through away a lot of things without measuring there worth. This is a bad thing although we find at some point this productive in the sustenance of other lives. Dumpster things are often sad abandoned teddy bears, shredded wedding books, despaired-of sales kits. I find many pets lying in state in Dumpsters. Although I hope to get off the streets so that Lizbeth can have a long and comfortable old age, I know this hope is not very realistic. So I suppose when her time comes she too will go into a Dumpster. I will have no better place for her. And after all, for most of her life, her livelihood has come from the Dumpster.(93)

The article covers the life of a dumpster diver and covers a lot a lot on the nature of waste people throw away. The narrator of the article tries to persuade the reader on the nature of the waste people to throw away its importance as well; there is utilization of pathos, ethos, and logos to help persuade the reader and the paper has highlighted some of the sections the different styles have been used. These have successfully been applied. Also going through the article, I have come across a number of new words such as;

Dumpster diver

Can Scroungers


Zillion fire ants


The article has been productive and helped understand more the different styles applied by the author.


Work Cited

Eighner, Lars. "On Dumpster Diving." New England Journal of Public Policy 8.1 (1992): 87 95.


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