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Stereotypes About Homelessness In America In Dumpster Diving By Lars Eighner

661 words - 3 pages

Stereotypes about Homelessness in America in Dumpster Diving by Lars Eighner

Lars Eighner's short essay, "Dumpster Diving," reveals the stereotypes about homelessness in America. In order to confirm these known stereotypes about American culture, Eighner includes autobiographical accounts of the economically inferior class, as well as revealing his elitist rules that governs the life of a homeless person. According to Eighner, homeless people fall into the following categories, 'can scroungers', 'Dumpster divers', and 'scavengers.' (Eighner, 1993). In addition, Eighner's blatant demonstration of his superiority to the people he scavenges from reveals his true character of snobbery.
Although Eighner reveals that his chosen lifestyle was to live on another's refuge, he kept in accordance with his acts of superiority and snobbishness by excluding himself from the term "Dumpster Diving." Instead, he preferred to be called a "scavenger because of its frankness in the term." (Eighner, 1993). Furthermore, Eighner, explains that there are rules to abide by when successfully "scavenging" through dumpsters, "using the senses…knowing the dumpsters of a given area…. [and] Why was this discarded?" It is the explanation of the three guidelines Eighner asserts to be superior to 'can scroungers' (Homeless people who rummage through the dumpsters for money). The author further elaborates his snobbishness by revealing that he has tried the heinous lifestyle of "can scroungers," and deduced that only a few dollars could be obtained. Moreover, Eighner states, "one can extract the necessities of life from the dumpsters directly with far less effort than would be required to accumulate the equivalent of cans." (Eighner, 1993). The author stereotypes the 'can scroungers' as abusers of drugs and alcohol ('winos') by claiming their necessity to fulfill the 'daily doses' to survive from withdrawal. He further proports that 'can scroungers' blatantly 'tear up the dumpsters' and disregard perfectly good items for other homeless people. Eighner sees 'can scroungers' at the bottom of his elitist list because of the obtrusiveness to the practice of common scavengers. Furthermore, Eigher declares, "a true scavenger hates to see good stuff go...

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