“On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner

Does using persuasive appeals in your writing help convey a message? In “On Dumpster Diving” by Lars Eighner, he discusses his life and experience as being homeless along with his dog. Eighner reflects on his life as a scavenger and examines what people in today society consider trash. His message is to value your belongings and be thankful for what you have. He was also trying to tell people to be less wasteful. Throughout his writing, Eighner uses ethos, logos, and pathos to explain his message. In the following paragraphs we will discuss each appeal that the author used.

Ethos means to convince an audience of the author’s credibility or character (Super). Eighner stated “I began dumpster diving about a year before I became homeless” (Par 3). Eighner reveals that he was impressed with the art of dumpster diving prior to becoming homeless. Next example, “Eating safely from the dumpsters involves three principles: using the senses to evaluate… Why was this discarded?” (Par 10). The author presents ethos through lessons he has learned about dumpster diving. Last example, “For myself, I avoid… until it is quite strong“(Par 34). He implies that he has learned to take what is necessary and what he can use; then, let the nonessential things pass. Eighner used ethos to show to his audience that he is a credible source.

Logos means to convince an audience by use of logic or reason (Super). One example Eighner writes ”Students throw out many good things, including food” (Par 25). Eighner reveals that most college students are careless and usually throw away a lot of valuable things during the semester. Next example, “Students throw out canned good… keep perfectly well even after opened” (Par 30). The author points out the students constantly being unconcerned about discarding valuable items at their leisure. Last example, “Dumpster diving is outdoor work… finds of great value” (Par 71). Eighner indicates that he finds great value in scavenging. He also explains how easily it is to find everything he wants. Eighner used logos in his writing by citing facts on a dumpster diving.

Pathos means to persuade an audience by appealing to their emotions (Super). One Eighner stated example that “I found a small paper bag… planning to give up sex all together (Par 61). When the author looks through the dumpster he often finds item that tells a story Next example, Dumpster things are often sad… lying in the state of dumpsters” (Par 62). Eighner writes that scavenger can be emotional finding shredded wedding books and pets in the dumpster. Last example, “I am sorry for them” (par 79). The author is calling out people in general who take things for granted and waste things. He implies that he feels sympathy for the people who do not understand the value of things that they discard carelessly. Eighner uses a pathos by using emotion and to get his message across.

In “On Dumpster Diving” the appeal that the author used the least was pathos. The author uses this appeal the least because his purpose is to explain the life of a scavenger and what they come across. The author is more so informative than emotional. He also wanted to show how people can be able to live by minimal resources. He explains why it is important to be grateful for what you have. He also wanted to teach a lesson to wasteful people. Eighner used ethos and logos the most to explain his message.

In conclusion, Eighner used persuasive appeals to help convey his message. His message demonstrate that dumpster diving is an honorable niche. He took pride in scavenging through dumpsters to survive. He also wanted to show how people can live with limited resources. With the author using each appeal primarily ethos and logos it was persuaded his message about dumpster diving.

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