The concept of homelessness refers to the individual’s condition of having no real house or place of permanent resident. Homelessness people are perceived to be people without a home, in other words, homeless are squatters. However, from the essay “My Daily Dives in the Dumpster” by Lars Eighner conceptualizes the idea of homelessness as a street live. Within Eighner’s piece, some stereotypical concepts of homeless are depicted. However, to an extent, Eighner has supported these stereotypes and to the other extend he has contradicted them. The underlying theme in this essay is that homeless people who discover their happiness from dumpster never achieve the demand of their happiness because society has turned out to be extremely materialistic.
The commonly known stereotype of a homeless person is that such people have no actual place of living, homeless people live in abject poverty, and as a result, they feed on dumpsters, and homeless people aren’t educated/intellectuals. People believe that homeless survive hard and pathetic lifestyle that is clouded with hopelessness and non-futuristic ambitions. However, in contrast to these explicit homelessness stereotypes, the narrative of Eighner “My Daily Dives in the Dumpster” effectively presents the concepts that he isn’t the stereotypical ordinary homeless person that is envisioned by the average person. However, Eighner is shown as an intellectual homeless person who has a hope of a brighter future. Therefore, through such an approach, Eighner can capture the attention of the readers and the audiences to the end of the essay.
To some extent, Eighner has contradicted some basic stereotype tagged with the homeless people. Within the essay, Eighner presents some fundamental principles that depict him eating safely as a scavenger. One of these principles demonstrated include “Why was this discarded?” (Paragraph 10). The mode of eating is what separates the hopeless, homeless person with the professionals. Dilettanti feeds from dumpsters while professionals eat safely. Although this food is gotten from the trash, Eighner has the guts to ask the reason for it to be thrown. Basically, typical homeless with no food cannot ask such as a question; instead, he/she could munch the meals gluttonously.
Contradicting the typical stereotype of the regular homeless person, Eighner seems to be a unique and reformed homeless and a street person. It is hard for a street person to get food. Whenever this person comes across any edible substance, without much thought, he/she starts feeding immediately. However, Eighner as a homeless is proving detrimental of this traditionally held perception and belief about the homeless. Eighner operates in an intellectual concept of “using the senses and common senses to evaluate the condition of the found material” (Paragraph 13). From this principle, Eighner is trying to say that despite the fact one is a scavenger, considering the purpose of throwing food is paramount.
To some extent, Lars in his essay has acknowledged the stereotypical attributes related to a homeless person. This is to support the notion that he is a homeless just like any other. As seen from the start of his essay, “I like the frankness of the word scavenging……. I think it a sound and honorable niche……” (Paragraph 3). Lars prefers this name than any other word given to him because it perfectly defines his life pursuit. For him, scavenger life suits his way of living. Every item he owns is gotten from a dumpster. In the real sense, a homeless scavenger is full of low self-esteem and ashamed of his/her state of life. Eighner boldly holds this stereotype because he says “At first, the new scavenger is filled with disgust and self-loathing” (Paragraph 5). This is the first stage of the long, predictable series of levels experienced by a person who is learning to be a scavenger. At this stage, the person becomes shameful to search someone else’s garbage for meals. The second phase suggests that the new homeless person will realize that “people to throw away perfectly good stuff” (paragraph 9). However, Eighner acknowledges that even though one can find perfectly good food in this garbage, there is a reason for such foods to be discarded. This is what Eighner is addressing in the middle of his essay. Various people dumped foods for different reasons.
Ironically, at the end of his essay, Lars summarize by accepting the dumpster lifestyle by terming it as “often surprisingly pleasant” (Paragraph 26). This statement tries to implicate that “one man’s poison is another man’s food.” This is because Lars had accepted the aspects of homelessness. The underlying theme in this essay is that homeless people who discover their happiness from dumpster never achieve the demand of their happiness because society has turned out to be extremely materialistic.