Lars Eighner talks about his life as a street boy and evokes emotions in people who value life and those who do not like the life of a street child. He refers to his experiences as a dumpster scavenger who looks for food in the dumpsters throughout the day to find his fortune. Throughout the autobiographical narration, the author draws readers’ emotions through many ways, which describe the trouble he underwent in his life as a dumpster. Throughout the writing, the author moves with readers’ emotions in a cyclical manner (Eighner 254). At some point, he appeals to people’s emotions while, at another point, he attempts to manipulate the emotions of the readers. However, the author uses identical elements when manipulating and appealing to people’s emotions concurrently. Emotional appeal and manipulation make the reading interesting thus; it creates an attraction pool for readers to use throughout their readings. This paper analyzes different elements of emotions applied by Lars Eighner in his autobiography “On Dumpster Diving” with the intention of analyzing how he manipulates the emotions of readers.
The writer attempts to manipulate the emotions of readers through many ways. First, he uses comic words and phrases in attempting to draw readers away from emotional attachment to his life. The reader essentially sympathizes with the author because of the life he lived, as a dumpster. Essentially, most of the readers would react to the readings with different emotional changes. However, he attempts to change the emotions of readers by using words that draw them to happy moods (Carolsfeld, Lucia & Susan 255). Instead of referring to his life as a dumpster, he refers to his life as a scavenger, which makes it comic especially considering the characteristics of scavengers (Eighner 255). When addressing the issue of his source of clothes, the author says comically that he obtained all his clothes from the dumpsites except jeans. Literally, this diverts the minds and emotions of readers to the culture of jeans among most youths thus; the author uses it to manipulate emotions among readers.
Through emotional manipulation, the writer tries to make readers believe that though the life in dumpster diving may have harassed him; it did not destroy him. The ultimate expectation of the author is that people will understand the challenges that the street children go through in the streets. He wants the readers to use his life in making decisions concerning their reaction to the street children. However, he does not want people to divert their attention to his life alone. This is in view that some people would focus on his account and personalize his arguments (Eighner 255). Personalizing descriptions in the story would lead people creating a sympathetic emotion towards him. In reference to this view, the author attempts to drive attention away from his private life by showing that dumpster diving did not spoil him. He shows the positives drawn from the dumpster life comically thus manipulating the emotions of readers.
The writer uses patterns in his attempt to evoke emotions in the readers. The most common design used by the author starts with an account of the situation faced by the dumpster divers then providing a rationale for people to pity such people and help them (Gross 48). When addressing the issue of food inadequacy among the dumpster divers, the author begins by making readers understand his basic concept from the normal life emotions. He talks about what people say about food and how people misuse food until he lands on the dumpster divers’ lives. The development pattern helps people to keep in touch with the main idea in the paragraph. Through autobiographical development, the author shows that he intends for the society to understand and help the street children. He does not aim at making people sorrowful. He wants people to feel pity for street children and help them in the end.
The narrator also evokes feelings through personal narrations. Many people attach emotions to firsthand information and disregard any information that they perceive as second hand unless they trust the source of information. Through using his life as an example in most accounts of street life, he makes readers motions stronger. He leads readers to believe that many street children can develop strong personalities if they receive the right help and mentorship. Personal narrations center information in a particular description on the narrator. The attention of readers shifts to the narrator making reader focus on the narrator’s life. While focusing on the life of the narrator, readers develop strong emotional attachment towards his situation. Consequently, they develop similar emotions for people in the same situation as the narrator and act in the same way towards them.
In order to convince people and manipulate their emotions, the narrator emotion evoking attempts strategically throughout the story (Gross 11). Most of the attempts come at the start of new ideas about the lives of dumpster divers. The author uses two placement styles to attract attention from readers and convince them about his position. First, mid-idea placement helps him to insert his emotional manipulations within a paragraph explaining a particular point about the lives of street children. This technique diverts people to emotions about street life before bringing them back to the narrative (Gross 19). The author also uses developmental narrative in the story. Through this technique, the author begins by talking about real life issues before diverting to street life. It draws readers’ attention thus they later develop an emotional attachment to the conditions leading the narrator to achieve various objectives in their writings.
Summarily, “On Dumpster diving” by Lars Eighner shows strong connections between people’s conditions and emotions developed by the narrator through interaction with the audience. The narrator can evoke different emotions among the readers depending on the intention of his message. However, the readers tend to develop prior emotions according to the subject handled in a narration. In order to evoke the intended emotions, the author must strive to manipulate the emotions of riders. Manipulation of readers’ emotions mainly happens through placing manipulative phrases at the right place for the readers to interact with them. From such manipulation, the author achieves clear balance between requirements of the story and emotions of the people.
Carolsfeld, Anna Lúcia, and Susan L. Erikson. "Beyond Desperation: Motivations For Dumpster™ Diving For Food In Vancouver." Food & Foodways: History & Culture of Human Nourishment 21.4 (2013): 245-266.
Eighner, Lars. "On Dumpster Diving."Power of Language: Language of Power. Vol. 2ndCustom Ozarks Technical Community Collegem. Boston: Pearson Learning Solutions, 2011. 253-65. Print.
Gross, Joan. Dumpster Diving. n.p.: Sage Publications, Inc, 2012. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 Mar. 2014.