Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Literary Elements

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Literary Elements


Short story/fiction

Setting and Context

Yale, the end of the 20th century (the exact year isn’t pointed out)

Narrator and Point of View

The story is told from the 1st person, the narrator is the main character.

Tone and Mood

The tone is generally gently expressive: the narrator tells the story using a lot of informal words (informal tone), she is free in thoughts expressing. A considerable part of the story consists of the narrator’s thought described: these are quick, ironical, critical, analytical. The mood created through the tone, settings and the technique of narration, is restrained, analytical, and quite active despite of the narrator’s loneliness.

Protagonist and Antagonist

Dina is a protagonist, people around her (with the exception of Heidi) make up the opposition to Dina.

Major Conflict

The major conflict occurs between Dina and her surroundings. She is not a kind of communicative person having no wish to participate in any white system.


It is a moment of conversation between Dina and Heidi, when Dina finds Heidi, who was going to funeral, in her room with the lesbians.


I thought that that first encounter would be the last of Heidi, but then her head appeared in a window…(foreshadowing of telling about events related with Heidi)
So I told him about the boy with the nice shoes (foreshadowing of the following story about the boy)




Existentialism philosophers, Socrates, and Plato are mentioned in allusions.


View Imagery Section


“My mother is dead” – “Fine,” I said. “And she's going to be dead for a long time.”


The sunlight dulled as if on cue. Clouds passed rapidly overhead, presaging rain.
I pictured men wearing tights and knickers, smoking pipes.
I hated dolls and I hated games, animals were not friendly and birds flew away.
Cool, suspicious.

Metonymy and Synecdoche

“As a person of color, you shouldn't have to fit into any white, patriarchal system.” – not only the main character is meant, but all people of other nations who differ from the standard.
“I also received the first knock on my door” – Dina obviously heard not a single sound, but a series of knocks.


“His profession had taught him not to roll his eyes.” – profession can’t teach anybody: either somebody teaches a person, or he/she learn something him-/herself.

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