Literature Study GuidesDrinking Coffee Elsewhere

Drinking Coffee Elsewhere | Study Guide

ZZ Packer

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Course Hero. "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Study Guide." Course Hero. 21 Sep. 2020. Web. 1 Oct. 2023. <>.

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Course Hero. (2020, September 21). Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved October 1, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2020)



Course Hero. "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Study Guide." September 21, 2020. Accessed October 1, 2023.


Course Hero, "Drinking Coffee Elsewhere Study Guide," September 21, 2020, accessed October 1, 2023,



ZZ Packer

Year Published



Short Story



Perspective and Narrator

"Drinking Coffee Elsewhere" is written in the first-person perspective and is narrated by a young African American woman named Dina. This perspective allows the reader to experience the character's internal thoughts as well as her external experiences.


The story is written in the literary past tense, meaning past-tense forms of verbs are used, but within the story itself events are happening in the present.

About the Title

The title of the story derives from a memory the narrator Dina has about the morning of her mother's funeral. She was given milk to settle her stomach and pretended she was drinking coffee somewhere else. This memory emerges after Dina's psychiatrist Dr. Raeburn accuses Dina of "pretending," meaning she constructs stories about herself as a survival mechanism.


This study guide for ZZ Packer's Drinking Coffee Elsewhere offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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