Drinking Coffee Elsewhere

 Z.Z. Packer uses various storytelling techniques in her book Drinking Coffee Elsewhere. She is constantly using figurative language, such as similes, metaphors, personification, and hyperboles. She personifies things like the sunset and leather in The Ant of the Self when she writes, “The sunset has ignited the bellies of the clouds,” and “He settles deeper into his car seat…the leather sighing and complaining under him,” (p. 73, 78). Packer uses an abundance of similes, such as “He…[looks] into the unlit burner as though staring into the future,” or “He’s banging words into the dash as if trying to get them through my thick skull” or “The birds could land anywhere on Lupita and she’d wear them like jewelry” (p. 73-74, 79). She uses italics and capital lettering to emphasize dialogue, such as, “Do you know who you’re talking to?” (p. 75) or “THAT’S RIGHT! YOU’RE TALKING TO RAY BIVENS JUNIOR!” Packer sets the scene with comparative description and more figurative speech, like “Indiana farmlands speed past in black and white. Beautiful,” and “It is completely dark and the road is revealing its secrets one at a time.” She paints her characters in a humorous light, even when the situation is serious. In The Ant of the Self, the deadbeat dad—Ray Bivens Junior—is seen as pesky and unproductive, who “sucks his teeth, making a noise that might as well be a curse,” (p. 81). When he speaks, he “starts up,” and he calls his son words like “pussy,” (p. 81, 84).

WC: 247


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