How Is Dina Portrayed In 'Drinking Coffee Elsewhere'?

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A character can seem more real when they are portrayed as unpleasant. People in real life have negative traits, and can often relate better to a character who shares the same flawed persona. However, sometimes a character is so offensive the reader cannot relate, only watch them self-destruct in horrified awe. “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” by ZZ Packer and Becky Hagenston’s “Midnight, Licorice, Shadow” both have main characters who are disagreeable to the point of fascination. Both women, Dina in “Drinking Coffee Elsewhere” and Lacey/Donna in “Midnight Licorice, Shadow” have some horrible traits. Packer compels the reader to feel compassion for Dina, while Hagenston creates a character so despicable the reader is driven to keep reading about her demise. In each story, the reader is left to ponder each woman’s end and create for themselves a suitable conclusion. A short story’s protagonist might seem unlikable at first, yet often a person is enticed to be sympathetic to their situation.…show more content…
She establishes her hatred for her peers, refusing to participate in the trust exercise, thinking “Russian roulette sounded like a better way to go” (Packer, 303). Her sarcasm adds to the crushing hopelessness conveyed through the text. This first glimpse at her pessimistic nature acts as a cry for help—though it’s obvious the last thing Dina wants is sympathy. Dina’s aside comments, such as “It was the voice of a suburban mother in training” (305), add to her cynical tone and show her unwillingness to cooperate with figures of authority. She puts on a tough act, but Dina has a relatable, almost sensitive,

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