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Coffee's Symbolism

More than just Coffee in the Novel


Throughout Doctrow’s novel “Little Brother” coffee seems to come up over and over again. In my hypertext site, I have detailed the significance of the hot drink through historical and cultural terms. However, to Marcus, coffee also means something else: home and a return to normalcy. Despite the crazy adventures, time spent behind bars, and various mishaps that happen to Marcus, he always seems to be able to catch a break over coffee. 

While being questioned, it seems to be the thing he wishes for most: “I could have torn her throat out with my teeth and taken her coffee just then”.

He wished that he could drink it at home: “I let my mom force a piece of toast and a banana into me, wishing fervently that my parents would let me drink coffee at home. I could sneak one on the way to school, but watching them sip down their black gold while I was drag­assing around the house, getting dressed and putting my books in my bag ­­ it was awful.”

When he is stressed, he wishes for it: “Agh. I hated arguing with my dad like this. I needed a coffee. "Dad, come on.”

And he celebrates his downtime with it: “I found a bug. We drank some coffee. I went home and played a little Clockwork Plunder.”
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Coffee is Marcus. He lives for it, he breathes it, and it is often times the only thing that can relax him (ironically). It is his support system and his confidant. And it is well served that the word “coffee” is brought up 41 times throughout the book.

Now to grab a cup.