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Drinking Coffee Elsewhere and Every Tongue Shall Confess

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Her response is neither willful nor it has any hidden agenda. It is the spontaneous overflow of dark, suppressed emotions. Dina confesses “Until that moment I’d been good in all the ways that were meant to matter…Suddenly I was hard-bitten and recalcitrant, the kind of kid that took pleasure in sticking pins into cats” (Packer, 2003, p.106) In “Every Tongue Shall Confess”, one of the important themes ingrained in the characterization of Sister Clareese, a choir member of Greater Christ Emmanuel Pentecostal Church of the Fire Baptized, who is also a nurse, is how she has to challenge religious hypocrisy and sexual exploitation of her religious faith. She is molested by one of the so-called holy men, Deacon McCreedy, and she hates him. The combustible younger generation of African Americans, including females will cut loose from the mainstream discipline of the society and engulf the societal values like an avalanche causing enormous damage which may take a long time to heal. Moreover, such incidents will remain as the permanent blots in the books on the racial history of America.
The inner worlds of both Dina and Heidi are portraits of innocence but the former suffers from the consequences of her neglected upbringing with other disadvantages, and the latter is the victim of circumstances. Commenting on Packer’s stories Julie Myerson writes, “What they have in common is that they’re grafting away on the edge, struggling to fit in, to decide or define for them who or what they are. They may be wayward but they are essentially good – honest and funny and scathing.”(2004)I do not consider Dina as basically a violent character but there are certain tight knots in her personality which she is unable to loosen. Dr. Raeburn gives an opinionated statement that Dina is “having a crisis of identity” (p.117).