In the afterword, the writer’s husband, who is also the model for “Joe” in the story, calls this story a “parable” (53). This term is usually applied to a story used to teach a moral or religious lesson. What is the moral lesson in this story? Does it feel “preachy” to you, or is the message fairly unobtrusive?
2. The afterword also explains the extent to which this “parable” is based on fact, and the extent to which it is fiction. Why do you think they decided to alter and shape the story a bit, rather than just stick to the facts? Would you have preferred a straight, factual story instead of the “parable”? Why or why not?
3. Discuss the pathos appeal. What values does the story appeal to? What emotions does it stir up?
4. Discuss the logos appeal. What information is given about the two different methods of growing coffee (organic shade grown vs. the chemical-dependent monoculture style), the effects of each method, the economic system of “free” trade versus “fair” trade, etc. Is there enough information to make the case, or would you have preferred more hard data.
5. This story holds two systems of coffee production up for evaluation, using a comparison/contrast structure. Discuss how the aesthetic, ethical, and pragmatic criteria all come into play in determining which is better.