My Name is Red

My Name is Red

Coffee Symbol Icon

Like dancing, music, and painting, coffee is a controversial phenomenon within the world of the book, with some characters praising its virtues and others denouncing it as a sin. Coffee is thought to have arrived in Istanbul from other parts of the Islamic world in the mid-16th century, only a few decades before the novel is set. As a result, coffee is still new to Istanbul, and is the cause of both great excitement and anger. The storyteller represents the pro-coffee faction in Istanbul, speaking enthusiastically about coffee and impersonating a Tree who claims that giving up coffee can lead to the degeneration of the mind. On the other hand, the fundamentalist Erzurumis and other religious zealots denounce coffee as a sinful vice. Coffee thus becomes a controversial symbol of cosmopolitanism, pleasure, and religious liberalism—much like realist painting. It’s significant to note that the future of coffee—like the future of traditional Muslim religious life—is left uncertain in the novel. Near the book’s end, the Erzurumis descend on the coffeehouse, destroy it, and kill the storyteller. This event suggests that coffee culture—and tolerant, cosmopolitan culture in general—will continue to have a vexed future in Istanbul.

Coffee Quotes in My Name is Red

The My Name is Red quotes below all refer to the symbol of Coffee. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of My Name is Red published in 2002.
Chapter 3 Quotes

I heard tell that this Husret Hoja, taking matters even further, declared with spittle flying from his mouth, "Ah, my devoted believers! The drinking of coffee is an absolute sin! Our Glorious Prophet did not partake of coffee because he knew it dulled the intellect, caused ulcers, hernia and sterility; he understood that coffee was nothing but the Devil's ruse. Coffeehouses are places where pleasure-seekers and wealthy gadabouts sit knee-to-knee, involving themselves in all sorts of vulgar behavior; in fact, even before the dervish houses are closed, coffeehouses ought to be banned. Do the poor have enough money to drink coffee? Men frequent these places, become besotted with coffee and lose control of their mental faculties to the point that they actually listen to and believe what dogs and mongrels have to say.

Related Characters: The Dog (speaker), Nesrut, Hoja of Erzurum
Related Symbols: Coffee
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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Coffee Symbol Timeline in My Name is Red

The timeline below shows where the symbol Coffee appears in My Name is Red. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...and feels that Shekure’s face might “suddenly appear.” After evening prayers, Black goes into a coffeehouse, where a storyteller is entertaining the crowd. He shows the audience a drawing of a... (full context)
Chapter 3: I Am a Dog
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...denounced dervishes who sing the Koran to music as “kaffirs” (unbelievers). Husret Hoja also condemned coffee, claiming that coffee causes mental incapacitation such that coffee-drinkers would believe what “dogs and mongrels”... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...and “a bad omen.” However, he is even more disturbed by the Hoja’s condemnation of coffeehouses. He admits that there may be some in the audience who distrust the views of... (full context)
Chapter 4: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...disdainful of the belief of most people in their own innocence. He goes to the coffeehouse, looks at the picture of the dog hanging on the wall, and laughs at the... (full context)
Chapter 10: I Am a Tree
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
The tree admits that it is lonely, and asks the audience to drink their coffees and listen to its story. The tree has been sketched onto a rough piece of... (full context)
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
The Nedret Hoja of Sivas denounced painting, seducing “pretty boys,” and coffee. The tree says that one of its branches is bent, and this is because an... (full context)
Chapter 19: I Am a Gold Coin
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
The narrator introduces itself as a genuine 22-carat gold coin drawn by Stork at the coffeehouse. In the past month, Stork has earned 47 gold coins, the most of all the... (full context)
Chapter 21: I Am Your Beloved Uncle
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...he knows that, after they leave his house at night, the miniaturists go to the coffeehouse and mock him. (full context)
Chapter 22: I Am Called Black
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...only stories that come to his mind are those told by the storyteller at the coffeehouse. (full context)
Chapter 31: I Am Red
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
...a master miniaturist crushed dried red beetles and turned the pigment into paint while drinking coffee. It recalls once hearing two blind masters discussing how they would explain the color red... (full context)
Chapter 45: I Am Called “Stork”
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
Stork is on the way to the coffeehouse after evening prayers when a boy from the palace arrives at his door. When he... (full context)
Chapter 46: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...begins to cry. He returns to the streets and reluctantly ends up at “the despicable coffeehouse.” The murderer feels paranoid that the patrons of the coffeehouse are laughing at him. He... (full context)
Chapter 50: We Two Dervishes
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...Royal Treasury, and that they will now tell their story to the patrons of the coffeehouse. They have been dead for 110 years but they stand here today because they were... (full context)
Chapter 53: I Am Esther
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...walk in the darkness back to Enisthe’s house. On the way, they pass by the coffeehouse, which is being violently raided by the Erzurumis. Black urges the women and boys to... (full context)
Chapter 54: I Am a Woman
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
Love, Desire, and Greed Theme Icon
...“Oh, how wonderful love is!” and then exclaims as he notices strangers bursting through the coffeehouse door. (full context)
Chapter 55: I Am Called “Butterfly”
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
After the Erzurumis leave, Butterfly walks into the coffeehouse and looks around the chaos left behind. There are bodies all over the floor; Black... (full context)
Chapter 56: I Am Called “Stork”
Storytelling, Identity, and Perspective Theme Icon
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
Virtue vs. Sin Theme Icon
...the next room. He enjoys pretending to be afraid of them. They ask about the coffeehouse, and Stork suggests that the proprietor of the coffeehouse conspired with Olive to kill Elegant,... (full context)
Chapter 58: I Will Be Called a Murderer
Creation vs. Representation Theme Icon
Life, Death, and Consciousness Theme Icon
...how he killed Elegant. The murderer explains that he had been heading home from the coffeehouse when Elegant confronted him about the pictures for Enishte’s book, which Elegant considered to be... (full context)