The Mezzanine: A Novel Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. How does "The Mezzanine" begin?

In the beginning of "The Mezzanine," Howie, a young office worker, is riding the escalator to the intermediate level of the building, also known as the mezzanine. On the way, he observes what he regards as the beauty of the escalators.

2. What observations does Howie make about straws while he was at Papa Gino's?

At Papa Gino's during lunch, the clerk asks Howie if he wants a straw for his milk carton. This leads Howie to observe that he doesn't use straws for anything other than milkshakes. In a two page footnote, Howie recounts his childhood experiences with straws and comments on the evolution of straws.

3. What are Howie's thoughts on shopping bags?

Howie asks for a small bag at Papa Gino's, which causes him to consider shopping bags extensively. Howie rarely declines shopping bags when they are offered to him and he thinks this because he has gotten in the habit of using a bag to carry pornographic magazines. He believes that regularly carrying shopping bags makes it appear that he has nothing to hide. He also observes that he likes having a bag so his hands are free to touch things.

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