The Mysteries of Pittsburgh Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. What information does Art Bechstein, the protagonist, provide at the beginning of THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH?

Art Bechstein gets a few facts established in order to begin his story. His father, Joe Bechstein, is a Jewish gangster who lives in Washington, DC; Art's former girlfriend, Claire, has moved out of their apartment and their relationship has ended; Art has just finished college and, it is summer, so he is now free. These facts lay the foundation for his story of the summer after college graduation.

2. What is Art's perspective on his education and his upcoming summer?

Art makes it clear that he does not think much of his education, which he has been working on for some time. When his father asks what he will do with his time during the summer, Art says that he anticipates "a coming season of dilated time and of women all in disarray," which is exactly what he will be pursuing. This is clearly a turning point for Art, who is making a transition from being a student to what he perceives as some real freedom.

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