Summary Of Michael Chabon's The Mysteries Of Pittsburgh

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In The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon imparts an truthful message: “What inspires nostalgia has been dead a long time” (259). When recalling back on a certain period in one’s life, it is often a tendency to heighten the past events. This is especially true during warm weather and stereotypical times of ease and happiness. Summer, for young adults, is time often spent with working during the weekdays and meeting up with friends to partake in summer adventures during the nights and weekends. There are minor crises that arise, but the stress never seems comparable to what is usually experienced during the semester. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a coming to age novel focusing on the identity crisis of recently graduated young adults.…show more content…
This is because Phlox is just as lost as Art is about what identity she wants be associated with. She is constantly adapting new traits in an all-or-nothing kind of manner. When speaking with Phlox at one point, Chabon writes how Art admits “I don’t know what I’m like anymore. […] I do dumb things” (268). While Art openly admits he has no clue what he’s doing, Phlox completely delves into the identity she chooses. When being told she is unable to have sex as a practicing Christian, she drops that part of her. Chabon writes how does she does hang onto the opinon that gays are gross and homosexual fornication “disgusting” (109). Her attitude on the topic obviously contrasts with Arthur dramatically; additionally, Art is constantly having an inner battle about what his sexual preference is, so her inability to be empathetic does not fair well with her plan to win over Art in the end. Her dramatic two page letter condones his homosexual tendencies, but also offers to take him back once he chooses the heterosexual life (Chabon 231). In hindsight, Art thinks of Phlox of as being some odd entity that Art can really only enjoy for a short period of time and relish from afar. Art never sees Phlox manifest her will to bigness or claim an identity as her own, an he never properly says goodbye
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