September 18th, 2012
Unloved and Underage Susan Minot’s “Lust” outlines the experiences of an unloved young girl in relation to the connection between her family, partners, and even herself as she matures sexually. Minot induces us to the girl as she is eagerly reminiscing on her first sexual experience; however, by the end of the story we can see that numerous encounters have shattered her fragile emotions. Lack of loving relationship and communication is evident in the way she describes her interactions with her family leaving her without a familiar support system. Trying to fill the void she seeks out sexual partners who are more interested in sex than a real conversation. Throughout the story, readers begin to see the distance between the girl’s true thoughts and her actions as she continuously act out sexually. The reader learns the girl does not have much of a loving relationship or connection with her parents mostly because she attends a boarding school. Being enrolled in a boarding school often means that she only sees them for holidays and school vacations although we find out that even when she is home they rarely pay her attention. Minot notes “Parent’s never really know what’s going on, especially when you’re away at school most of the time” (334) emphasizing that this is the reason she is able to get away with her promiscuity. If she chooses to introduce any boys to her parents, her mother simply responds with vague comments such as “I like that one” (334) whereas her father avoids them due to shyness. Her parents also do not checkup on her whereabouts once they give their permission to go one place since she often ends up at an unsupervised alternative venue. Therefore, we can deduct that family is not a familiar word to the main character, and lack of communication within her family is prominent.
The main character divulges at least fifteen encounters with fifteen different boys none of which were interested having a true relationship with the narrator. She would spend most of her time with her friends and boys via the boarding school and vacations. The other girls exclaimed “You always have a boyfriend” as though that meant the boys she was with provided a true connection or relationship. The boys depicted were careless young lustful boys looking for their next notch on their bedpost. She attempted to communicate with them and to look into their eyes to find out who they really were as revealed in the following dialogue:
I look at his eyes again, deeper. Can’t tell who he is, what he thinks.
“What?” he says. I look at his mouth.
“I’m just wondering,” I say and go wandering across his face. Study the chin line. It’s shaped like a persimmon.
“Who are you? What are you thinking?”
He says, “What the hell are you talking about?” (343) Minot portrays the girl in such a manner that it’s very clear she has no self-image or even connection between her thoughts and actions. The girl remains unnamed throughout the story leaving