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Susan Minot’s Lust

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 554
  • Category: Fiction

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“It was different for a girl.” (p. 582). This particular line from Susan Minot’s Lust perhaps embodies and encompasses the general sentiment and underlying ideology which runs throughout the extent of story. When the young protagonist or narrating voice in the story speaks of her various sexual exploits and intimacies with different men; in a frank and almost shameless manner, – as though she was speaking of something that was infinitely banal and commonplace – it can’t help to pass one’s mind that the young girl in the book is, and can be labeled promiscuous. Of course, if she were a man, that would less likely be the case.

            It was ‘different’ because the protagonist in Minot’s Lust recounted her sexual ventures and exploits with equal amount of consideration and candor. She detailed the most intimate of instances which most would deem taboo with an honesty and naked emotion that could only be attributed to the stereotypes attached to females: sensitive and emotional.

But Minot’s lead character, as evident in the text, is far from the stereotypical female. She relates the difficulties of her promiscuity, of her unabating and more than healthy need to seek out physical contact with the opposite sex, with the said candor and honesty that makes her almost endearing. And while her proclivities can easily be dismissed as – much like the title of the book connotes – lust; the narrator gives us a view that it is no more of a physical need, but of a visceral and emotional one that she wishes she could avert, but falls unfortunate prey to most eveytime. This particular sentiment is reinforced when Minot writes,

            “After sex you curl up like a shrimp, something deep inside you ruined… and slowly       you fill up with an overwhelming sadness, an elusive gaping worry. You don’t try to   explain it, filled with the knowledge that it’s nothing after all, everything filling up           finally and absolutely with death.” (p. 586).

Minot also challenges the biases which has long existed with regards to gender, how, as articulated in the following lines – double standards exist as a nagging reality.

            “The more girls a boy has, the better. He has a bright look, having reaped fruits.. He        stalks around, sure-shouldered… a fatter heart, more stories to tell. For a girl, with each          boy it’s like a petal gets plucked each time.” (p. 584).

Ultimately, the book affords us an understanding of the innate and infinitely inherent proclivity that is sexuality and sensuality; affording readers a perspective of the said subject matter which affirms and returns to the aspect of our fallibility, regardless of gender. And in essence, affirms and reflects our humanity.

            Three points which need to be considered after reading Lust are as follows: Why is promiscuity regarded as a natural, tolerable trait among men but regarded negatively and frowned upon among women? Why are women more affected with regards to physical intimacies,  even when it is just “casual sex?” Is the desire to express one’s sexuality and engage in physical intimacies ultimately evil?


     Minot, S. (2002). “Lust.” In Worlds of Fiction. (p. 581-587). Rubenstein, R., Larson, C.

            Prentice Hall, 2nd Edition.

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