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One recounts a memory of the boys who lived next door while the protagonist was growing up.
It was a lesson I could not map on a Frye tag, assign vocabulary to, or quantify in any way.
I wanted my students to realize that, though a story can take many shapes: you know a story when you read one. Susan Minot’s “Lust” chronicles the relationships that its unnamed protagonist has with men while she is at boarding school.
Another recalls lines that men have yelled at the protagonist from cars. This story is about the—implicit and explicit—silencing of and disrespect for women that occurs in their romantic relationships with men. For a girl, with each boy it’s as though a petal gets plucked each time. After, when it’s easier to explain that you don’t want to.
It ends with this: “So I’d go because I couldn’t think of something to say back that wouldn’t be obvious, and if you go out with them, you sort of have to do something.” It is through these different stories, which are part of the same story, that “Lust” progresses. This is something that we certainly touched on, but did not linger over, in class discussions. Near the beginning of the story, the protagonist describes herself, waiting for her lover to return, as: “a body waiting on the rug.” It is followed soon after by this two-line section: From there, it continues. You wouldn’t dream of saying that maybe you weren’t really ready in the first place. You begin to feel as if you’re showing through, like a bathroom window that only lets in grey light, the kind you can’t see out of. Their blank look tells you that the girl they were fucking is not there anymore.
Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual desire (4).
The short story, Lust, written by Susan Minot, focuses on a female that experiences a great deal of lust. Tim's line: "I'd like to see you in a bathing suit." I knew it was his line when he said the exact same thing to Annie Hines. It was raining like hell, my sweater as sopped as a wet sheep. In his illegal cat, we drove to the reservoir, the radio blaring, talking fast, fast, fast. We were clicking in the shadows on the other side of the amplifier, out of Mrs. It tasted like salt, with my neck bent back, because we had been dancing so hard before.There is a section about the protagonist’s parents, and their oblivious remarks about the boyfriends she had at boarding school.Though brief, the passage is brimming with specificity, such as the closing line: “My father was too shy to talk to them at all unless they played sports and he’d ask them about that.” There is a poignant, short section about the songs she associates with certain men.But it teaches what is still a progressive lesson, namely: a story can take any form that it likes.We would always discuss the story’s form and content, but the greatest lesson that I hoped “Lust” would teach my students was an ineffable one.The meaning of lust to a female is much different than that of a male.The young girl in the story expressed lust as an instant desire; wanting to spend lots of time in bed with the person she had just slept with, which is women to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart (3).This is something that we certainly touched on, but did not linger over, in class discussions.Susan Minot’s story, “Lust,” was always one of the most popular in the undergraduate creative writing courses I taught.