Character Analysis of the Short Story “Lust”
In the short story "Lust" by Susan Minot, the author creates and develops the main character differently than many authors do. The protagonist is not developed by depicting a physical appearance, but is developed partially through her relationship with other characters, and is predominately created by her own feelings and actions. The narrator, who is also the main character, is not identified but is nameless and faceless and the author uses this, as well as simile, to build the character. Using all of these, the author creates a heavily conflicted character that is both incredibly helpless and emotionally removed. The reader does not know what the main character looks like, but we do know how she thinks and feels. And while "Lust" is more of an interior monologue, the narrator does share with the reader her relationships with others, who are predominately male, as well as brief encounters with her house-mother and headmaster. In the beginning of Lust, she does not talk about how she feels, and her sexual encounters have almost no meaning to us; it looks like an itemized list of conquests given with a seemingly indifferent shrug of the shoulders. As the reader, we are proven otherwise as she recounts her tale. We learn exactly why she is driven to these men for love and gratification. Each experience with a boy has been given its own small, irregular paragraph. These descriptions prove to be very choppy as well, and it is suggested that Minot uses fragmentation and white space to mirror how fragmented and empty the narrator feels. During these encounters the narrator is usually emotionally removed from the experience. For example, when Tim returns to her after closing the door, he finds merely a body waiting on the rug" (Minot 229). This shows how helpless she is to the men in her life, and how emotionally fragmented she has become. She also admits her helplessness, indirectly, in a few ways "For a long...
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