Character Analysis of the Narrator of “Lust”
The story “Lust” by Susan Minot takes place in the Casey Academy which is a coeducational institution, where students at the age of 15 years and above study. The academy is religious-based institution following the narrator’s assertion that at the beginning of each day every student has to go to the on-campus chapel to pray and have intercession.
It is in the same religious set up where a promiscuous high school lady’s sexual desires act, whose real name is not mentioned, but “Lust” does all things that are not religious. “Lust” as the name refers to the desire to have instant sexual relationships with members of the opposite sex. The narrator, Lust, portrays various character traits throughout the play which blends well with the title of the story. These characters are well portrayed and are significantly non-religious in comparison to the expectations of the religion-based high school, Casey Academy.
The narrator is a self-victimizer. She constantly makes a victim of herself for her own sake. In the narrative, it is clear that she is responsible for instigating men and thereafter feels to be somehow cheated. However, she does not make any attempt to change her behavior. She asserts that men cheat, especially after giving everything to them what they need. “Then comes after. After when they don’t look at you. They scratch their balls, stare at the ceiling…You’re gone. Their blank look tells you that the girl they were fucking is not there anymore. You seem to have disappeared” (Minot).
The narrator has low self-esteem. This is evitable as she talks of her past life with boys and how she used to find problems with them. For her, this situation is intolerable and she can no longer do and enjoy what she liked. She has a feeling that her parents, by taking her to a boarding high school in New England, affected her love life since she cannot find someone to show her love to. In connection to that, she also feels the influence of the absence of her family and sees the parents’ decision to take her to a boarding school as neglect.
She is also sexually active. She loves sex though she does not really enjoy having it and with time it becomes a part of her. She does it with different men but does not gain satisfaction. She builds trust in having sex and asserts that the only way to get satisfied is to do it not pleasing at times. “After sex, you curl up like a shrimp, something deep inside you ruined” (Minot).
The narrator is immoral. The act of having sex with different men itself illustrates immorality of the highest order. This immorality becomes part of her despite the fact that deep inside, she feels remorseful aftermath. However, this assertion is true to the effect that when she was taken to the boarding high school, she felt like she was missing something within herself, which was sex. Furthermore, as the story begins, the narrator is portrayed as a character possessing self-indulgent sexual desire. “There’d be times when you overdid it. You’d get carried away. All the next day, you’d be in a total fog, delirious, absent minded, crossing the street and nearly getting run over” (Minot).
Lust is also emotional. It is evident from the story how emotional the narrator is. She builds emotions after realizing that she has been taken to a boarding school, a place which is far from her feelings and family life. This makes her feel insecure and creates her dislike for the school. Moreover, sometimes after having sex she feels emotionally removed from the experience. “….when Tim returns to her after closing the door, he finds merely a body waiting on the rug” (Minot).
She is selfless and determined. One can clearly figure it out how she struggles in order to accomplish her desires. She partakes in any chance to ensure that she fulfills what she deserves. Her determination contributes much to her personality, especially when she gets introduced to the new environment far from home.
The narrator is persistent. Even though she always has a sick feeling after having sexual intercourse, she remains persistent and the feeling does not affect her sexual desire. For her, it is a feeling that comes and fades giving room for the next trial. This persistence plays a crucial role in building her personality as well as her character. With the help of this she becomes what she is therefore giving the continuity of flow of the story.
She also reveals herself as unreliable character in the story. For instance, the narrator is not identified by any name. She is unspecified and anonymous in this context but rather identified through her relationship with other characters. This becomes a very important feature in the development of her character in the story.
She is confident. Her confidence is what enables her to get many men without their knowledge. Whenever she has a man, her confidence makes him think or rather reason that he is the one in narrator’s possession. This character proves that she is smarter in her undertakings since no one would even think of her as a lustful girl, instead one would easily build confidence and trust in her. The character’s traits also make her an achiever in her desires by making her always active.
The narrator is goal-oriented. As the story starts, she tells about her feelings and the first time she had sex with a boy. As the story develops, she tends to have more “traffic” in terms of boys and she states how she had sex with many boys and the under different circumstances.
In conclusion, with the help of narrator one is able to picture the men’s expectations in society in relation to the women that are obliged to have sex with them. This assertion is true since one can notice that any man she has a relationship with is just for sex.
Minot, Susan. Lust and Other Stories. New York: Vintage Publishers, 1989. Print