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Susan Minot's story "Lust" is set in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when young people, especially women, were experimenting with and experiencing more and more personal freedoms. They were rebelling against the conservative, "square" mores of their parents.
The theme of this story might be expressed as the search for self-awareness. The narrator struggles with how to fit in with her sexually active peers. Another theme might be the different ways males and females approach sexuality. The narrator wants an emotional connection, but the guys she encounters want only physical release. The eNotes study guide notes that
Minot demonstrates the great divide between male and female desire, and the story's title, “Lust,” becomes a key word for exploring the psychological complexities of sexual desire.
I disagree with the above answer. I am studying this very short story in my college course (I already have my undergrad degree). The theme, as with all of Minot's short stories, is one of human beings seeking love and fulfillment (which seems out of grasp) and filling the never-ending void with that which is superficial, hurtful and empty. In the beginning, thru the author's more cheeful vocab and short sentences, we see that the character believes she is doing what she likes to do. As the story goes on, the vocabulary becomes more negative (the boys become merely their body parts) and the sentences run long as if seeking some solution to end the pain. The main character is a wealthy girl from a family that can give her the "best," although that best is simply superficial "stuff" (places, money, clothing, etc). What she lacks is love....love from her family and love of self. She's a very sad, empty young woman who, deep down, wants to find love from her many partners, but who knows she is just being used. But, it's better than nothing, even though the emotional pain increases with each lover.
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