What is a critical feminist view of "Lust" by Susan Minot?

A critical feminist view of “Lust” by Susan Minot might focus on how the story illustrates the inequality between men and women in romantic relationships and how it uses both first- and second-person pronouns to broaden its thematic commentary.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Critical feminism seeks to connect feminist ideals with other forms of critical theory that comment on social issues and culture, including Marxism, formalism, critical race theory, and queer theory. In this case, Susan Minot’s short story “Lust” portrays the experience of the young female narrator as a object of consumption that gains or loses value in the eyes of the boys she dates. For instance, the narrator frequently describes how boys regard her simply as “a body waiting on the rug,” an object to possess, or a means to get what they want—whether that be attention, sex, or children.

While the short story is told in a series of anecdotes from the narrator’s perspective, Minot switches between first- and second-person pronouns to encourage her readers to consider the narrator’s—and by extension, any girl’s—perspective. After sharing some of her own experiences, the narrator switches from her own story to generalized statements about how this type of treatment makes “you” feel. Faced with objectification, she states that “you begin to feel like a piece of pounded veal” or “you seem to have disappeared” after the boy you are seeing gets what he desires. As a result, the narrator's stories become platforms upon which Minot presents broader commentaries on gender, relationships, and the sexualization and objectification of women.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial