Pain Exposed In Susan Minot's Lust

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Susan Minot’s “Lust” follows a young woman narrating her growing up and coming of age through the men she has lusted over. The story is formatted in short paragraphs, usually changing between men without warning. At the near end of the story, she says: After sex, you curl up like a shrimp, something deep inside you ruined, slammed in a place that sickens at slamming, and slowly you fill up with an overwhelming sadness, an elusive gaping worry. You don’t try to explain it, filled with the knowledge that it’s nothing after all, everything filling up finally and absolutely with death. After the briskness of loving, loving stops. (225) In the first sentence, the narrator comically compares herself to a “shrimp” after sex and then goes on to say that she is “ruined.” This juxtaposition highlights the character’s habit of downplaying her own pain; which is common trope throughout the story representing how women must always say they are “fine” otherwise they are labeled overemotional. But this is the weakest attempt at lessening her suffering, implying that she is exhausted, “fill[ed] up with an overwhelming sadness,” and tired of hiding her true feelings. This passage comes from the few final paragraphs of the…show more content…
This seems to be a tool to disassociate herself from the text, belittle her agony, and bring the reader closer to the story. In doing this, it implies that she believes this behavior and mindset of “elusive gaping worry” is customary. In the third line, she says “you don’t try to explain it,” because she can’t explain this terrible feeling to herself for she believes that this torture requires no explanation, for “it’s nothing after all.” In this section it is difficult to tell if the “nothing” is referring to her pain or her relationship with the man she just had sex with, but either way the narrator makes it clear that if anything positive was happening, it has
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