'A List of Lust' 'They turn casually to look at you, distracted, and get a mild distracted surprise, you " re gone. Their blank look tells you that the girl they were fucking is not there anymore. You seem to have disappeared. (pg. 263) ' In Minot's story Lust you are play by play given the sequential events of a fifteen year old girls sex life. As portrayed by her thoughts after sex in this passage the girl is overly casual about the act of sex and years ahead of her time in her awareness of her actions.
Minot's unique way of revealing to the reader the wild excursions done by this young promiscuous adolescent proves that she devalues the sacred act of sex. Furthermore, the manner in which the author illustrates to the reader these acts symbolizes the likeness of a list. Whether it's a list of things to do on the weekend or perhaps items of groceries which need to be picked up, her lust for each one of the boys in the story is about as well thought out and meaningful as each item which has carelessly and spontaneously been thrown on to a sheet of paper as is done in making a list. This symbolist ic writing style is used to show how meaningless these relationships were but the deeper meaning of why she acted the way she did is revealed throughout the story.
Minot cleverly displayed these catalysts in between the listings of her relationships. One of the main factors of this was the neglect of her parents. It was not stated directly but the fact that her parents did not know what was going on leads the reader to believe that there was neglect involved. Long stays away from home coupled with a lack of interest in a child's relationships leaves an adolescent in a cruel world where answers are not guided by the wisdom and experience of an adult, but are guided by an innocent and naive young mind. When a child is forced to make decisions alone at such a young age their innocence is robbed from them and their development is lead down a path which they are not yet ready for.
Her actions are a classic example of this and the path which she was lead down was paved with boy after boy. Another factor in this was her role as a female. Her experience with her peers and her community lead her to believe that females were to be permissive to the dominant male figure. The society she lived in did not fully evolve towards the equality of men and women but was still following traditional roles. She thought that the worst thing that anybody could be was a cock-teaser and so if she flirted she felt that she had to be prepared to go through with it. She had such a lack of self confidence that her urge to say no to a male would not even be considered.
The fact that going on birth control in her school was a joke and was compared to being given out like aspirin almost publicized the act of sex. Being aware and safe in a school should be a priority but in her young mind it acted as an invitation. The names Leo, Roger, Tim, Eben, Mack, Eddie, and Oliver were just names on her list. These boys were used by her and she was used by them and the outlet between them was sex. Were these acts lead to by simple lust or were they the results of a narrow minded society and a lonely misguided upbringing? The last line of the story, 'You seem to have disappeared (pg. 263) ', is the way she feels after sex and is very indicative also about how she feels in her own society and within her family.
She uses these boys just as one does in writing a list of things they are missing.