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The Theme of Desire in Three Stories

The uniting theme in Susan Minton story ‘lust’ , David Updike story ‘summer’ and john Updikes story ,A & P is the theme of desire. In this paper, I explore the presentation of the theme of desire in each story and point out the differences and the similarities in the presentation of the theme in all the three stories.

Susan Minot story, ‘Lust’ is a first person narration of the life of a teenage girl as she attends her studies at Casey academy for a span of three years.  The narrator is a teenage girl who lives in dormitory-styled rooms smokes both tobacco and marijuana, drinks alcohol and uses birth control pills from the age of fifteen years.  The narrator reveals having many sexual relations with boys like Roger, Leo, Bruce, Tim, Oliver, John, James and many others.  The author also reveals the many sexual relations the teenage girl had sexual relations with even with unidentified boys (Gale).

The structure of the story strongly suggests that there are other unnamed men the narrator had relations with exposing the theme of desire and lust for men, irresponsible sexual relations and drugs of the narrator. For example, the narrator reckons that sometimes the boys she had relationships with sometimes get distracted and surprised at her walking away from them and she does tell them that the girl they were having sexual relations with is now gone and has disappeared(Gale).

Susan Minot manages to portray the desire of the girl for casual sexual relations with boys.  Susan portrays the casual nature the girl has about sex through the narration of the thoughts the woman has after sex and the casual awareness she has about the dangers of promiscuous sex.  Susan exceptional way of revealing the adventures of the young and very promiscuous girl proves that she does devalue the sanctity of sex.  Furthermore, the way the author illustrates the sexual acts of the young woman symbolizes the way the author likens the acts to items in a list (Gale).

The lust and the desire the lady has for multiple sexual partners is illustrated by the author as well intentioned plans that had intentionally been thrown on a piece of paper like in the making of a list.  The symbolic style of writing used by the author reveal the meaninglessness of the relationships the teenage narrator engaged in and the reasons why she acted in this way to satisfy her desires.  Minto manages in a clever way to display these factors while listing the series of her relationships (Gale).  Minot manages to develop the theme of desire and the character of the teenage girl through her relationship with other people creating a character that is helpless and emotionally detached from the happenings in her life.

This presentation of the theme of desire by Susan Minot is very different from the presentation of the theme in David Updike story,’ the summer’.  In the summer, the author treats the reader with a blissful view of summer love that unfolds on a vacation getaway.  A young boy finds himself smitten by a girl and decides to woe her but in the end it turns out to be a stereotypical case of unreciprocated love. In the story the young boy in the story decides to follow her desire of the fantasy she had about a certain woman for whom she cannot have (John).

In the third story A and P, by john Updike ,the story is a tale of a young man who let his desires for idealism  get far ahead of him and this makes him to resign from his job.  In the story, the young boy grows from a young immature boy with vey unrealistic ideals to a mature man who realizes how the choices he makes influence his life.  Sammy resigned from his job to protest the banishing of three women he had relations with from the grocery store he worked in.  John updike uses both irony and humor to show how the desire of Sammy for idealism eventually land s him in trouble because he realizes that the action was irreversible and that life would turn out hard after resigning from his job (James).

All the three stories have the common theme of desire exemplified by the characters in the story.  The story of lust exemplifies the desire of teenage girl for multiple relationships and the immaturity and dark side of youthful sexuality.  The main character narrates his experiences and relationships with many men not because she loved them in any way as like the traditional view of sexuality but because this was what was expected of her and she wanted it (Gale)

The theme of desire is however looked differently by David Updike because he proves that it is possible to have desire for something we cannot have.  in the story the young boy fantasizes about her desire for a certain girl for whom she cannot have (John) In the last story A & P by john Updike, the author manages to portray the desire of the  young man as he decides to follow his desires for idealism and where it lands him.  Although the three stories differ in the way they present the theme of desires by the main characters in each story the theme of desire is the unifying theme for all the three stories.

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