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Written by the British author E L James in 2011, the book ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is considered an adult material due to the erotic scenes that features a number of sexual practices. Such sexual practices in this book include masochism/sadism discipline/bondage and submission versus dominance (Flood, 2012).
The story is predominantly set in Seattle and revolves around the life of Anastasia Steele, a college student and Christian Grey, a young businessperson (James, 2011). The purpose of this research paper is to review provide a quick review and summary of the book and the author.
About the author
Born Erica Mitchell in 1963, Erica Leonard is better known by her pseudonym E. L. James in the British writing field. The erotic trilogy ‘Fifty shades of grey’, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ and ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ brought James into the limelight since they were released, especially in the United States where the trilogy has sold more than 40 million copies (Johnson, 2012). The book is currently one of the fastest selling novels in the United States and the United Kingdom (Flood, 2012).
Erika Mitchell was born and raised in Buckinghamshire, UK. She is the daughter of Scottish father, a camera specialist with the British Broadcasting Corporation BBC and a Chilean mother (Furness, 2013). Prior to becoming an assistant studio manager at the National Film and Television School in Beaconsfield, James took history at the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, where she majored in European and American history (Johnson, 2012).
James has been working as a television manager in the United Kingdom, although her trilogy is mainly set in the United States. Currently, she lives in West London. She is married to Niall Leonard, a screenwriter, and the couple has two sons, both in their late teens (Driscoll, 2012).
The book revolves around the story of Anastasia Steele, a fresh graduate, who is out to start life after school. As the story begins, Steele has only a few weeks to take her final exams at the WSU, where she is taking English literature. However, in the middle of completing this important task in her education life, her best friend, Kate, influences her to go and interview Mr. Christian Grey, one of the school sponsors.
The purpose of the interview is to develop a motivational story for the school magazine. Accepting the task, Steele goes to Grey Enterprises Holdings Inc., a Seattle-based private corporation run by Christian Grey (James, 2011).
Christian Grey is a 27-year old but very powerful and successful businessperson in Seattle. As she goes to interview him, Steele is only equipped with the questions and a voice recorder and aims at developing a comprehensive story for the school magazine. Here, she surprisingly meets Mr. Grey in his hotel room.
Grey acts as the company Chief Executive Officer. James (2011) describes Grey as young, peculiar and good-looking man. However, his character portrays him as a person who always likes to be in control of things, people and situations in addition to being strict and focused (James, 2011). He appears to have a distinct taste that distinguishes him from the common rich bachelors in the city.
Without their knowledge, the meeting between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey marks the beginning of a relationship that is the center of attraction in the book by EL James.
After the meeting, a characteristic desire developed in Anastasia, which drives her emotions, as she wants to date the successful young man. On the other hand, Christian Grey develops a desire for the young woman, but he wants her on his own terms (Johnson, 2012).
After photos, Christian Grey asks Anastasia to accompany him for coffee, where they had a lengthy discussion of life and issues. Here, Grey asks Ana if she is currently dating anybody, to which she answers ‘no’. The first meeting opened the stage for yet another and finally an encounter. In every meeting, the desire for each other grows rapidly.
Slowly, Anastasia is introduced into Grey’s lifestyle. After her final exams at the university, Ana is surprised to receive a package from none other than Christian Grey, containing the very first copies of the edited ‘Tess of the d’Urbevilles’ (James, 2011). In cerebrating the completion of their schooling, Anastasia and her colleagues go out that night, where they took a lot of alcohol (Furness, 2013). Here, she drunk dials Christian, who offers to pick her. Soon, she leaves her admirer, Jose, and goes out with Christian.
Next day, she is surprised to find herself in Christian’s hotel room. Christian scolds Ana for her behavior and inability to take care of herself when drunk. This marked the beginning of their sexual involvement (James, 2011). Although Ana is not familiar with such a high life, she is willing to take chances and be part of Grey’s life. Slowly, the young man leads the naïve young woman into the dark path.
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First, Christian takes Ana to his apartment in a helicopter, but immediately forces her to sign a non-disclosure agreement in which she is forbidden from disclosing their involvement.
She naively accepts to his demands (James, 2011). Christian also informs Anastasia that their relationship must remain sexual and not romantic, as she had expected. In fact, the contract she agrees further forbids her from making an eye contact or even touching him. It is at this point that Ana discloses to Christian that she is a virgin. Christian takes her virginity in their first sexual contact.
Their second sexual involvement took place early the following morning, and a few minutes before the arrival of Christian’s mother. The mother is surprised to see her son with a woman because she had all through considered her son a homosexual because she had never seen him in the company of any woman (James, 2011).
As Christian and Anastasia are out for breakfast, Christian discloses to Ana that he had actually been in a previous relationship with an older woman but due to incompatibility, the relationship could not have worked. In addition, he informs her that he had lost his virginity to the older woman when he was around fifteen years. She was surprised to learn that the older woman was actually one of his mother’s best friends (James, 2011).
She also learns that Christian had a number of previous relationships, but all had failed to work because they were primarily based on dominance and submissiveness. Afterwards, Christian offers to drop Anastasia to her home. Here, she discloses to Kate that she had actually fallen in love with the rich young man, and had even gone to an extent of having sex with him. In addition, she realizes that several job offers had been placed for her (James, 2011).
From this point, it becomes common for Anastasia to receive a number of packages from Christian Grey. For instance, at one point just few days after she completes schooling, he sends her a laptop to facilitate their remote communication. Here, EL James discloses that the naïve Ana had never owned a computer, which further describes her surprise (James, 2011).
In addition, she receives another version of the dominant/submissive contract, but this time it had more details than the first. Their email communication became frequent thanks to the new laptop computer. Here, Ana goes to an extent of teasing Christian, and sometime refusing to take certain foods from a list he offers. This was a breach of the submissive/dominant contract.
Their second involvement came soon, but this time Ana became worried of the relationship because she had expected a romantic relationship with him (James, 2011). This drives her emotions to a point that she decides to run away from this relationship. In fact, she refuses to meet Christian until during her graduation, where she is surprised to see his name in the list of the guest speakers. During this meeting, she naively agrees to sign the dominant/submissive agreement.
In their meeting after the graduation ceremony, Ana and Christian discuss the contract in depth, especially the limits outlined for Ana (James, 2011). Ana’s confusion escalates when she learns that Christian has been forcing his way and not willing to act according to her will. The large number of gifts and the fact that she is even taken to meet Christian’s family adds to her confusion.
She is successful in obtaining an employment at the Seattle Independent Publishing just few weeks after graduation (James, 2011). Her new life seems to limit the relationship with Christian, although he has secured a good house for her. In life, it appears to her that her working life could not go along with her role as outlined in the non-disclosure agreement.
In an attempt to discover the extent of love and commitment Christian had for her, she asks him to punish her for her inability to hold on to the agreement. Surprisingly, Christian beats her with his belt, which makes Anastasia realize that they were incompatible (James, 2011). She eventually ends the relationship and goes back to the small apartment she had been sharing with her best friend Kate.
Driscoll, M. (2012). E L James as ‘Publishing Person of the Year’ draws outcry from literary world. Web.
Flood, A. (2012). EL James comes out on top at National Book awards. Web.
Furness, H. (2013). 50 Shades of Grey is a ‘modern love story’, screenwriter says. Web.
James, E. L. (2011). Fifty shades of grey. London, UK: Vintage Books.
Johnson, S. (2012).Who is E L James?: ‘Fifty Shades’ author and her fans bond over improbable success story. Web.