Fifty Shades of Grey – Book Discussion

To feminists, this is a form of violence against women. However, the mere fact that Anastasia willingly gave her consent, without signing the written contract, which was Christian’s standard operating procedure whenever he gets himself a new submissive, it raises the question as to where do we draw the line between violence and complete surrender?

credit to the owner/maker
credit to the owner/maker

Furthermore, it raises ethical inquiries following its movie release. Was the producers right to translate the novel into a movie? A question asked even before the movie was conceived and was given gravity when a report surfaced that a teenager died after her boyfriend reenacted scene from the movie.

Again, it is both exciting and scary. Exciting because some ideas about sado-masochism were not mainstream to most of us who have little to none idea about it. Human as we are, our curiosity was fueled up by the terms used in the book and we have to quench that thirst  which the movie did. It is scary, however, because those of us who have little to none idea about it, fueled by curiosity and hormone rage, might imitate what we read/saw and it might – will – lead to something dangerous. Perhaps, this notion contests the use of steamy erotica as literature genre. Perhaps E.L. James was a bit too descriptive. Perhaps making it a movie was a wrong move and the book should have remained a book.

However, one can argue that Fifty Shades of Grey was not all about eroticism. It is about the romantic affair between two souls of different shades and of different socio-cultural upbringing; both have different backgrounds and both have different ideas about romance and love.

One scene I like in the movie was when Christian took Anastasia for a ride from Portland to Seattle. Taking her to a helicopter ride was above perfection and I take it that after watching the movie, many female viewers wanted to experience the same thing. Another scene I like is when Christian took Anastasia to a plane ride for the weekend.

It can be assumed from those scenes that (1) female viewers’ expectations about love and romance were rewritten. Meaning, their definition of love and romance are completely influenced by what they watch on movies where the overly rich man took a common girl above the rest and transform her into a princess. And (2) females tend to become materialistic when it comes to romantic relationships. They base their preferences to the male character they saw in the movie.

But let us admit it. Whenever we are asked what attracts us to read the book, we always try to hide our real answer by saying “the story,” which is too general to be taken in as an acceptable answer. Personally, I really think that a huge number of readers are attracted to read the book because they want to test how sexually explicit and arousing the story is. They may be after the romantic touches of the story but let’s face it, Fifty Shades of Grey, to most of us, is a postmodern pornographic material. It’s like hiding the map of the Holy Grail in a Da Vinci fresco.

In addition, to curious us more, we are taunted by the author by her titling the trilogy –  Fifty Shades. To me that is one factor I considered before reading the entire trilogy. I want to know what Fifty Shades is. I thought the title was describing the shades of color grey and, figuratively, tried to personify “grey.” But as I go through the book, I found out that it Fifty Shades is an adjective describing [Christian] Grey’s multi-faceted character which changes every now and then. He can be a gentlemen this point in time, the next thing you know he’s already the master of sex, thrusting harder into Anastasia’s gate, eyes burning with what could only be carnal bliss and desire.

I think the characterizations were wittily done because I have never read a material like that before. I like James’ characterization of Christian Grey; about how fucked up he is at the present and how his past is a major part of his present. I like how he is so rich and gentleman and philanthropist and someone who cares about feeding the poor but is a hard fucker. Who draws pleasure out of hurting – sexually – his partner in bed by bondages, flagging, and utilizing different adult toys and postions. These two persona wrapped up in one can be a lot to handle and be written down and yet, James was able to take it and make it work. There are loopholes though; one is Christian’s weakness. It was not clear to me, however, how Anastasia changed him. He said, and made it clear, that he’s not the flowers and chocolate type of a guy who does romance the way it should be because he fucks . . . hard.

It’s also fascinating to see how Anastasia’s character unfolded. She is this college student who lives in Portland and is expected to be this liberated woman. Again, let’s face it that most U.S. girls already had experienced sexual activities (from the ordinary to the hardcore ones). That is why, it’s a little odd to find that Anastasia was still a virgin and that Christian had to rectify and situation for her. More oddly, however, is the fact that Anastasia seemed to have likened the activities with Christian. Again, it raised the question whether she fell for the activity or the person with whom she is doing it with?

But James’ characterizations, again, worked. Because it showed how two completely different people found chemistry and how they were able to sort out their differences which could have ruin the entire thing. (by Juseph Elas)


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