50 Shades of Grey
E. L. James
Contributed by Margherita Wickersham
Themes are described as ideas that dominate a particular piece of literature. In almost all cases, pieces of literature will be centered a theme or a number of them.

The unity between Anastacia Steele and Katherine Kavanagh is not only brought about by the fact that two live together during the academic year, but also because of their strong friendship. Readers can envy the true friendship that exists between the two girls. We often hear that true female friendship does not exist. In the novel, however, Ana and Kate are always ready to help one another. As an example, when Kate catches a cold, Ana drives to Seattle to interview Christian Grey on her behalf. By doing this, Ana helps her friend out. Further, the two can always count on each other, and this is evident when Kate advises Ana what to wear during her first date with Christian Grey, how to put on make-up and how to seduce him as well.

Dominion and success

Fifty Shades of Grey suggests that for one to be successful, they need only two things: to be able to dominate and keep every other thing under control. Christian Grey is an extremely successful man. While it initially appears as if his business, as well as wealth, are inherited, this is not true since his success has been created for a long time. Regardless of the long way, Christian finally achieves success and earns his reputation. The main reason for his achievement of such glory is that he dominates all subordinates and does not spare them. Due to his sadistic character and indifference, Christian becomes famous. The only thing that he cannot obtain is the attention as well as the respect of all employees. Everybody is afraid of him.


At first, it is not clear to the reader whether love exists between the main characters. Certainly, when Ana meets Christian for the first time, she falls in love with him. Similarly, Christian becomes interested in her; the two always communicate, they meet in a café and also spend a lot of time together in a red room. Even though the two are connected by sexual passion, the reader can see how they suffer following their break up towards the end of the novel. Notably, they suffer from the fact that they love one another, but cannot be together. Overall, the novel tackles a story that seems not be a love story at all, but one that has a deeper understanding of love blooming from the satisfaction of sexual needs.

Emotional and sexual abuse

In Fifty Shades of Grey, emotional abuse is present in virtually every interaction. It includes stalking, for example when Christian deliberately follows Anastacia and appears in unusual places, and also utilizes his phone as well as a computer to track her whereabouts. Emotional abuse in the novel also includes intimidation, notably when Christian portrays intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding her to eat and even threatening to punish her. Isolation, also a source of emotional abuse, is evident in the novel when Christian limits Anastacia’s social contacts.

In Fifty Shades of Grey, sexual violence is pervasive, and it includes intimidation when Christian initiates sexual encounters when he is genuinely angry, as well as when he threatens Ana and dismisses her requests for boundaries. Christian also uses alcohol to compromise Ana’s consent. In the novel, Ana goes through reactions that are typical to those of an abused woman, including altered identity when she describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost,” and constant perceived for instance when she says “He’s glowering at José, and he’s furious. Crap. My stomach heaves” (James 50). Overall, therefore, Fifty Shades of Grey comprises patterns that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence, a major problem in the society today.

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