Though an erotic romance novel, ‘Fifty Shades Darker’ shows the value of relationships in healing the trauma of the past. The story shows Christian’s growth from a cold-hearted billionaire incapable of love to a man willing to sacrifice anything for the woman he loves.
Love is the primary theme in ‘Fifty Shades Darker.’ The novel shows how Christian fell in love with Ana after she accepted him back. Before he met her, Christian was a person who believed in control and domination, but on meeting Ana, he realized that his controlling nature would repel her from him; this made him seek change.
As a young girl who had never been in a relationship, Ana never thought her love life would be a disaster until she met Christian. On meeting him, she fell in love but realized that Christian had a wall around him preventing him from falling in love; this led her to allow Christian to beat her. However, she admitted that she would never be enough for him and left. On leaving, Christian realized that he could not live without her, forcing him to admit that he also loved her.
Change is a primary theme of the novel. After Ana agrees to return to Christian, she lets him know that her return was on the condition that he accepted her for who she was; this made Christian change himself. Before Ana, Christian was cold and harsh to everyone, he rarely showed emotions that gave away what he was thinking or feeling, but after Ana left him, he started changing to be a better person who was more open with his secrets and past.
Change made Ana and Christian find a middle ground in their relationship. Without it, Ana would have been a shy girl incapable of falling in love, and Christian would have been a cold-hearted billionaire also incapable of falling in love.
Trauma and the Past
A reoccurring aspect of Christian’s life was his past. As a young boy, he witnessed his mother’s death; this made him shut himself off emotionally. At 15 years, he got sexually abused by Elena, who made him submissive; this, with his dark past, made him become a person that loved control and domination.
Christian revealed to Ana that his BDSM obsession manifested because of Elena and losing his mother. Trauma defined Christian’s attitude and demeanor, making him cold and insensitive to everything.
Christian became cold because of the death of his only blood-related family member. His life got defined by his mother and his past, and he became a monster incapable of emotions, but on meeting Ana, he found the love he never got from his mother.
Ana had a broken family as her mother married and divorced many times. She created a wall around herself, preventing her from loving the people who cared for her. Though Ana and Christian had issues with their family, they fell in love and became each other’s family.
On attending a fundraiser organized by Christian’s foster parents, Ana discovered that Grace and Carrick loved Christian, and even though he barely showed he loved them, they still were his family. She realized that even though Christian could not escape the trauma of his past, his foster parents loved him and wanted the best for him.
Analysis of Key Moments
- Ana begins working at Seattle Independent Publishing as a personal assistant to Jack Hyde. She gets an email from Christian reminding her of Josei’s gallery exhibit.
- Ana agrees to attend Josei’s gallery exhibit with Christian. She discovers her portraits in Josei’s gallery exhibit.
- Christian kisses Ana in an alley after Josei’s gallery exhibit. They get back together.
- Ana meets a strange woman when her boss asks her to get him some food.
- Christian invites Ana to a fundraiser at his parents’ house. Before going, he takes her to Elena’s saloon, and she gets furious.
- Christian buys Ana’s dance at an auction for 100,000 dollars.
- Christian acquires SIP, and Ana tells him not to interfere in her career; he agrees but tells her that he does not trust Jack Hyde, her boss.
- Jack invites Ana on a work trip to New York, but Christian prevents her from going.
- Jack tries to assault Ana, but she escapes, and he gets fired.
- Ana meets Leila, the woman whom she had met earlier. Leila confronts Ana with a gun, but Christian diffuses the situation by using his dominance over Leila.
- Christian lets Ana touch him.
- Elena visits Christian at home and briefly talks with Ana.
- Ana talks with Doctor Flynn about Christian, and he tells her about how much Christian has changed since meeting her.
- Christian asks Ana to marry him.
- Before his birthday, Christian goes missing after going on a business trip. Ana gets worried, but he returns and tells her about the sabotage on his helicopter that led to a crash.
- Ana accepts Christian’s proposal.
- Kate discovers some emails between Ana and Christian at the beginning of their relationship and confronts Ana about it. However, she tells Kate that she and Christian are all good.
- Christian announces his engagement to Ana at his birthday party.
- Elena confronts Ana, calling her a gold digger, but Christian intervenes and tells Elena to back off. Grace confronts Elena and slaps her.
- It gets revealed that Jack Hyde caused Christian’s accident. He vows revenge on Christian and Ana.
Style, Tone, and Figurative language
‘Fifty Shades Darker’ uses a first-person perspective to narrate its story. An exciting tone gets used as Ana describes how her relationship with Christian progresses. Later, the story switches to a happy romantic atmosphere as Christian becomes a better person. However, it gradually changes to suspense and agitation when Ana learns of Christian’s former submissive. The mood switches to excitement as Christian asks Ana to marry him. However, the excitement fades when he goes missing.
The story also uses figures of speech to elaborate on the emotions portrayed in the story. There is a good use of figurative language in emotional expression. An example is when Ana personalizes her subconscious as a separate entity capable of reasoning. Other instances like Ana explaining her attraction to Christian use metaphors.
In ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ Christian’s helicopter symbolizes wealth and power. However, in ‘Fifty Shades Darker,’ the helicopter represents uncertainty. When Christian goes on a business trip in his helicopter, he has an accident as the helicopter develops a fault. The helicopter represents uncertainty in life as the crash could have ended Christian’s life.
When Ana first meets Christian, she talks about her inner goddess, a part of her that acts as an alter ego. Ana’s inner goddess symbolizes her deepest sexual desires because though she was shy on the outside, she claimed that her inner goddess loved being dominated by Christian.
Josei’s portraits of Ana
When Ana attends Josei’s gallery exhibit, she gets shocked to see her portraits on the walls. The pictures symbolize Josei’s admiration for Ana as he still loved her even when she accepted Christian instead of him.
Though Ana knows that Christian is a billionaire, she gives him a keychain as a birthday present. The keychain contained a yes to his proposal. It symbolizes Ana’s love and desire to spend the rest of her life with Christian.
What happens to Leila in Fifty Shades Darker?
When Leila confronts Ana with a gun, she asks her what she did differently to make Christian fall in love. Before anything happens, Christian barges in and makes Leila submit to him. He collects the gun from her and takes her to a psychiatric institution.
Why does Ana refer to her inner goddess a lot?
Ana’s inner goddess is the part of her personality willing to explore every desire she has. She refers to her inner goddess when she and Christian have a romantic or sensual moment.
Does Josei still love Ana in Fifty Shades Darker?
At the beginning of ‘Fifty Shades Darker,’ Ana attends Josei’s gallery exhibit. At the event, she sees portraits of herself on the wall, and Josei tells her he took the pictures during their times together. When Josei sees her with Christian, he visibly gets jealous, showing that he still likes Ana beyond platonic friendship.
What happens to Jack Hyde in Fifty Shades Darker?
When Jack Hyde tries to assault Ana, she escapes, and he gets arrested. However, he gets bailed out and sabotages Christian’s helicopter, causing his accident. When Christian survives, Jack swears revenge on Ana.