About the Book

Book Protagonist: Anastasia, Christian
Publication Date: 2015
Genre: Erotic, Romance

Themes and Analysis

Fifty Shades of Grey

By E. L. James

Christian understood that the two things one needs to be successful are power and control. His relationship with Ana perfectly encapsulates the ideology of the story’s portrayal of dominance and control.

Money, power, sex, and love trail the story of Christian and Ana. Fifty Shades of Grey’s focus on its themes made its story good, and the use of an extensive figurative language structure gives the novel a sense of originality and flare.

Fifty Shades of Grey Themes and Analysis



Control and power are the primary themes of Fifty Shades of Grey.’ The novel shows the character of Christian, a billionaire trying to exert control over his world. His insatiable need for control and dominance makes him attracted to Ana because she is a shy and naïve girl. Christian feels the need to own her and control every aspect of her life for his sole pleasure; this becomes a problem for Ana as she finds herself unable to escape the sight of a massively wealthy man like Christian.

Though Ana realizes that Christian fundamentally thrives on being in control, she gets attached to him because of her inferiority complex. Noticing that she will be the perfect girl to exert his dominance over, Christian decides to take things further by showing her his world of extreme sexual habits. With Ana realizing Christian’s need for control, she still sticks to him because she becomes emotionally subservient under the hold of his intense, powerful, and addicting touch and macho-controlling demeanor.

Power and Wealth

Through the story of Christian and Ana in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ one thing is constant, wealth. As a young billionaire, Christian holds power over many things in his life. He becomes an epitome of wealth as Grey Enterprises soars to the skies. However, his need for constant power seeps into his lifestyle as he becomes a dominant BDSM sex lover. On meeting a girl that is shy and naïve, his power-hungry nature instantly awakes. Ana falls deeply for Christian because of his power over her mood and body.


Innocence is a part of Ana’s lifestyle. Coming from a broken family, she becomes an epitome of innocence and slight ignorance as her dissatisfaction with most men that try getting into her life becomes a hindrance to her. Ana’s lifestyle becomes detrimental as her innocence makes her magnetically attracted to Christian, a man far from innocence. After he shows her his red room, Ana notices herself become drawn to the idea of getting pinned under the overly-controlling touch of Christian. She willingly gives herself to him after telling him how innocent she is.


Trauma is a stain that exists in Christian and Ana’s life. As a young child, Christian watches his mother die from overdosing; this becomes the basis for his terrible need for control. His past trauma does not cease after his adoption as he becomes submissive to Mrs. Robinson, his mother’s friend. Ana also has trauma from her parent’s relationships. At a young age, her father dies, and her mother’s lack of stability leads to the life of many husbands; this forms the basis of Ana’s naivety and attachment to Christian, a control freak.

Love and Romance

In Ana and Christian’s relationship, one thing is constant, romance and sex. After meeting him for the first time, Ana immediately gets drawn to Christian. Their relationship becomes reliant on romance and sex. Ana starts feeling increasingly insecure about her relationship with Christian as she falls in love with him. She tells him of her feelings, and though he tries to reject his feelings for her, he lets her know of the effect she has on him.

Analysis of Key Moments

  1. Ana interviews Christian Grey on behalf of her sick roommate, Kate.
  2. Ana meets Christian in her workplace, Clayton’s hardware store. He hands her his phone number and, at her request, agrees to a photoshoot.
  3. Christian invites Ana on a date when they have a falling out. She leaves emotionally let down.
  4. Ana writes her last exam.
  5. Ana gets drunk and dials Christian’s number. He tracks her down and takes her to his hotel room. Christian tells her about her signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement before doing anything with her. However, he kisses her in the elevator.
  6. Christian takes Ana home, where they meet Kate with Elliot, Christian’s brother.
  7. Ana goes on another date with Christian, and he takes her to his house on a helicopter. He shows her his red room and tells her of the agreement she will sign. After telling him she is a virgin, Christian has sex with her.
  8. Ana meets Christian’s adopted mom, Grace. Before leaving, he hands her the contract and tells her to research. He sends her a new computer after she tells him she has none.
  9. After jokingly telling him that it was nice knowing him, Christian heads over to Ana’s house, where they have sex.
  10. Ana ghosts Christian after reading a bit about BDSM dominance. However, he makes a speech at her graduation. He meets Ray, Ana’s stepfather, and buys her a new car.
  11. Christian and Ana have sex with him spanking her. After the sex, Ana begins to cry as she realizes she has fallen for a person who does not love her. After realizing she is sad, Christian comes over.
  12. Ana and Christian sleep together in her room.
  13. Ana meets Doctor Greene and gets contraception. Christian invites her to his family dinner, where she reveals she is traveling to Georgia to see her mother.
  14. Christian visits Ana in Georgia. They disagree with Christian’s meeting with Mrs. Robinson, Christian’s former dominant.
  15. Ana gets a job at Seattle Independent Publishing.
  16. Ana asks Christian to show the full extent of dominance, and after whipping her with a belt, she breaks up with him.

Style, Tone, and Figurative Language

‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ employs the first-person perspective as Anja serves as the narrator. The story uses a tense tone for the most part as Ana constantly finds herself intense situations with Christian. Though the novel features moments of excitement, the mood throughout a large portion of the story is sensual and tense. The book uses metaphors and similes to add depth to the story.  

Analysis of Symbols


Christian takes Ana on a date, and they kiss in an elevator. After the date, they go to his house in a helicopter. The helicopter represents the height of wealth and power owned by Christian. With his massive wealth, Christian can afford anything he wishes, and his ownership of a helicopter shows just how much he has.

Christian’s Scars

As a part of the agreement Christian drafted for his dominant sex with Ana, he restricts her from touching him. She notices scars on his body, and after asking, she realizes that the scars come from his submissive relationship with Mrs. Robinson. Christian’s scars represent past trauma that sticks around even when one tries to heal.

Phone and Laptop

After handing Ana the dominant-submissive contract, she tells him she has no computer. Christian immediately gets her a laptop and later a phone; this move shows that he believes Ana is his and his alone. Not wanting her to relate to other men but him, he hands her the phone and laptop with only his contact on them.

New Car

After graduating from college, Christian buys Ana a new car. She tries to reject the gift, but he firmly tells her that he bought her the car because she belongs to him and it is his responsibility to ensure she is safe. Though the move sounds romantic, Christian’s real reason for buying Ana a car is to show her he owns her and should take care of her.


Does Christian love Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey?

Though he admits that he felt intensely drawn to her, Christian never says he is in love with Ana in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey.’ After she tells him she has fallen in love with him, he tells her he does not want her to love him.

What is the primary theme of Fifty Shades of Grey?

The primary theme of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ is romance, as, throughout the story, it determines Christian’s relationship with Ana. His controlling nature and her innocent character lead to a flaring romance between them.

Does Christian slap Ana in Fifty Shades of Grey?

When Ana graduates from the University, Christian buys her a new car. He has sex with her and adds spanking as she counts more than 16 slaps. After having sex with him, she gets sad and begins crying.

Did Christian’s past affect his relationship with Ana?

Because of his past, Christian became a man who wanted domination over women and every aspect of his life. His life as Elena’s submissive made him become a control freak, and it affected his relationship with Ana as his constant demand for her body made her distance herself from him. When Christian spanked Ana during sex, he made her feel like a worthless person.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
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