43 pages 1 hour read

E. L. James

Fifty Shades of Grey

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2011

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Symbols & Motifs

The Contract

The contract Christian gives Ana is the hinge upon which they negotiate power and control. Contracts aren’t uncommon in BDSM relationships. They clarify where consent is given, and where it is not. When Ana first receives the contract, which lays out the agreement between the dominant and submissive, she’s put off by much of it. She wonders, “How can I possibly agree to all this? And apparently it’s for my benefit, to explore my sensuality, my limits—safely—oh, please! I scoff angrily. Serve and obey in all things. All things!” (173). She can’t imagine taking the punishment he suggests she’ll get, and she doesn’t like the idea of giving up all her power regarding what she eats and how she behaves in other areas of her life. Her subconscious says, “You can’t seriously be considering this…” (174). At first, she emails him, “Okay, I’ve seen enough. It was nice knowing you” (186), an act that asserts her power. But Christian arrives that night to clarify exactly who has the power. He seduces her, giving her pleasure she has only ever experienced with him, and he says, “Is this nice?” (191) and “How nice is this?” (193). He reminds her how pleasurable giving him all the power can be.