Linotte Reads “50 Shades of Grey”: Chapter Two

Happy Thursday night, Persephoneers! In twenty-four hours, we’ll be starting the weekend. How about we start it off right with some laughs and musings about Chapter Two of E.L. James’s stirring romantic novel Fifty Shades of Grey?So here goes:

I race for the wide glass doors, and I’m free in the bracing, cleansing, damp air of Seattle. Raising my face, I welcome the cool refreshing rain. I close my eyes and take a deep, purifying breath, trying to recover what’s left of my equilibrium.

In other words, she’s doing yoga in the middle of the street in the pouring rain. And I don’t know about you, but after I’ve been caught in the rain like that, I feel pretty skanky.

No man has ever affected me the way Christian Grey has, and I cannot fathom why. Is it his looks? His civility? Wealth? Power? I don’t understand my irrational reaction. I breathe an enormous sigh of relief. What in heaven’s name was that all about? Leaning against one of the steel pillars of the building, I valiantly attempt to calm down and gather my thoughts. I shake my head. Holy crap–what was that? My heart steadies to its regular rhythm, and I can breathe normally again.


[I]’ve come to know a little bit about most everything we sell–although ironically, I’m crap at any DIY. I leave all that to my dad.

Ana’s (real) dad. A real DIY guy. Clearly Ana didn’t inherit his poise either.

Ana’s dad isn’t much of a DIY guy himself either. Her real dad.

“So what did you really think of him?” Damn, she’s inquisitive. Why can’t she just let this go? Think of something–quick!

“He’s very driven, controlling, arrogant–scary, really, but very charismatic. I can understand the fascination,” I add truthfully, as I peer round the door at her hoping that this will shut her up once and for all.

Ana just described this guy.

“Would you like a sandwich?”


Yeah, Ana, go make Kate a sammich.

Or is this foreshadowing? Can we expect a threesome?

Once we’ve eaten, I’m able to sit at the dining room table with Kate and, while she works on her article, I work on my essay on Tess of the d’Urbervilles. Damn, but that woman was in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong century.

OK, back this up. There is a huge recurring Tess of the d’Urbervilles theme all throughout this. Since we’re all bookish and clever women–which Ana is not, by the way–we’re all familiar with the story of Tess: Tess’s parents basically set her up for a horrible situation when they send her to become a servant in the house of some wealthy distant cousins. Tess has no clue she has been put in this situation, and she’s the sacrificial lamb in all of this, and it irreparably fucks up her life in ways she could never imagine, all because her family aspired to have their claim to the d’Urberville title recognized and benefit from it both financially and socially. If this is all Ana can say, then she’s clearly a pretty fucking shitty literature student and shouldn’t even be passing her classes.

I call my mom in Georgia to check on her, but also so she can wish me luck for my final exams. She proceeds to tell me about her latest venture into candle making–my mother is all about new business ventures. Fundamentally she’s bored and wants something to occupy her time, but she has the attention span of a goldfish”¦ I hope she hasn’t mortgaged the house to finance it.

Why are you ragging on your mom, you judgey bitch? Your mom sounds kind of cool.

I curl up in my white iron bed, wrapping my mother’s quilt around me, close my eyes, and I’m instantly asleep. That night I dream of dark places, bleak white cold floors, and gray eyes.

She’s dreaming of the hospital?  How much do you want to bet it’s Arkham Asylum?

Sometimes I wonder if there’s something wrong with me. Perhaps I’ve spent too long in the company of my literary romantic heroes, and consequently my ideals and expectations are far too high. But in reality, nobody’s ever made me feel like that.

Yeah, Ana, you’ve got really high expectations. So you think. Somehow a guy locking his insane first wife in the attic while putting the moves on the cute young governess is pretty low in my eyes.

And from a very tiny, underused part of my brain–probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata where my subconscious dwells–comes the thought: He’s here to see you.

It’s the village of Underused Brain part, located at the base of the Medulla Oblongata mountains. That is where my subconscious dwells.

For a fraction of a second, he looks lost somehow, and the Earth shifts slightly on its axis, the tectonic plates sliding into a new position.

Of course she doesn’t give a shit about the catastrophic loss of human life this earthquake caused. No, she’s more concerned about Christian. Everyone is expendable so long as Ana is happy.

And that’s a wrap for tonight, Persephoneers! Anything you have to share that I’ve missed? Because we all know that there will always be more.

And let’s give a special shout-out to all the other 50 Shades Bloggers who make this book a little more bearable for all of us!

20 replies on “Linotte Reads “50 Shades of Grey”: Chapter Two”

I have a weird thing for writing in the present tense, especially when the book is in first person. I admit I skipped the post on the first chapter, but that was the first thing that jumped out at me when I opened this one up. It’s so awkward, I think. Everything can’t possibly be happening in the present tense. Also, it makes for a lot of passive verbs, I feel.

Also, the phrasing veers into formal territory in a way that does not flow.

Yes, the phrasing is very off in this.  I don’t really care for present tense, either, unless it’s for a good purpose (like for describing a dream or flashback the character is having).  But Suzanne Collins used it for The Hunger Games and it turned out beautifully.

I think the only book I’ve read where I really liked the present tense was YA novel called Zel, that was a retelling of the Rapunzel fairy tale. I think it got by on two points, the narrative of that one was kind of odd anyway, and it was third person so it sort of felt like the author was explaining something that was happening, not someone giving you the minutes of their life. Otherwise I am with you, it feels clunky.

probably located at the base of my medulla oblongata where my subconscious dwells

And my basal ganglia, E.L. James, is aiming its subconscious rocket launchers right at your frontal cortex for egregious, erroneous, TERRIBLE, use of neuroanatomical terms RARRGHARAGHARAGHARGH


For a fraction of a second, he looks lost somehow, and the Earth shifts slightly on its axis, the tectonic plates sliding into a new position.

This is the one that gets to me. Now, I claim no strong knowledge of geology, but I am fairly certain that a shifting axis causes climate changes, not earthquakes.

E. L. James, you are not very good at science.

Fer serious. I know what I know because of some very basic homework I was doing for a sci-fi story. I wanted to figure out what a world with no moon would be like, and the answer was crazy pants climate changes because the moon is what keeps our planet from having a wobbly axis like Mars has. I have a BFA. I took exactly one college level science course (on optics!). But I know things. Like don’t write about shit if you don’t know about it. (And don’t make sciencey sounding poetic allusions to bad science)

Exactly.  And if you are unsure of how something is explained on Wikipedia or another resource, find another source that explains it better or ask someone who is in the field.  Example: My brother-in-law was a chef.  If I were writing something that required some knowledge of things in the culinary field, I would ask him.

Also, the love for “literary heroes” is very 10th-grade girl reading Bronte for the first time.  OK, so she loves her Byronic heroes.  But has she thought that Byronic heroes also have the capacity to be huge douchebags?  Case in point, as mentioned in the post, Mr. Rochester, whom I admit I had a bit of a crush on when I first read Jane Eyre in high school.  Then, reading it later as an adult, you see what a jerk he is.  The question is: Is the heroine/author (because hello, self-insertion!) really in love with the idea of the literary/Byronic hero, or is she just in love with Orson Welles/Michael Fassbender/Toby Stephens/Tom Hardy as this dark, brooding, tormented man roaming the moors consumed with love for her?  Someone who has really read and analyzed these books can see that men like Rochester and Heathcliff are tormented, yes, but they can be very evil men.  I think it appeals to the whole idea of a “good woman” saving and changing a “tormented Byronic hero.”  Which I might add, Anne Bronte shows as very problematic with Helen’s first marriage to Arthur in The Tenant of Wildfell Hall.

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