Thursday, May 26, 2011
We open with another of Christian’s nightmares about his childhood. I have to say, I think these scenes would have been more effective if E L James hadn’t made the choice to have Christian describe these scenes as a child. I know it’s a small thing to nitpick about, but it bothers me that 1 word out of like the whole passage will have a child-like mispronunciation out of the blue:
When she comes home she sleeps on the couch. The couch is brown and sticky. She is tired. Sometimes I cover her with my blankie. Or she comes home with something to eat. I like those days. We have bread and butter. And sometimes we have macrami and cheese. That is my favorite.
Why out of this whole scene is macaroni the only word child-Christian-who-is-actually-adult-Christian-having-a-dream doesn’t know?
I also don’t think these scenes are effective at making me more sympathetic to Christian – I already knew all of these things about his past because he told them verbatim to Ana in the original books. When I read that young Christian ate mouldy cheese from the fridge, sure I’m sad for that kid, but when Christian wakes up and is immediately a piece of shit again, I’m not like, “Oh, but he ate mouldy cheese as a child when he didn’t know any better because his mother wasn’t home to feed him, so it’s okay that he’s a misogynistic asshole.”
When he wakes up, Christian tells us that he hates these nightmares (go figure), and that they’ve been more vivid lately. Like in almost every other chapter of the book, Christian channels his anxiety into a morning run and annoyance with Ana. In this case, he’s annoyed that she hasn’t gotten in touch to let him know if she got home safely the night before.
Leave it, Grey.
Just fucking leave it!
I know I’ll see her at the graduation ceremony. But I can’t leave it. Before my shower, I send her another text.
I just need to know she’s safe.
I have some sympathy for Christian here, it’s not completely unreasonable to ask someone to let you know they made it home safe if the weather was bad or something, and I can definitely understand being worried if you don’t hear from them. During this chapter, though, you’ll see he just keeps fixating on the fact that her car is older and thus a “death trap.” How does E L James manage to take reasonable emotions and make them so so stupid?
Nine thirty and still no word from Ana. Her radio silence is worrying – and frankly rude.
Because when it comes to manners, Christian the expert. The man who could barely stand when a nice woman working at a cafe was friendly to him.
Next up, a confusing email from Mia about when her flight gets in.
Hey, Christian, I can’t wait to get out of here! Rescue me. Please. My flight number on Saturday is AF3622. It arrives at 12: 22 p.m. and Dad is making me fly coach! *pouting! I will have lots of luggage. Love. Love. Love Paris fashion. Mom says you have a girlfriend. Is this true? What’s she like? I NEED TO KNOW!!!!! See you Saturday. Missed you so much. À bientôt mon frère. Mxxxxxxxxx
She can’t wait to get out of Paris? What exactly does she need to be rescued from, it sounds like she was having a great time learning to cook and apparently loves Paris fashion.
Also, if Christian was my brother, I’d never fly coach. At that point you have a moral obligation to leave a cheaper seat on the flight for someone else since normally the first-class spaces are just empty and wasting space anyway.
Christian has a typical reaction to Mia’s email – “Oh hell!” He can’t believe their mother’s big mouth about Ana! This would be an opportune time for Christian to reflect on the fact that it was weird he introduced Ana to his mother when he doesn’t want Ana to get the wrong idea about them, and he doesn’t want his family knowing about her. Alas, the opportunity is, of course, never seized.
Christian continues to freak out over the fact that Ana hasn’t contacted him and isn’t answering her phone. Taylor shows up to drive Christian to the graduation ceremony. There, Christian runs into Kate (she’s the valedictorian) before the ceremony begins. Kate and Christian have a really odd exchange about Ana and her car:
“Is Ana here?”
“Soon. She’s coming with her dad.”
“You saw her this morning?”
“I wanted to know if she made it home in that deathtrap she calls a car.”
“Wanda. She calls it Wanda. And yes, she did.” She gazes at me with a quizzical expression.
“I’m glad to hear it.”
What I find weirder than the way Christian talks about Ana’s car is the way Kate seems to take offense to it the way you would if someone referred to a baby as an “it.” UM, ‘IT’ IS A SHE AND HER NAME IS WANDA.
It’s time for graduation to begin, and Christian spots Ana in the audience:
I find her huddled in the second row. She’s alive. I feel foolish for expending so much anxiety and energy on her whereabouts last night and this morning.
Kate already confirmed that Ana is alive, you numbskull. Surely you should have felt that foolishness ten minutes ago. Damn it, she should have called! Hell! Steady, Grey! There, I basically just wrote 99% of this book on my own.
A furious Christian purposefully gives himself an erection for some reason:
She’s avoiding me and I’m pissed. Really pissed. Closing my eyes, I imagine dripping hot wax onto her breasts and her squirming beneath me. This has a radical effect on my body.
Get it together, Grey.
It makes me queasy when Christian is furious with Ana, and the only way he can deal with it is to imagine…punishing her with sex? Channeling his anger into sex? Get it together indeed.
Because there wasn’t enough woman hating going on yet, Christian takes Kate’s valedictorian speech as a golden opportunity to hate on her some more.
Kavanagh gives an inspiring address about embracing opportunities— yes, carpe diem, Kate— and gets a rousing reception when she’s finished. She’s obviously smart and popular and confident. Not the shy and retiring wallflower that is the lovely Miss Steele. It really amazes me that these two are friends.
Let it go, Grey.
The scene progresses exactly how we remember from Ana’s point of view – Christian gives his speech, when Ana comes on stage to receive her diploma he’s like, “WHY HAVEN’T YOU ANSWERED MY EMAILS/TEXTS.” Even though they should have had all of ten seconds, Ana manages to express confusion and says she hasn’t seen his emails/received his calls. I wish she would have just quoted the lyrics of Bug-A-Boo and never spoken to Christian again.
Afterwards, Christian goes to find Ana so they can have it out, and again I don’t understand why she doesn’t realize what a nut job he is.
“I’ve been worried about you.”
“Because you went home in that deathtrap you call a car.”
“Yes, the Beetle used to belong to [Jose’s] mother.” [Ariel says: HER NAME IS WANDA, NOT “THE BEETLE”.]
“Yes. and probably her mother and her mother before her. It’s not safe.” I’m almost shouting.
Does Christian think that Ana just didn’t exist before he came along? That she was constantly on the verge of death driving around this car that is clearly very fine and safe?
Ana introduces Christian to Ray, her step father, after Christian forces the issue. Gee, for someone who is hell bent on not letting Ana get the wrong idea about their relationship, it’s pretty fucking weird he wants to meet him.
When he first approaches Ana and Ray, they’re talking to Kate’s brother Ethan who, gasp, happens to be giving Ana a hug! Christian just cannot tolerate this kind of behaviour:
Now stop pawing my girl, you fucker.
“Ana, baby,” I whisper, holding out my hand, and like the good woman she is, she steps into my embrace.
So E L James just…she just thought this was a good line to include in this? How? Why? FOR WHAT PURPOSE?
Christian talks to Ray for awhile about catching “mighty fine fish,” but I can’t even read any of this fucking bullshit about fishing when I’m still REELING (pun intended) over ‘like the good woman she is.” Women in real life want to meet a man like this. Not everyone who reads this passage will feel this intense fury. I don’t understand. After all this time, I still don’t understand. Like there are people out there who heal people, teach children, save the whales, AND THE AUTHOR OF THESE BOOKS IS A BILLIONAIRE?
Later, Christian and Ana talk again, and she agrees to try things Christian’s way even though she wants more. He has to the nerve to be like, “I can’t give more!!!” When he is the piece of shit who is like whispering, “Ana, baby” and all about meeting the parents.
That night, obligatory scenes of Christian doing business so we all feel confident in his business-man abilities. Then he emails with Ana and says he’ll swing by her place tonight since there’s no way in hell she’s driving that deathtrap to his place! No sir.