Ana's Graduation Like You've Already Seen it Before: Grey Chapter 11 Part 1

"Tina Fey says to cool it"

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.

Call me.

I just need to know she’s safe.

"come on, exasperated gif. Emma from Once Upon A Time"

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?”

“Yes. Why?”

“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.

Shit.

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.”

“Worried, why?”

“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.

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10 comments

  1. Dejah Reply

    You know, I was watching a YouTube channel and the topic was things that happen in 6 seconds. One of those was E L James makes, on average, $13.20 every 6 seconds. Another was that in every 6 seconds that humans will kill 19 sharks. So basically for every 19 sharks killed, James makes $13.20.

    Someone needs to stop that woman. Please think of the sharks.

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      • 22aer22 Post authorReply

        I can’t believe I supported this author even though it was just to make fun of her book. I didn’t know…I…I didn’t know about the sharks.

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  2. Honey Reply

    One of the (many) issues that seems even more apparent from the retelling is that this used to be Twilight fanfiction. It’s not the issue with fanfiction, but that he still behaves as if he’s a vampire.

    Christian’s fear about Ana’s (almost called her Bella there) safety makes sense if he’s a vampire craving her blood, and his family are all vampires, and she’s wrapped up in a world full of vampires, and she’s essentially a snack to them. That makes sense. I don’t like the over-protectiveness, but it makes sense. This fear is obviously a leftover from the original fanfic being based off vampires. He seems to work loads at night, is always awake at night thinking, playing his piano at night, etc, etc. It makes sense for a vampire. It doesn’t make sense in this context. In Twilight, Edward is immortal and Bella is not, so, in context, it’s believable that he is over concerned for her well-being. Here, Christian is rich and Ana is poor, and that’s about it. There’s no reason for him to be so worried about everything. Heavy edits would have made sense.

    Note: I’m not defending Twilight here. It does A LOT wrong, regardless of context, but context does make a difference (as I’m sure English majors will agree).

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    • 22aer22 Post authorReply

      It’s funny, for the amount I’ve referenced that this was originally Twilight fiction, it’s been so long since I really stopped to think about it and compare the two. But you’re right, a lot of Christian’s weird behaviours stem from the fact that he was originally a vampire. Even the overbearing concern for her well-being really does make sense when her life seems so fragile to him in comparison. If Christian had known Ana for longer and/or knew she was actually really reckless with herself it might make a little more sense, but he’s known her two weeks and he’s flipping a shit about the car she drives? What even!

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  3. Kristin Reply

    I always thought his strange over protectiveness was completely over the top when I read the original 50 Shades. Reading it from his point of view is only making it worse. If you need to buy her a red Audi because it’s what you do for all your subs and you are completely inflexible in any aspect of life, then freaking do it. But don’t pretend it’s because you hate her current car.

    As for Twilight, I never understood the sudden over protectiveness either. Clumsy, plain Bella survived to age 17 just fine without Edward. Then they meet and suddenly he needs to be with her every (non sunny) moment (cuz, sparkles and all) to save her. Apparently only bad things can happen during rain and/or darkness.

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  4. Skylar Reply

    The car’s name is Wanda? :O

    It sounds like E.L James read not only Twilight, but The Host, too. And apparently didn’t like Wanda all that much because she named a “deathtrap” after her.

    It really is infuriating that this horrible woman is making so much money. It’s not just that her books are horrible, SHE is horrible, too. Anyone who criticizes her books, she encourages her fans to harass them. Sexual assault survivors ask her about the disturbing messages in her books? She blocks them. She won’t face up to anything. The rape that was inspired by FSoG was NOT her fault, but surely if you’re a normal, relatively decent person and your book inspired one person to put another through horrible pain from a scene that was consensual, you would start to question SOMETHING? Nope, not her!

    When I finished what books you reviewed of the Crossfire series, I honestly started to like Christian a little. In comparison to Gideon, while he was still a misogynistic KSDAJNAKSND he was better. I mean he didn’t rape Eva in her sleep and then be all “Oh I couldn’t help myself.”. And he didn’t kill anyone. He just didn’t seem as controlling as Gideon, but “GREY” really just… I feel so awful for the kids they have at the end of the trilogy. Don’t they have a boy and a girl? I can’t imagine how messed up the girl would be, growing up under him. He’s so disgusting he’d probably try to force Ana’s personality on her, because that’s sexy, for his daughter to be exactly like his wife and then not let her meet boys or not wear 10 layers of clothing!

    Also, I’ve always wondered. E.L James is British, so, surely she published this book in Britain, or at least it’s certainly made it’s way to Britain. And while America clearly received FSoG well (the majority of those that read it, or so it seems), I can’t find anything on how Britain did. Would you know anything about that? I imagine the same way Justin Bieber is Canada’s greatest shame that E.L James may be Britain’s…

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  5. bookbaron Reply

    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.

    Sadly I have family members who would have no problem with the above line. And yes, they are women under 25. And yes, I have fought with them about things like this before. They think I’m an insane bra burning feminist. It makes it quite difficult to sit in the same room with my extended family sometimes when they keep trying to measure my life’s worth based on the lack of men I’ve had in my life.

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    • bookbaron Reply

      For example, I have a cousin who’s sole purpose in life was to get married and have kids. She has told me this goal since we were kids ourselves. Nothing wrong with that except it was her sole ambition. She didn’t want a career because, and I’m quoting her, it’s a mans world and women need to be in the home. To return to our traditional roots. Because women in the workforce when there are babies at home is morally wrong.

      I can’t tell you how many furious arguments I’ve had with her. Our friendship died when I was 18 and I called her a sexist. She responded with “women can’t be sexist.” And I retorted, “clearly you are the exception to the rule”.

      Needless to say, she’s been cold to me ever since. I have since realized that a lot of those in my family shared her opinion and I was actually more of the black sheep. But yeah, that cousin still baffles me. We were raised as close as sisters but our world views are so radically different.

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      • 22aer22 Post authorReply

        Yeah it’s like that’s totally fine if that’s what you want out of life, that’s your prerogative, but I hate when the reasoning is like, “Because that’s where a woman belongs.” To have it be your personal preference, great, but to the put that on everyone else by saying that’s a woman’s place is awful because a man who wants that same thing shouldn’t be shamed into feeling like he has to be the one to ‘bring home the bacon’.

        It’s such a shame that kind of closed-mindedness soured your relationship when you were so close when you were younger, but it can be so hard to separate things like that sometimes when it seems to have a big impact on who the person is.

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