Oct 112012
 

This chapter introduces two nemeses to the story: Leila, Christian’s deranged former submissive, and Jack Hyde, Ana’s new creepy boss. Instead of resolving the problems of the Ana-Christian relationship, the narrative shifts to dealing with external threats. It’s probably not coincidence that Jack and Leila function as dark doubles of Christian and Ana: there’s a kind of dream-splitting at work in this story, with the bad elements of  a figure separated and projected onto another figure by the dreamer or fantasizer.

Given that our leads are both ridiculously jealous, it’s no wonder that Christian squares off against Jack and even acknowledges that what he did was a “pissing contest.” The mere fact of his interest in Ana, which Ana says she is not reciprocating at all, is enough to make Christian threaten to buy the company Ana and Jack work at and fire Jack. Actually, Christian doesn’t have to threaten, he already did buy it, making him her work superior. He justifies this by saying, “I need you safe.” No faith in Ana’s ability to handle an inappropriate boss, or in company rules on sexual harassment, or even in ordinary law and order. The slightest possible threat to Ana must be totally controlled. It’s a ridiculously pot-and-kettle situation: Jack oversteps Ana’s boundaries, so Christian over-retaliates by violating everybody’s boundaries.

Their fight gets derailed when Ana calls Christian an “arse,” something extremely few Americans would say, and they both start laughing.

He leans back and gazes at me, his eyes dancing with humor. “So are you going to invite me in, or am I to be sent packing for exercising my democratic right as an American citizen, entrepreneur, and consumer to purchase whatever I damn well please?”

What an amazingly naked display of capitalist ethos. This guy must sleep with a copy of Atlas Shrugged under his pillow.

Back at Ana’s place (technically her roommate Kate’s place, which Kate’s parents bought for her), they continue to mix fighting and flirting. Christian turns the tables by withholding sex from Ana. Christian’s food compulsions kick in, and they make dinner instead, but that gets forestalled for sex again.

Continuing the big tease, Christian teases Ana into giving him directions on how to pleasure her, a subtle way of topping from the bottom. Again, it’s still pretty vanilla, and something we’ve seen before in this story, including Ana briefly passing out at the end.

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