Oct 182012
 

Here we find out that Mrs. Robinson’s real name is Elena Lincoln (is that American enough?).

We could go into a debate over the ethics and morality of a sexual/BDSM relationship between an adolescent male and an adult woman, whether it is intrinsically exploitative, whether we would feel different if the genders were reversed, and so on. That’s outside the purview of this blog. I will say that Ana’s feelings regarding this other woman aren’t driven by anything like that. They come from jealousy, pure and simple.

Ana storms out of the salon, with Christian following. The argument about this is forestalled by Christian taking a call from security about Leila. Ana, of course, is fixated on Elena, while Christian is trying to deal with a possibly suicidal, possibly homicidal person at large.

Christian wants to take Ana back to his place for her safety (and pays for the salon workers to make a housecall; must be nice to be rich.) Ana puts her foot down like a child, and Christian obliges her, literally picking her up and carrying her in public.

Ana actually makes a mental list of things Christian has done that bother her (some of which may be actual crimes). This line of thinking is derailed when Christian tells her that Leila got a concealed weapons permit the previous day. I’m pretty sure they don’t give concealed weapons permits to people with crazy eyes and bloody bandages on their wrists. I’m also pretty sure that a truly deranged person wouldn’t bother getting a permit for a weapon. (This could be rewritten to say that Leila shoplifted a gun from a pawn store or even that her late husband, recently killed in a car accident, owned a gun which has gone missing.) For that matter, how powerful is Christian’s security that he can know this about her?

Ana’s first thought, incidentally, is that Leila might want to hurt Christian, not Ana. This rapidly switched back to her obsessing over Elena. Christian says she was some rich guy’s trophy wife and she embezzled the money to loan to Christian to start his business. Elena could be another double/shadow of Ana, another basically powerless woman who attaches herself to powerful men.

Again, this chapter is very busy, whiplashing between Ana’s jealous snit about Elena and the far more serious issue of Leila, and between the real relationship problems and the wealth-porn. Christian’s so rich he can hire a “pet gay” hairdresser to make a housecall and give Ana a makeover, and so powerful and paranoid that he has manila file folders on each of his ex-submissives, and on Ana, including her birth certificate and social security number. Christian just shrugs off her objections: anybody could find it out, and he doesn’t misuse it.

Christian says to Ana:

“You and I don’t have any rules. I have never had a relationship without rules, and I never know where you’re going to touch me. It makes me nervous. Your touch completely—” He stops, searching for the words. “It just means more . . . so much more”

I get the impression that EL James thinks that love means a relationship with no rules, or at least no explicit rules; that people should just know how to treat each other, instinctively, and there is no need for negotiation. All relationships have rules, implicit or explicit.

We also learn that Christian’s submissives cooked for him when his housekeeper wasn’t around and he has Ana does the same. Ana thinks she’s going to cook “unsubmissively.” You go, girl.

Later, they use lipstick to delineate on Christian’s body the areas where it is okay for Ana to touch him. This actually makes sense, treating Christian’s condition as a problem to be managed, not some horrifying Gothic flaw.

In Robert Heinlein’s science fiction novel Starship Troopers, an authoritarian, militaristic society battles an inhuman, insectile menace. It’s a good think the alien Bugs are there, because in peacetime this society would have no justification or purpose. Likewise, Christian’s obsession with control is justified because of the threat of Leila (which, arguably, he helped create). Without the external threat of Leila, Christian’s stalking ways would have no justification or purpose. As I discussed previously with the comparison to The Godfather II, all of Christian’s power and authority could turn on a dime to keeping Ana prisoner.

  3 Responses to “The curious kinky person’s guide to Fifty Shades Darker: Chapter 5”

  1. Wait, you mean at some point in this book it stops being all male dominant? But continues with the BDSM must be caused by your childhood issues thread?

    I didn’t know that. I thought it was the same old BDSM = Problem; BDSM = male dominant/female submissive

    • In book 1, Ana learns that Christian, as an adolescent, was in a malesub-femdom relationship with an older woman named Elena, before he had a string of submissives. Ana is incensed about this, nicknaming the older woman “Mrs. Robinson” and even “Mrs. Paedo”. So far in book 2, Ana has seen Christian talking with Elena from a distance, and goes into another jealous rage. Ana blames Elena for the things Christian does that bother her.

      So far, the books do acknowledge the existence of BDSM relationships that are F/m, but remain very negative about BDSM in general.

  2. I’m actually a Washington resident, and getting a concealed weapons permit can take a month. Also the pawn and gun stores are more heavily barred than prison cells to prevent shoplifting or break-ins. It would make more sense for Leila to have obtained a black-market gun.

    All this “so much more” and practically declaring themselves to be soul mates is only a few weeks after they met for the very first time, almost a week of that spent broken up.

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