Dec 292012
 

Ana now has a proverbial bun in the oven, thanks to a bunch of skipped medical appointments and Mr. “I hate condoms”).

Perhaps I shouldn’t tell Christian. Perhaps I . . . perhaps I should end this. I halt my thoughts on that dark path, alarmed at the direction they’re taking. Instinctively my hand sweeps down to rest protectively over my belly. No.

Well, at least she considered abortion.

(Does this mean Jose is going to fall in love with the fetus?)

Ana’s narcissism kicks in:

My vision morphs into Christian turning away from me in disgust. I’m fat and awkward, heavy with child. He paces the long hall of mirrors, away from me, the sound of his footsteps echoing off the silvered glass, walls, and floor.

Note that Ana’s worst case scenario does not involve raising a child alone and in poverty (after Christian takes back all of his gifts and fires her and leaves her at the mercy of her student loans and a job market with little use for an English Lit degree), it’s Christian abandoning her.

Now Ana has to break this to Christian, which she is afraid to do. Again, does fear have any place in a marital relationship? Thankfully, EL James doesn’t string this out for long. Christian, as predicted, does blow up. He yells at Ana for a while and then walks out on her.

A few hours later he comes back, drunk. Ana snoops through his phone and finds a text from Elena, and she has her own explosion over him seeing Elena.

Raw, bitter, humiliating betrayal lances through me. How could he? How could he go to her? Scalding, angry tears ooze down my cheeks. His wrath and fear, his need to lash out at me I can understand, and forgive—just. But this . . . this treachery is too much. I pull my knees up against my chest and wrap my arms around them, protecting me and protecting my Little Blip. I rock to and fro, weeping softly.

Consider that, out of all the things Christian has done to Ana over this book, this is what enrages her. It suggests the importance of two key concepts of the logic of this story. The first is monogamy. Both Ana and Christian are jealous to the point of psychosis (though Ana perversely gets her kicks when other women lust after her man). Ana’s worst jealousy is aroused by any other woman from Christian’s past.

The second is power. Ana is enraged not only because of Christian’s potential unfaithfullness, but because he is weak and submissive to any woman. Christian’s emotional vulnerability is something she and she alone sees, which validates her importance. That Christian has needs Ana can’t meet is the biggest fear underlying this story. That Christian stops being steel hard for anyone other than Ana causes the whole structure of romance fiction to break down. To the extent that FSOG addresses male submission and female dominance, it seems to regard it as a perversion.

Ana leaves Christian to sleep it off in the master bedroom, and she goes to sleep in the playroom bed.

From the linen closet, I retrieve a pillow, duvet and sheet, then unlock the playroom door and enter, switching the lights to dim. Odd that I find the smell and ambience of this room so comforting, considering I safe worded the last time we were in here.

Also odd considering this is where Ana was beaten so badly she broke down sobbing.

The next morning they have the expected fight.

He swallows and takes a step forward. I step back and hold my hands up.
“Don’t even think about it, Grey,” I whisper menacingly.
“You’re my wife,” he says softly, threateningly.
“I’m the pregnant woman you abandoned yesterday, and if you touch me I will scream the place down.”
His eyebrows rise in disbelief. “You’d scream?”
“Bloody murder.” I narrow my eyes.
“No one would hear you,” he murmurs, his gaze intense, and briefly I’m reminded of our morning in Aspen.

This is one of the most disturbing moments in the series so far, when it looks like Christian is seriously threatening Ana (pregnant with his child) with confinement or physical violence. Would the Goon Squad lock her up on Christian’s orders? It’s a question that is not satisfactorily answered. We know Christian will fire people on a moment’s notice.

Christian explains that he “found himself” at Elena’s salon, and had a drink with her.

“And you expect me to believe you’re not going to see her again?” I cannot contain my fury as I hiss at him. “What about the next time I step across some imaginary line? This is the same argument we have over and over again. Like we’re on some Ixion’s wheel. If I fuck up again, are you going to run back to her?”

This is the problem. Ana has to work overtime to figure out how not to touch any of Christian’s secret hair-triggers, and she doesn’t always succeed in avoiding them. Christian is still the same controlling, possessive nutcase as when this story began. Ana’s trying to build her happy home on a minefield.

That analogy doesn’t quite work either, because as difficult as the whole underage thing was, it is still apparent that Christian’s only friend and confidante outside his family and Dr. Flynn is Elena. I still maintain that Ana is overreacting to Christian seeing Elena, part of her own jealousy and possessiveness.

He tries to put the moves on her, but she shuts that down, and says she’s going to move to another room in the suite.

After a day of work when nothing much happens but stewing over the situation, EL James continues her streak of ending chapters with unexpected crises. In this case, Ana gets a call from Mia’s cell phone, but it’s Jack Hyde on the line.

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  One Response to “The Curious Kinky Person’s Guide to Fifty Shades Freed, Chapters 20 & 21”

  1. Even rich abusers have friends. Christian’s got major personality flaws is people don’t even pretend to like him.

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