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Nicca Ann Peñalba

on 25 November 2014

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An Analysis of the Feminist Perspectives of E.L. James’ Novel

Fifty Shades of Grey
Background of the Study Feminist Theory
Feminist Literary Theory Feminist literary criticism Assumption and Rationale Due to the curiosity for the dominance/submission and sadism/masochism ideas, Fifty Shades of Grey was written by E.L James, this is the first book in her trilogy of novels, the other two are entitled as Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. She considered it as something, somehow, a rejected pursuance of interest since before she became a best-seller novelist, E.L. James has to focus more on her family and career. A story of a “boy meets girl,” the favours of love and attraction is new and unusual. Fifty Shades of Grey tackles a story that is not a love story at all, but one that has a deeper understanding of love blooming from satisfying sexual needs. Eventually, the first book of E.L. James trilogy manifests the principles of the feminist theory. The theme and the plot of the novel, with the help of the main characters, revealed the women’s prowess to satisfy its opposite sex needs and endeavours. More so, Anastasia Steele, the female lead character, presented the issues of feminism: the protection of rights of women, the role of women in different aspects of life, and the women’s perspective of themselves. Fifty Shades of Grey is a 2011 erotic novel by British author E. L. James. Set largely in Seattle, it is the first installment in a trilogy that traces the deepening relationship between a college graduate, Anastasia Steele, and a young business magnate, Christian Grey. It is notable for its explicitly erotic scenes featuring elements of sexual practices involving bondage/discipline, dominance/submission, and sadism/masochism (BDSM) (Wikipedia). In the past year, E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey (Vintage, 2012) has taken female audiences by storm. It has become the series that women are obsessed with. This study aims to scrutinize the feminist perspectives of E.L. James’ novel Fifty Shades of Grey. Though it has been said to be an anti-feminist literary work, women are still attached to reading the novel. This is due to the feminist beliefs that are reflected in the character like Christian Grey who has been the ideal man of every ordinary woman in college. He is a rich, charming, intelligent and good-looking but terribly controlling man who seduces an impressionable young virgin;more so, he has influenced the lives of the readers in spite of the fact that it involves feminist issues. Women’s attachments are also on account of the novel’s settings and one of those is the “Red Room of Pain” where Christian Grey reveals all his sexual endeavors to the women who act as his “Submissive” partner. Moreover, other factors affecting women’s interest are the theme and plot of the novel which will be further discussed in the latter part of this study.

Feminist theory is the extension of feminism into theoretical or philosophical discourse. It aims to understand the nature of gender inequality. It examines women's social roles, experience, interests, and feminist politics in a variety of fields, such as anthropology and sociology, communication, psychoanalysis, economics, literary, education, and philosophy. is literary criticism informed by feminist theory, or by the politics of feminism more broadly. Its history has been broad and varied, from classic works of nineteenth-century women authors such as George Eliot and Margaret Fuller to cutting-edge theoretical work in women's studies and gender studies by "third-wave" authors. In the most general and simple terms, feminist literary criticism before the 1970s—in the first and second waves of feminism—was concerned with the politics of women's authorship and the representation of women's condition within literature. Since the development of more complex conceptions of gender and subjectivity and third-wave feminism, feminist literary criticism has taken a variety of new routes, namely in the tradition of the Frankfurt School's critical theory. It has considered gender in the terms of Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis, as part of the deconstruction of existing relations of power, and as a concrete political investment.[1] It has been closely associated with the birth and growth of queer studies. The more traditionally central feminist concern with the representation and politics of women's lives has continued to play an active role in criticism. Feminist literary theory is a complex, dynamic area of study that draws from a wide range of critical theories, including psychoanalysis, Marxism, cultural materialism, anthropology, and structuralism. Although feminist literary theory is often described simply as the use of feminist principles and techniques to analyze the textual constructions of gendered meaning, feminists' definitions of gender and of feminism have undergone a number of significant alterations since the early 1970s. By adopting already existing feminist insights and applying them in new ways, literary theorists transform them, thus creating an increasingly diversified field of study. Feminist Theory
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