When first reading Fifty Shades of Grey



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Abstract

When first reading Fifty Shades of Grey the reader is presented with a universe of love and lust. This universe is fascinating, and therefore it would be interesting to look into the different elements and ideologies of which books, such as Fifty Shades of Grey, are built upon. In this project the ideologies presented in the trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey will be investigated and furthermore this project will look into what message, the trilogy can be said to send. In order to investigate the ideologies of the trilogy accurately, this project will look into different components of the novels, such as, desire in literature, the importance of body and vision, gender and feminism.

This project will conclude that Fifty Shades of Grey presents ideologies in different aspects, and furthermore this project will continue to discuss the message of the trilogy which can be understood as either progression or regression.




Table of contents


Introduction 4

Methodology 6

Desire and the importance of body and vision in Fifty Shades of Grey 8

The Heroine 10

The Hero 14

General Desire and the Gender of Vision 19



Partial conclusion 23

Gender and Feminism in Fifty Shades of Grey 25

Gender 25

Feminism 31

Partial conclusion 37

Conclusion 39

Areas for further research 40

Bibliography 41








Introduction


What makes a book popular today is very individual, but still there can be said to be different genre elements that continue to fascinate and enthral the readers time and time again. The trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey belongs to a genre of books, which, no matter how poorly some might argue they are written, continue to be popular for a certain amount of people.

When reading Fifty Shades of Grey one will not immediately think of the trilogy as being books to investigate further, yet in this project there will be different sections and foci, in order to investigate the elements that makes the books what they are and the sections of this project will also look into what kind of message the books sends.

When looking at the trilogy the most prominent theme the reader is presented with is the theme of love and lust. From this stand it will be interesting to look further into the genre depicting desire, being romance novels. In relation to this it will also be relevant to look into how the body and the element of vision is used to sustain the theme of love and lust. Furthermore, when working with the theme of love and lust in romance novels, it is relevant to look further into the element of gender and feminism, because of the specific relationship presented in the trilogy.

Additionally when looking at Fifty Shades of Grey the presence of ideologies is interesting to investigate in relation to the different elements presented as desire, body and vision, gender and feminism. The project will then, through the argument of ideologies, discuss whether the message of the trilogy is one of progression or regression in the relationship between the characters.

Succeeding this reasoning the thesis statement of this project will be as following:
How is ideology presented in Fifty Shades of Grey when looking at the different elements in the trilogy, and, through the ideologies, does the trilogy present a message of progression or regression?
This project will be divided into two sections, firstly to give a better overview of its content, and secondly to be able to investigate the different foci regarding progression and regression through ideologies.

The first section of the project will focus on the element of desire, and especially desire in Fifty Shades of Grey. When focusing on desire the project wish to look into the description of both the hero and the heroine and describe the traits the characters possess. These traits will then be compared to the characters of Fifty Shades of Grey. Furthermore this section will investigate general traits of romance novels and compare this to Fifty Shades of Grey in order to see whether the novels fit this description.

Additionally this section will look into the theory of the body and the importance of vision. This theory will be applied to the reading and analysis of Fifty Shades of Grey. These different elements will combined argue that the message of Fifty Shades of Grey is one of progression.

The second section of this project will provide a counterargument to the first section, concerning the message of the trilogy. The second section will discuss the elements of gender and feminism presented in the trilogy. When looking at gender this section will investigate the element of femininity and masculinity and the presentation of the ‘perfect man’, the ‘perfect woman’ through gender roles and gender stereotypes, and then compare this to the presentations in Fifty Shades of Grey. Furthermore this section will look into how Fifty Shades of Grey uses feminism, in different ways, in order to emphasize its point. These different element combined will argue that the message of Fifty Shades of Grey is one of regression.

Both sections of this project will end in partial conclusions, summing the different findings of the specific analyses. The main conclusion will summarise the two partial conclusions and reflect on whether this project achieved what it set out to do in the thesis statement.

Methodology


Regarding the context of this project, it would be prudent for the understanding of the structure, to give a further explanation. This project will be structured in a manner that will make it more accessible and understandable to the reader and thus attempt to avoid confusion, by creating a more coherent movement in the text. When writing the analysis sections of this project, the text will be combined theory and analysis. The structure will be so that the paragraphs each establish a certain theory and then immediately will be followed by the findings in the books that will sustain the claims made by the theory.

By constructing the analysis section in this manner, it is possible to connect the appropriate theory to the right part of the analysis and thus creating a more coherent and understandable text. Therefore there will not be an individual theory section followed by an individual analysis section instead they will be combined. Also regarding the context of this project a more detailed explanation will be provided of the theories used.

In the first section discussing desire and the importance of the body and vision, theories by Catherine Belsey, Peter Brooks and Abrams & Harpham will be used.

The theory by Belsey presented in her book, Desire, Love Stories in Western Culture, provides a detailed and extensive description and explanation of the notion of desire and love in literature. The theory describes the various traits of the characters and a broader, more overall understanding of desire in romance novels.

The theory by Brooks presented in his book, Body Work, Objects of Desire in Modern Narrative, provides an overview and discussion of the notion of the body in modern narrative, and the element of vision as being imperative to gain knowledge and understanding of a person.

Abrams & Harpham is used as an additional theory in order to support the above-mentioned theories as Abrams & Harpham provides a theory concerning literary terms used in the analysis.

In the second section discussing gender and feminism in Fifty Shades of Grey, theories by Burke & Stets, Edgar & Sedgwick, Todd W. Reeser and Barney Warf will be used.

Todd W. Reeser’s book, Masculinities In Theory: An introduction, will be used to present the basic theory of masculinity. The concept of femininity will be presented by the theory of Barney Warf from Encyclopaedia of human geography. An online paper Femininity/Masculinity by Burke & Stets, from Encyclopaedia of Sociology, will also be used regarding gender, however, mostly to support the theory of gender stereotypes mentioned above.

The theory by Barney Warf from Encyclopaedia of human geography will also be used regarding the theory of feminism. Lastly the book Cultural Theory: The Key Concepts by Edgar & Sedgwick will be used to explain and support several theories.

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