Her best friend is Katherine "Kate" Kavanagh, who writes for the college newspaper. Due to an illness, Kate is unable to interview year-old Christian Grey, a successful and wealthy Seattle entrepreneur, and asks Ana to take her place. Ana finds Christian attractive as well as intimidating. As a result, she stumbles through the interview and leaves Christian's office believing it went poorly. Ana does not expect to meet Christian again, but he appears at the hardware store where she works.
While he purchases various items including cable ties, masking tape, and rope, Ana informs Christian that Kate would like some photographs to illustrate her article about him. Christian gives Ana his phone number. Ana replies that she is not dating anyone. During the conversation, Ana learns that Christian is also single, but he says he is not romantic.
Ana is intrigued but believes she is not attractive enough for Christian. Later, Ana receives a package from Christian containing first edition copies of Tess of the d'Urbervilles , which stuns her. Later that night, Ana goes out drinking with her friends and ends up drunk dialling Christian, who informs her that he will be coming to pick her up because of her inebriated state.
Ana leaves with Christian, but not before she discovers that Kate has been flirting with Christian's brother, Elliot. Later, Ana wakes to find herself in Christian's hotel room, where he scolds her for not taking proper care of herself. Christian then reveals that he would like to have sex with her.
He initially says that Ana will first have to fill in paperwork, but later goes back on this statement after making out with her in the elevator. Ana goes on a date with Christian, on which he takes her in his helicopter, Charlie Tango, to his apartment. Once there, Christian insists that she sign a non-disclosure agreement forbidding her from discussing anything they do together, which Ana agrees to sign. He also mentions other paperwork, but first takes her to his playroom full of BDSM toys and gear.
There, Christian informs her that the second contract will be one of dominance and submission , and there will be no romantic relationship, only a sexual one. The contract even forbids Ana from touching Christian or making eye contact with him. At this point, Christian realises that Ana is a virgin and takes her virginity without making her sign the contract. The two then have sex. The following morning, Ana and Christian again have sex.
His mother arrives moments after their sexual encounter and is surprised by the meeting, having previously thought Christian was homosexual , because he was never seen with a woman.
Christian and Ana plan to meet again, and he takes Ana home, where she discovers several job offers and admits to Kate that she and Christian had sex. Over the next few days, Ana receives several packages from Christian.
She and Christian email each other, with Ana teasing him and refusing to honour parts of the contract, such as only eating foods from a specific list. Ana later meets with Christian to discuss the contract and becomes overwhelmed by the potential BDSM arrangement and the potential of having a sexual relationship with Christian that is not romantic in nature. Because of these feelings, Ana runs away from Christian and does not see him again until her college graduation, where he is a guest speaker.
Ana and Christian once again meet to further discuss the contract, and they go over Ana's hard and soft limits. Christian spanks Ana for the first time, and the experience leaves her both enticed and slightly confused. This confusion is exacerbated by Christian's lavish gifts and the fact that he brings her to meet his family. The two continue with the arrangement without Ana's having yet signed the contract. After successfully landing a job with Seattle Independent Publishing SIP , Ana further bristles under the restrictions of the non-disclosure agreement and her complex relationship with Christian.
The tension between Ana and Christian eventually comes to a head after Ana asks Christian to punish her in order to show her how extreme a BDSM relationship with him could be. Christian fulfils Ana's request, beating her with a belt, and Ana realises they are incompatible. Devastated, she breaks up with Christian and returns to the apartment she shares with Kate.
Background and publication[ edit ] E. James in The Fifty Shades trilogy was developed from a Twilight fan fiction series originally titled Master of the Universe and published episodically on fan-fiction websites under the pen name "Snowqueen's Icedragon". After comments concerning the sexual nature of the material, James removed the story from the fan-fiction websites and published it on her own website, FiftyShades.
Later she rewrote Master of the Universe as an original piece, with the principal characters renamed Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele and removed it from her website before publication. Good on her—she's doing well. The first, titled Fifty Shades of Grey, was released as an e-book and a print on demand paperback in May by The Writers' Coffee Shop, a virtual publisher based in Australia. The Writers' Coffee Shop had a restricted marketing budget and relied largely on book blogs for early publicity, but sales of the novel were boosted by word-of-mouth recommendation.
The book's erotic nature and perceived demographic of its fan base as being composed largely of married women over thirty led to the book being dubbed "Mommy Porn" by some news agencies. Many other erotic works quickly became best-sellers following Fifty Shade's success, while other popular works, such as Anne Rice 's The Sleeping Beauty trilogy, have been reissued this time without pseudonyms to meet the higher demand.
James its best-selling author, replacing J. Rowling , though worldwide the Harry Potter series sold more than million copies compared with Fifty Shades of Grey's sales of 60 million copies.
Salman Rushdie said about the book: It made Twilight look like War and Peace. And acknowledging that fact — maybe even appreciating it — shouldn't be a cause for guilt.
James was listed as one of Time magazine's " Most Influential People in the World",  Richard Lawson of The Atlantic Wire criticised her inclusion due to the trilogy's fan fiction beginnings. This is speculated to be due to people unfamiliar with both the proper use of these toys and the safe practice of bondage and other "kinky" sexual fetishes attempting what they had read in the book. Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati said in an early February letter, "The story line is presented as a romance; however, the underlying theme is that bondage, dominance, and sadomasochism are normal and pleasurable.
In , social scientist Professor Amy E. Bonomi published a study wherein the books were read by multiple professionals and assessed for characteristics of intimate partner violence , or IPV, using the CDC's standards for emotional abuse and sexual violence. The study found that nearly every interaction between Ana and Christian was emotionally abusive in nature, including stalking, intimidation, and isolation. The study group also observed pervasive sexual violence within the CDC's definition, including Christian's use of alcohol to circumvent Ana's ability to consent, and that Ana exhibits classic signs of an abused woman, including constant perceived threat, stressful managing, and altered identity.
The authors could not conclude whether women already experiencing these "problems" were drawn to the series, or if the series influenced these behaviours to occur after reading by creating underlying context. Drew commented that the book was "horribly written" in addition to being "disturbing" but stated that "if the book enhances women's real-life sex lives and intimacy, so be it. A representative for the library stated that it was due to the book's sexual content and that other libraries had declined to purchase copies for their branches.
In a public library there is usually very little that would prevent a book from being on the shelf if there is a demand for the information.