Saturday, June 30, 2012

The kind of homework I have to do for my current class.

Since I don't have time for a real post (and nothing juicy has happened, sad I know, trust me I am missing it), I am going to post my homework I had to do on a popular book for my pop culture class. Enjoy!
Got a 100% on it!

Popular Literature: “Fifty Shades of Grey”
Popular culture, often referred to as pop culture, describes the tastes and lifestyle of the majority of a group of people, such as young adults. Popular bands, movies, actors, and books can be part of pop culture. Generally, pop culture is mainstream and tries to cater to as many people as possible. Therefore the product is often quite generic and chaste. However, the most recent book to join pop culture in the United States is quite the opposite. “Fifty Shades of Grey” is pushing boundaries with its explicit, sexual relationship between the two main characters as they experiment with a lifestyle that typically been classified as taboo.
Overview of the Book
“Fifty Shades of Grey” is about a young, innocent woman, Anastasia, who meets a rich man, Christian. The two main characters enter into a type of BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance, submission, sadism, masochism) relationship: He is the dominant, and she is the submissive in the relationship. Anastasia has never participated in such a relationship, and only does it because she is deeply in love with Christian. He is a successful CEO of his own company, is caring, companionate, and consumed by the need to be the one in control. He refuses to have any other kind of relationship.
The Author
E L James, the author of this book as well as the two other ones in the trilogy, is a television executive, mother, and wife. She lives in London, England, and started writing the story of Anastasia and Christian as “Twilight” fan-fiction that could be read free on the Internet. This is her first published novel.

Erotica Genre
            “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a typical novel categorized as erotica. It is more than simply a romance novel because it describes, in detail, the sex scenes between the two main characters, whereas romance novels are generally more tame, and leave more to the imagination to the reader. According to the (2012), “erotica is literature or art intended to arouse sexual desire” (p. 1, para. 1). Erotica literature is more than pornography because it delves deeper into the story as well as the characters. Erotica can be very emotional, and does not shy away from topics generally not spoken of in public. “Fifty Shades of Grey” does the same. In the first book, the reader gets a glimpse of why Christian, the main character, is the way he is, although the entire background is a slow reveal, spanning all three books of the trilogy.
Cultural Significance
            E L James released this book in spring 2011. Since, it has gone on to become the fastest selling paperback book since “Harry Potter”. “Fifty Shades of Grey” was first published as an eBook, but the popularity of the trilogy lead to the publisher printing actual paperbacks that can be found in any store that sells books.
            “Fifty Shades of Grey” has a steady fan base that advertised the story among each other, which is how I found it a year ago. The Internet has enable people to share their thoughts and opinions on many things, including “Fifty Shades of Grey”, leading to the tremendous popularity of the book. The trilogy is economically successful as well, topping the combined print and e-book fiction list and the paperback trade fiction list of the New York Times (NY Times, 2012).
            E L James lives in Great Britain and is English. Her writing style gives this away, using typical English words instead of the American word. This is slightly annoying because the book takes place in the Seattle area, and living here, I know that nobody calls “Interstate 5” the motorway. However, the significance of the trilogy lies within what it has done for women across the world. It has enable women to be who they want to be, to express their desires more freely, and experience for themselves what they never knew they wanted. Many couples read these books together, resulting in better communication between husbands and wives.
            The novel reinforces the view the public has of the BDSM lifestyle. A person who is interested in this type of sexual play or even relationship, must have experienced some horrible event in his or her life, making him or her crave to be either submissive or dominant. Furthermore, these novels insinuate that once the person has undergone therapy and the horrible event has been dealt with, he or she no longer craves this type of sexual play.
            “Fifty Shades of Grey” has expanded pop culture’s idea of what is acceptable between two consenting adults in a sexual relationship successfully. Anastasia is a young, innocent college student who falls in love with Christian, a young, successful, and rich man. Christian survived a traumatic childhood and still bears scars, resulting in his need to be in control in all aspects of his life, including his relationship with Anastasia. The author E L James started writing this story, her first book, as fan fiction based on the popular “Twilight” book series by Stephenie Meyer. Unlike the romance genre, 50 Shades of Grey is a typical erotica novel that illustrates the sexual relationship between the main characters. Even though the book was first available only as an eBook, it is available in many stores across the country and has been on the New York Times bestseller list for numerous weeks. Fifty Shades of Grey has a growing fan base that advocates and advertises the book series to a growing number of fans across the nation and the rights to the movie adaptation have been sold recently. The coming movie franchise further proves the jump of this topic into mainstream American popular culture.


  1. Wow, the fastest since Harry Potter! I didn't know that-- the world was so ready for a little kink, wasn't it?

    1. I was surprised too when I found the info!

  2. I would have never guessed that! Selling just as fast as Harry Potter is pretty amazing.

    Where all three books available for online reading when they were fan fiction?

    1. Well when it was fanfiction, it was a lot of pages of story. I think she left it up for a long time, but when I read it last November, it was no longer online.

  3. I can see why you aced the paper. Very nice! :P
    (Juicy will come back soon - it always does!)

    1. Thank you Addy! Juicy did come back again, although doesn't stick around for as long as I would like. :D

  4. It fascinates me when the book comes up in conversation with my neighbors and friends. Many of them really like it but I think they are a bit hesitant to admit that. I mostly just sit back and listen. It has been pretty fun to observe.

    50 Shades would be fun homework for me.

  5. Congrats on your 100% Julia! You did a good job:)

  6. Now THAT sounds like a great homework assignment! Great job and way to go on the A+! I didn't realize you were taking a class, but it sounds quite enjoyable.

    1. Thank you! It is a very easy one!


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