Good Vibrations: Shaken Subjects and the Disintegrative Romance Heroine

Author
Publication year
2015
Pages
99-116
Comment

While a full consideration of the contemporary romance genre is beyond the scope of this essay, it seems to me that Fifty Shades of Grey, with its prominent depictions of ecstatic, shattered states, is a particularly important text for romance studies. Fifty Shades, with its spectacular vibrations, might be read as a narrative charting the ways in which disruptive, active female energy is narratively released and then dealt with in romance fiction. We might, therefore, read Fifty Shades as a paradigmatic text, a text that might illuminate some of the critical arguments made in respect of the recuperative operation of genre fiction. I'll attempt to demonstrate, in the paragraphs that follow, how Ana's potentially disruptive discombobulation is rebalanced in the Fifty Shades novels according to romance clich├ęs of masculine power and financial domination; how her spectacular propensity to shatter makes her especially prone to being pieced back together by the male lead; and how the romance-plot progress of the novels resolves the radical potential of Ana's vibrational disturbance into bathos. (106-107)