1. The voice of Ana’s “inner goddess” is a distinct presence throughout the novel. Does it have a positive or negative influence on Ana? Is the inner goddess simply her subconscious? Or does it represent something else? Does every woman have an inner goddess?
2. How important is music in Fifty Shades of Grey? What does Christian’s appreciation of music—for all genres—say about him? [Visit 50Shades.com for playlists created by the author and inspired by the Fifty Shades trilogy.]
3. When they first meet, Christian tells Ana that he follows a guiding principal from Andrew Carnegie: “A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.” What insight does this provide into his character? And does it foreshadow events in the novel?
4. Is Ana’s relationship with Christian empowering? Do you think it’s in any way demeaning?
5. If you’ve read Tess of the d’Urbervilles, how does Ana’s story parallel Tess’s? Ana describes Tess as a woman “in the wrong place at the wrong time in the wrong century.” Is Ana able to exert more control over her own life and act as an independent woman in ways that Tess could not?
6. What is the basis of Ana’s attraction to Christian? Is there an allure in the fact that beneath his ultra-confident exterior Christian is a damaged and vulnerable soul? Is Ana motivated by a desire to “fix” him or save him from his personal demons? Have you ever been in a relationship like this?
7. Why do you think this story has captivated so many readers? Is it the fairy tale aspect of the story? Do women really just want a man who will sweep them off their feet and take control in the bedroom? If you agree, why do you think that’s true?
8. Would you ever sign a contract like the one Christian presents to Ana?
9. Is Ana’s innocence and naiveté believable? Is Christian just a fictitious ideal with his perfect body (“the Adonis, divinely formed”), intelligence, and sexual prowess? How does José compare? What archetype does he represent? What about Elliott?
10. What do you think of the ending? Does Ana stand up for herself? Is the situation they find themselves in—where Ana realizes she can’t give Christian what he needs and he admits he can’t love her the way she wants—something you can relate to?