54 pages 1 hour read

E. L. James

Fifty Shades Darker

Fiction | Novel | Adult | Published in 2012

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Symbols & Motifs


A common component of the BDSM lifestyle is the use of bindings to restrict movement. The author uses binding throughout the novel to illustrate Ana’s submission to Christian. Christian straps Ana into a harness almost immediately after reuniting with her on the way to Portland. The harness illustrates Christian’s desire to control and possess Ana. The next use of binding is a spreader bar. Christian then ties Ana up with her robe sash, uses a spreader bar with cuffs, binds her with a tie, and uses handcuffs over the course of the novel. Christian initially shies from using binding after the couple’s breakup. He does not see how his kinks have any place in the relationship.

James uses the image of Christian restraining Ana as a symbol of her submission to his desire. They represent Christian’s control over her body. Ana, conversely, finds comfort in the binding. She does not worry about what she should be doing but gives in to Christian’s desire. The author underscores that the binding represents freedom from worry for both Ana and Christian. The bindings allow Christian to ease in Ana’s inability to touch him, and they allow Ana to feel confident in her submission and body.