Fifty Shades of Grey

Fifty Shades of Grey Summary and Analysis of Chapters 21-24


Ana wakes up blissfully happy, but also aware that her interactions with Christian always carry an element of uncertainty. As they discuss her trip to Georgia, Christian suggests she fly on his private jet, but Ana insists on buying herself a commercial ticket. After leaving his apartment, Ana buys her ticket, packs, and then heads off to her job interviews. At the second interview, she meets with a man named Jack Hyde, an editor at SIP Press. Jack makes Ana slightly uncomfortable, but the interview goes well. Afterwards, Ana returns to her apartment and chats with Kate. Ana confides that she is in love with Christian, but doesn't know whether he shares her feelings, or whether he is even capable of loving anyone.

That night, Ana goes to the airport to catch her red-eye flight, only to find that Christian has arranged to have her upgraded to first class. On a connection between flights, Ana sends Christian an email confiding her fears that she will be hurt as a result of their relationship, and that he will abandon her once he gets tired of her.

In Savannah, Ana's mother and her mother's husband, Bob, come to pick her up. That afternoon at the beach, Ana tells her mother about her relationship with Christian, although she doesn't offer details about their sexual relationship.

Later that day, Ana receives an email from Christian telling her that he is open to extending the terms of their agreement, and that all he wants to do is make her happy. Ana is initially pleased, but becomes nervous when Christian mentions via email that he is having dinner with an old friend. Ana is alarmed that he may be meeting with "Mrs. Robinson," the woman who initiated him into BDSM when he was a teenager. Impulsively, she emails to ask him who is having dinner with.

The next day, Ana spends time with her mother, and the two of them end up having cocktails at a hotel bar. She is surprised that Christian has not responded to her message from the previous night, and then more surprised when Christian abruptly appears at the bar. Christian is staying at the hotel, and he quickly charms Ana's mother. When they have a moment alone together, Ana explains that she believes Mrs. Robinson took advantage of him. Christian defends her as someone who helped him, but he is touched that Ana is jealous. Christian leaves them, but Ana's mother insists that Ana go after him.

Ana goes to Christian's hotel room, where the two of them make love. Afterwards, she realizes that the scars on his chest must be the result of cigarette burns. Ana tries to engage Christian in talking about his past; he admits that he finds this kind of intimacy very difficult, but he tries to be more open with her. They also agree that they will work together to find a balance within their relationship so that they can both be satisfied.

The next morning, Christian wakes Ana up very early and takes her gliding. Ana is delighted with the adventure, and touched that Christian introduces her at the airfield as his girlfriend. Afterwards, they have breakfast together. Christian takes her back to her mother's house, planning to return that evening to have dinner with her and her family. Via email later that day, Christian tells Ana that she talks in her sleep and has revealed something interesting, but won't specify what. Ana is delighted to receive an internship offer that afternoon but disappointed when Christian abruptly tells her that he has to return to Seattle, and cannot come to dinner. She also starts to worry that Christian's new willingness to consider a different type of relationship may stem from a conversation with Mrs. Robinson.


When Christian agrees to let Ana go to Georgia to see her family, it seems to open a window for them to achieve a more egalitarian relationship. This sense of empowerment transfers over to her successfully securing an internship. So many of Ana's aspirations have been oriented towards her relationship with Christian that it is refreshing for her to remember the goals and ambitions that preceded him. It almost seems possible for Ana to imagine a future where she could both have a relationship with Christian while also enjoy spending time with the people she cares about and advancing her goals for herself. Ana's hopefulness spills over into her admission that she is in love. However, even as she admits the depth of her feelings, she knows that she is treading on thin ice. She's not even sure if Christian is truly capable of love.

Although Christian had seemed to show some concession to Ana's desire for independence and freedom, he also immediately regresses into a need for control. The scene where he runs into Ana in Georgia, having followed her there, shows that he can't keep himself away from her. This is either an indication of his intense passion, his intense drive for control, or both. Ana herself doesn't know whether to be moved or frustrated by this gesture. The way Christian exerts his charm over Ana's mother is also telling. Kate, who up until this point has functioned as Ana's female confidante and support system, has been pragmatic and level-headed. She can recognize that Christian is often behaving selfishly and causing Ana pain. Ana's mother, however, falls for the same seductive charm her daughter is swayed by. While the marital history of Ana's mother is mentioned only as a fleeting detail, it carries some significance, especially when juxtaposed with the intense trauma Christian experienced with his birth mother. Ana's mother is a romantic who has always followed her heart, and she encourages her daughter to do the same. This encouragement, however, may be leading Ana down a road towards heartbreak.

Interestingly, it is after meeting Ana's family that Christian shows the greatest willingness to open up to Ana about his past. Ana's own family history is far from perfect, and has been marked by loss and upheaval in its own way. Still, she clearly has a loving relationship with a mother who wants the best for her. Something about seeing Ana within this family dynamic makes it possible for Christian to start to articulate small pieces of his own experience with his birth mother. As Sara Upstone explains, "In Ana’s and Christian’s respective mothers, the novels present readers with a clear distinction: between an ideal mother positioned as self-sacrificing and loving unconditionally, and a failed mother who is associated with neglect and selfishness" (pg.140). Although Ana has already met his adoptive family, this darker side of Christian's history seems to be what truly formed him. Telling Ana about the birth mother who abused and scarred him (both literally and metaphorically) represents a much deeper intimacy than introducing her to his adoptive family, who function as a component of the privileged and polished exterior Christian presents to the world. While Ana is still not totally satisfied with the prospect of emotional intimacy within their relationship, this seems to be the couple's most hopeful moment so far. Christian's willingness to compromise on the terms of their agreement is mirrored by signs of Ana also being able to retain independence and autonomy. While most of her recent life has been consumed by her relationship with Christian, the internship which she is offered represents something that will be uniquely hers. If Christian can let go, and Ana can continue to work to become her own person alongside him, there just might be a chance of mutually fulfilling happiness for the two of them together.

However, just as the relationship seems to reach its moment of greatest potential, Ana's jealousy gets the best of her. She has always had a complicated relationship to the figure of Mrs. Robinson. On one hand, she attempts to morally justify her dislike and distrust of this other woman by projecting it through the lens of a protective impulse. No matter how many times Christian asserts that he had agency and consent in his relationship with Mrs. R., Ana continues to project a narrative in which he was victimized due to an unequal power dynamic. It's possible that some of this vehemence is a form of transference for her own feelings of being dominated and powerless in her relationship to Christian. Like he once was, she is a younger and sexually inexperienced individual who falls into a seductive thrall, and seems to find it impossible to see that she is potentially being coerced or even abused. Alternatively, as Ana struggles to step out of the repressive expectations of a more traditional sexual narrative which prizes emotional connection, commitment, and monogamy above all else, she might resent the notion of a woman who clearly had other priorities and pursued sexual experimentation more freely than Ana does. As Angelika Tsaros observes, "Reinforcing societal stigma of older women’s sexual agency, Anastasia unleashes her disgust and blame on her even after Christian assures her of Mrs Robinson’s role in his life as a positive and helpful influence" (pg. 871-872).

Alongside Ana's perception of Mrs. Robinson as a predatory figure is a less noble motivation: jealousy. While Christian has had many other lovers before, there is only one other woman who has ever enjoyed true intimacy with him. Mrs. Robinson has the one thing Ana wants, and it drives her crazy that Christian remains close friends with his former lover. While Christian's jealousy and desire to control Ana's interactions with other men has been a dark and foreboding presence throughout the plot, it becomes clear that Ana shares similar characteristics. Perhaps this is why she has tolerated these qualities in Christian, or even been drawn to them. Ana's constant concern about what might be happening between Christian and Mrs. Robinson is steadily eroding the fragile layer of trust they have been able to establish.