Tag Archives: E L James

Fifty Shades of GreySifting through the Fifty Shades trilogy, I started paying more attention to patterns than to the plot. Perhaps E L James (choosing to respect her apparent wishes to drop the periods after her initials) repeated the phrase “you are one fucked up bitch” six times in Fifty Shades Darker in order to aid rote memorization, perhaps not, but I’m sure Homer wouldn’t have done it any differently. At any rate, I embarked on my own odyssey in search of something all the books in the trilogy shared; something which could pull the whole series together.

Well, I think I’ve found it. Appearing at least fifteen times in each book as simply “I shake my head,” the phrase runs through E L James’s book like a true idée fixe, sometimes appearing only a sentence after its last appearance!

But E L James is nothing if not creative, and she shows us many different ways of shaking one’s head. Here are more than fifty cumulative ways of shaking one’s head, as found throughout the Fifty Shades series. (And, yes, it’s possible I missed some. I shake my head at science!)

From Fifty Shades of Grey:

  1. “I shake my head, disturbed at the direction of my thoughts…”
  2. “I shake my head to gather my wits.”
  3. “I shake my head, because I just don’t know.”
  4. “I shake my head, and he heads to the counter.”
  5. “I shake my head at her in a back-off now Kavanagh way – but I might as well be dealing with a blind, deaf mute.”
  6. “I shake my head, not daring to tell him and keep my eyes on my food.”
  7. “I shake my head. Not for food.”
  8. “I shake my head, so much to think about.”
  9. “I shake my head in defeat.”
  10. “I shake my head to concentrate on the task at hand.”
  11. “I shake my head in disbelief.”
  12. “I shake my head, and she rolls her eyes at me.”
  13. “I shake my head as I wander back inside.”
  14. “I shake my head resigned and grasp Christian’s toothbrush.”
  15. “I shake my head at the realization.”
  16. “I shake my head at his largesse, and I frown as a scene from Tess crosses my mind: the strawberry scene.”
  17. “I shake my head as the thought crosses my mind that Christian might have purchased the adjacent seat so that I couldn’t talk to anyone. “
  18. “I shake my head amused, and before I realize it, I roll my eyes at him.”

From Fifty Shades Darker:

  1. “I shake my head and flush before taking a less confrontational approach.”
  2. “I shake my head, confused.”
  3. “I shake my head, equally puzzled.”
  4. “I shake my head, but my heart is in my mouth.”
  5. “I shake my head in disapproval because of the expense, but deep down I love it.”
  6. “I shake my head, trying to clear my mind.”
  7. “I shake my head—Christian Mindfuck Grey.”
  8. “I shake my head, disgusted at myself…”
  9. “I shake my head sleepily. No way.”
  10. “I shake my head, remembering my body bowed and wanting beneath his expert hands.”
  11. “I shake my head in disbelief.”
  12. “I shake my head at the screen, but figure I cannot continue to argue with him over e-mail.”
  13. “I shake my head to reassure him.”
  14. “I shake my head and stare out my window at the gray Seattle day, feeling forlorn.”
  15. “I shake my head as I realize I need to start communicating.”
  16. “I shake my head and clutch José’s hand.”
  17. “I shake my head and clamber unsteadily to my feet.”
  18. “I shake my head at him—he’s actually being serious?”
  19. “I shake my head thinking about my mythical father.”

From Fifty Shades Freed:

  1. “I shake my head slowly, deliberately, trying to look as serious as possible. He closes his eyes and shakes his head then tilts his head back in surrender.”
  2. “I shake my head . . . one day, maybe.”
  3. “I shake my head, causing him to release my ear and gaze up at him.”
  4. “I shake my head to emphasize my point.”
  5. “I shake my head in frustration but I’m grateful that he’s telling Miss Provocative-And-Unfortunately-Good-At-Her-Job just who’s in charge.”
  6. “I shake my head vehemently.”
  7. “I shake my head, and his brow furrows once more.”
  8. “I shake my head in resignation.”
  9. “I shake my head in denial…”
  10. “I shake my head and reach up to caress his lovely face.”
  11. “I shake my head, unable to speak.”
  12. “I shake my head as I recall my distressing, tense encounter…”
  13. “I shake my head mutely.” (Ed. note: is there any other way?)
  14. “I shake my head and sigh loudly.” (Ed. note: shouldn’t have asked!)
  15. “I shake my head, exasperated at myself and at Hannah . . . “
  16. “I shake my head as Taylor sets off toward the hospital.”
  17. “I shake my head and pick up his socks and tie, and fold his jacket over my arm.”
  18. “I shake my head and gingerly get out of bed.”
  19. “I shake my head slowly, deliberately, trying to look as serious as possible.”

This kind of laser-like thematic focus is rare, folks.  Truly impressive stuff.