The sameness of the plots in Fifty Shades of Grey, Twilight, Pride and Prejudice and Pamela is supported by the fact that the heroines, in both contemporary novels, are somehow connected to their older counterparts; Anastasia is the student of English literature and Bella considers Pride and Prejudice her favourite novel. It is as if the writers themselves were stressing this connection between their works and the works of authors in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This connection is described in the two analyses; first compares Fifty Shades of Grey with Pamela and the second Twilight with Pride and Prejudice.
Both analyses focus on three major aspects that the novels have in common: the plot, the main motifs and the major characters. Despite the fact that there are some differences between the things that these novels share, most of the motifs discussed are present in all four of them; the relationship and its evolution – which becomes the main focus in all these novels, the virtue, the social unacceptance. The main focus of the plot is always the relationship and its development becomes the main aspect, which, as suggested in the thesis, is in accordance with Chapel’s definition of romance. In addition, the predictability of the plot is also a feature all four have in common; the relationship always ends with marriage. However, the idea of the virtuous heroine falling in love with a villainous hero and “taming” him is also described in the thesis and present in all four novels.
Apart from these motifs, the main characters are also similar; the heroine is always disadvantaged – whether it is due to her financial situation, or her social status – young and virtuous, and the hero is villainous and rich. The character of the heroine is the most surprising and controversial thing about the contemporary romance novels discussed in this thesis as it promotes the inequality and goes against the modern feminism; the heroine in Fifty Shades of Grey and Twilight is fighting for a certain degree of equality in the relationship, however, her characteristics adopted from the Pamela and Pride and Prejudice cause her to fail in presenting the image of a modern independent woman. Her relationship with a hero, who sometimes even becomes abusive, is another aspect which makes these novels seem absolutely irrelevant. The villainous character of Christian and Edward and their overprotective side are, however, something that attracts female readers, according to James, who stresses that women become tired with doing everything and that sometimes they just need a man who takes care of them instead. This may be the possible explanation of their enormous popularity; Pamela, Pride and Prejudice, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey have all become immensely popular at certain point despite the unusual ideology which did not completely reflect the reality.
The significant attention that these novels got is described in the first chapter of the thesis. Pamela, despite the controversy that it sparked, became a phenomenon that made readers engage with the story of the servant. But it was more than that as Richardson managed to create a model of the feminine heroine that remained popular until now. It was later adopted by Austen, whose popularity is immense even today and who inspires many authors, among them Meyer and her Twilight, which became an inspiration for James when writing Fifty Shades of Grey. However, the main story remains the same and despite the various differences – Twilight and Pride and Prejudice are dealing with sexuality differently than Fifty Shades of Grey and Pamela –do not affect the popularity of these novels.
The two analyses which thoroughly describe the similarities between the novels suggest that the imitation is present in literature, and especially in connection with romance genre, however, what this thesis intends to claim is that it does not have a negative impact on the popularity of these novels. Romance, as it is said, is focused on the development of the relationship and women who read romance novels tend to read them repeatedly. Hence, it can be said that it is a lifetime commitment to read romances rather than a one-time experience. This allows for love stories with similar characters, settings and plot features to be popular among readers as women like to return to reading similar romance novels. Additionally, the exceeding popularity of the four novels analysed underlines the particular features that they all share and that may be responsible for their success: the virtuous and disadvantaged heroine, the villainous, rich hero, the social unacceptance and the unequal relationship. The features that have been created in the eighteenth century and that can turn a book into a successful best-seller even today.
Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. London: Harper, 2010. Print.
James, E L. Fifty Shades of Grey. London: Arrow Books, 2012. Print.
James, E L. Fifty Shades Freed. London: Arrow Books, 2012. Print
Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York: Little, Brown, 2005. Print.
Meyer, Stephenie. Midnight Sun.stepheniemeyer. n.p. 2008. PDF file.
Langland, Elizabeth. "Pride and Prejudice: Jane Austen and Her Readers." A Companion to Jane Austen Studies. Eds. Laura C. Lambdin, Robert T. Lambdin. Westport: Greenwood, 2000. 41-56. Print.
Leiman, Jessica L. "Booby's Fruitless Operations": The Crisis of Male Authority in Richardson's Pamela." Eighteenth Century Fiction 22.2 (2010): 223-248. Web. 16 Dec. 2015.
Lewis, Helen. "Leather bound: the debate about the erotic bestseller Fifty Shades of Grey has focused on its newness--but it’s better understood as a throwback to the 18th century." New Statesman (1996) 2012: 48. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Feb. 2016.
Lindén, Claudia. "Virtue as Adventure and Excess: Intertextuality, Masculinity, and Desire in the Twilight Series." Culture Unbound: Journal Of Current Cultural Research 5.(2013): 213-37. SocINDEX. Web. 16 Nov. 2015.
Luscombe, Belinda. "The Grey Area." Time 185.5 (2015): 38-44. Web. 12 March 2016.
Percec, Dana. Introduction: Why Romance?. Romance: The History of a Genre. By Percec. Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2012. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 12 March 2016.
Radway, Janice A. Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy, and Popular Literature. 2nd ed. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1991. Print.
Regis, Pamela. A Natural History of the Romance Novel. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011.
Roxburgh, Natalie. "Rethinking Gender and Virtue Through Richardson's Domestic Accounting." Eighteenth Century Fiction 24.3 (2012): 403-29. Web. 21 Jan. 2015.
TIME. "10 Questions for Stephenie Meyer." Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 5 Apr. 2013. Web. 15 March 2016.
van Reenen, Dionne. "Is This Really What Women Want? An Analysis of Fifty Shades of Grey and Modern Feminist Thought." South African Journal of Philosophy 33.2 (2014): 223-33. Web. 21 Dec. 2015.
Warner, William B.. Licensing Entertainment: The Elevation of Novel Reading in Britain, 1684–1750. Los Angeles: University of California, 1998. Web. 20 March 2016.
Watt, Ian. The Rise of the Novel. London: Penguin, 1963. Print.
Wells, Juliette. Everybody's Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination. London: A&C Black, 2012. Web. 18 March 2016.
The aim of this thesis is to determine which are the characteristics and motifs that the most popular romance novels share as they are probably the key features responsible for their popularity. This is shown through detailed analysis of the contemporary romance novels in comparison with the popular novels which became an inspiration for them. The analysis strives to explain that the same motifs, which were appealing to the readers in the eighteenth and early nineteenth century are also appealing to them today. These motifs are revealed through the comparison of two contemporary novels and their counterparts; the virtuous and disadvantaged heroine, the villainous, rich hero, the social unacceptance and the unequal relationship
The first chapter of the thesis describes the popularity of all four novels analysed: Pamela, Pride and Prejudice, Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. It also discusses the popularity of the romance genre and the reason why women find, and in the past found, these four novels appealing.
In the second chapter Fifty Shades of Grey with Pamela are compared and the major elements, plot features and characters that the former novel adopts from Pamela are depicted. In the third chapter, the same aspects are compared in Twilight and Pride and Prejudice.
Cílem této bakalářské práce je určit jaké jsou charakteristiky a motivy sdílené nejpopulárnějšími romány pro ženy, jelikož právě oni jsou pravděpodobně klíčovými elementy odpovědnými za jejich popularitu. Toto je ukázáno prostřednictvím detailní analýzy současných románů pro ženy v porovnání s populárními romány, které se staly jejich inspirací. Tato analýza se usiluje vysvětlit, že ty samý motivy, které byly atraktivní pro čtenáře v osmnáctém a na počátku devatenáctého století, jsou pro něj atraktivní i dnes. Tyhle motivy jsou odhaleny skrz porovnání dvou současných románů s jejich protějšky; ctnostná a znevýhodněná hrdinka, podlý, zámožný hrdina, společenská nepřijatelnost a nerovný vztah.
První kapitola práce popisuje popularitu všech čtyř analyzovaných románů: Pamela, Pýcha a předsudek, Stmívaní a Padesát odstínů šedi. Rovněž pojednává o popularitě žánru románů pro ženy a důvodu proč ženám připadají, a v minulosti připadali, tyhle čtyři romány atraktivní.
Ve druhé kapitole je porovnáván román Padesát odstínů šedi s Pamelou, přičemž jsou vyzvednuty hlavní prvky, vlastnosti děje a postavy, které dříve pojmenován román pojímá od Pamely. V třetí kapitole jsou porovnávány ty samý aspekty v Stmívání a Pýše a předsudku.
1 Despite Austen’s preoccupation with the topic of money, Meyer does not seem to pay that much attention to it. Although in Twilight, the main ideology is preserved; the hero is the one in possession of a fortune and this fortune gives him certain advantages, it rather becomes a feature of his character than a motif which plays a role in the plot.