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Fight Club

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Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, that perhaps gained more exposure through the film adaptation, is narrated by a character whose name is never revealed but who is often referred to in critiques and reviews as Joe, a reference to the character’s discovery of an old Reader’s Digest article in which the bodily organs and functions of various people refer to themselves in the first person. The name ‘Joe’ is used in this context throughout the novel to comically articulate the character’s mood or mentality, for example on page 59, he says I am Joe’s Raging Bile Duct. Joe discovers a cure for his insomnia in various support groups for diseases that he does not have, taking solace in the pain and open suffering of others until he encounters Marla, another ‘tourist’ as he describes her, who disrupts his self prescribed ‘therapy’. After his apartment mysteriously explodes while away on business, Joe moves into a dilapidated house with what is later revealed as an alter ego in the form of the character Tyler Durden. The pair set about creating an anarchistic ‘club’ where the primary physical objective is to fight, for reasons that will be textually observed in relation to this notion of identity. Tyler and Joe eventually develop what is essentially a small organisation, which is often narrated in almost militaristic descriptions, where a group of followers receive instructions and engage in seemingly anarchistic activities that are orchestrated by Tyler, motivated by issues of socio-economic class and activism relating specifically to the demographic of men involved.

Fight Club broadly observes a generation of men made redundant by technology and progressive society, both in the literal arena of work and in a figurative sense of perceptions of masculinity. The character of Joe is a recall campaign coordinator for an undisclosed motor vehicle company, a fairly unassuming occupation that sees him spend the majority of his time either in the office in a suit and tie, or travelling to various accident sites to calculate whether or

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