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Fight Club

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Fight Club

“You are not your job. You are not how much you have in the bank. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. What happens first is you can’t sleep. What happens then is there’s a gun in your mouth. And what happens next is you meet Tyler Durden. Let me tell you about Tyler. He had a plan. In Tyler we trusted. Tyler says the things you own, end up owning you. It’s only after you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything. Fight Club represents that kind of freedom. First rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. Second rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. Tyler says self-improvement is masturbation. Tyler says self-destruction might be the answer.”

The novel Fight Club, by Jack Palahniuk was published in 1996 and released as a motion picture starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in October of 1999. Both the novel and motion picture proved to be very successful in their release to the public for one simple reason: Fight Club is a reflection of the suffering experienced by the ‘Generation X’ male who feels trapped in a world of the grey-collar (or service) working-class, a world filled with materialism and distractions, a group of men raised in single-parent families often devoid of a male role-model, and a world where there is no great cause for the average North American male to fight for. Whether consciously, or subconsciously, the average ‘Generation X’ male of modern society can relate to and understand Fight Club, which makes both the novel and motion picture such an important proclamation regarding the state of our modern culture.

In Fight Club, we meet our main character who comes to us without a name. He can be referred to as ‘Jack’ but his name is not important. He comes to us without a name because he represents ‘any man’, any one of those ‘Generation X’ males living in our society at present. Jack is a thirty-year old man employed as a recall coordinator for a major automobile company. He lives in a condo that is furnished with all the comforts of modern society, namely mass-produced furnishings that can be found in the homes of millions across North America. Jack owns a car and has obtained a respectable wardrobe for himself over the course of time. Despite all of these things, Jack is not satisfied with his life. He feels unhappy, unfulfilled, and trapped in the depths of chronic insomnia. Jack asks his doctor for help with his insomnia and receives the response that if he wants to see real pain, he should attend some of the support groups at a local church. So Jack attends these support groups, in fact he starts to attend them religiously using pseudonyms and pretending he belongs. Jack frequents groups for men with testicular cancer, groups for sufferers of brain parasites, and blood parasites among other groups for disease sufferers, and suddenly Jack finds he can sleep again. The support groups give Jack a sense of belonging, a sense of being important to others as he expresses on page 107 of the novel:

This is why I loved the support groups so much. If people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention. If

this might be the last time they saw you, they really saw you…People listened instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.

And when they spoke, they weren’t telling you a story. When the two of you talked, you were building something, and afterward you were both different than before.

It is implied that Jack feels frustrated with others in his life, feeling as if they are too caught up with their own preoccupations to truly care about how Jack feels, what is happening to him, and what he needs and wants in life.

It is implied that the average ‘Generation X’ male also feels this way and has difficulty coping in a society where people are too busy to listen. Jack’s attendance at the support group meetings continues to fill one of the ‘voids’ in his life until he meets the character of Marla Singer, who has begun to frequent all of the support group meetings, just as Jack does. Jack becomes enraged with the presence of Marla, as he sees her as a symbol of the lie he has been living and fears that through Marla, he will be exposed as a ‘faker’. Jack confronts Marla and they agree to ‘share’ the meetings, by dividing them up between them. As long as Jack is not confronted with the sight of Marla he feels comfortable in continuing his attendance at the meetings, and carrying out the role of a person living at ‘death’s door’.

During Jack’s attendance at his weekly parasitic brain dysfunction group, he also discovers another way of dealing with some of his problems, through the use of guided meditation. During the

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