Written by Sarah Contreras
Throughout most of everyone’s lifetime, there has been an instance where they have
discarded their aspirations and passions because it is an enervating, extensive, and toilsome path.
When one tries to break that cycle of complying with a simple, monotonous, breazy, life, and
when one realizes that the value of life is in the grips of one’s hands, they will do what they
please and never look back at the restrictions they used to impose on themselves. This all unfolds in the lives of copious guys in a book called Fight Club, written by Chuck Palahniuk.
In the process of men endeavoring to live their life according to their own values, one
guy, Tyler Durden, begins fight club, that the narrator, also protagonist, joins. At the onset of the novel, the narrator goes to different support groups every night because he battles with insomnia and group therapy is the only place where he feels he can “relax and give up;” it is his personal “vacation” (Palahniuk 9). Once fight club begins though, it helps the narrator reveal his hidden frustration for his life because he thinks that “anything you're ever proud of will be thrown away”(Palahniuk 7). Since the narrator doesn’t feel content with where his future is going, he continues to go to fight club, because “who guys are in fight club is not who they are in the real world” (Palahniuk 33). This thinking allows them to forget about the issues they face daily and focus on becoming a better person in the moment.
As time goes by, men all over the city recognize the power fight club has to rid of their
monotonous routine and it engenders numerous fight clubs to appear all over town. Being a part of this club incites the narrator to become less caring about how he is presented to his peers and he begins to show up to work with constant dark swollen eyes and a hole in his cheek without giving a second thought to covering it up. It is shown that the narrator has gained more confidence because usually people would be insecure to have a beaten up face, but the narrator doesn’t care because at fight club he felt he could at last “get [his] hands on everything in the world that didn’t work” (Palahniuk 37). The protagonist also develops an audacious personality manifested when he threatens his boss with possibly “[gutting] him with a shotgun blast” (Palahniuk 92). It is patent that the club has given the narrator a sense of power and control that he utilizes as a way to compensate for all the time he has lost in trying to please everybody.
Contrary to the beginning, after so much of fight club, the protagonist evolves into a
person who craves more excitement to be able to deal with reality. More specifically, the narrator “wanted to destroy everything beautiful [he’d] never have. . . . [He] wanted the whole world to hit bottom” (Palahniuk 88). This desire leads Tyler to create Project Mayhem (PM) where it triggers the death of people and all the members conforming to be a sole worker for Tyler, and nothing else. Because of the craziness, the narrator starts to question the effectiveness of PM in trying to get men to live their life to the fullest without any limitations of their self-expression. The narrator exhibits his animosity for PM when he describes the members actions as some “brainless little honor” (Palahniuk 95). Towards the end, the protagonist is disgusted by what PM has turned into, especially when he sees a dead body buried in the garden and when Tyler killed his boss, that he decides to depart from the club and Tyler. Ultimately, it is evident that not being compliant with society’s standards can be liberating, but if abused, it progresses into a trap of being obsessed with trying to grasp complete control of one’s happiness, in an impinging way.
Ted Gioia begins to describe Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk, as an impressive
breakthrough in the literature that surrounds the topic of rebellion, in his article “Fight Club by Palahniuk.” Gioia feels that Fight Club was “light years ahead” from novels of “youthful
rebellion” and that Palahniuk perfectly envisioned the mischievous acts Gen Y would undergo such as tattoos, black wardrobe, “obsession with death,” and “acts of random violence.” In the beginning, these habits only applied to a certain number of individuals who weren’t popular or significant, but Gioia observes that Palahniuk extends, what was once an “emerging subculture,” into “mainstream society,” that creeps into the lives of successful and admirable people. To Gioia, the rebellion manifested in Fight Club is that of no other because it involves the toppling of a prodigious amount of people instead of it being subject to a small group of unrelatable people. Gioia highlights the length to which fight club is beneficial and relieving to men by referencing the copious amounts of illegal clubs popping up all over town. Further on, Gioia characterizes Tyler Durden and his influence amongst his followers. He represents Tyler as a guy who values self-autonomy and who believes in the conformity of men in modern society. Eventually, Tyler’s obsession of control over history and society leads him to execute more dangerous tasks such as killing others and setting off explosives, which does not interest Gioia. He explains that he does not find Fight Club “titillating,” but instead discerns the novel as representing the real world to some measure. In Gioia’s eyes, the subculture that exists, in reality, is analogous, “to some degree, the rule-breaking ethos depicted in Fight Club.” Due to the similarities between real life and the novel, it doesn’t surprise Gioia to see people “determined to turn [the events in the book] into actual events.” At the end of his review, Gioia leaves the lector off with advising them that Fight Club is a book for those that want to be more aware of the underlying conformity people are smothered within their daily lives and how they ameliorate those sentiments.