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Analysis Of The Themes In Fight Club

3339 words - 13 pages

Analysis of the Themes in Fight Club

It is easy to understand how and why many who view Fight Club
(Fincher, 1999) would argue that is in essence a critique of post
modern consumer culture within America or indeed the western world.
After all we are faced with Character(s) Jack (Edward Norton) who
seems to gain no cultural sustenance from the world in which he
inhabits. More over it seems to do him harm in the form of insomnia.
This coupled with his obsession with Ikea and material goods leads to
the creation of Tyler (Brad Pit). Whose apparent goal is the
destruction of the capitalist system? The film seems littered with
examples of anti consumer, anti capitalist motifs. The blowing up of
credit card companies, the vandalising of coffee shops etc etc. But,
is there more to the narrative of fight club? Its extreme use of
violence on one hand might seem to represent the desperate act of
those trapped deep within the void of consumer culture driven to
violence in a desperate bid to escape; to re claim some sense of
individualism. This view does however ignore many key issues regarding
Fight Club and gender. Especially those of masculinity and femininity,
and the positions they occupy within the film.

Primarily using the work of Laura Mulvey and Henry A. Giroux I
believe that it is clear to see that the themes and issues which are
central to Fight Club are based primarily on gender. Additional to
this, the fragility of man and narratives surrounding masculine
supremacy are present throughout, and undermine any notions of
critical morality.

“Ostensibly, Fight Club Appears to be a critique of late capitalist
society…But Fight Club is less interested in attacking the broader
material relations of power and strategies of domination and
exploitation associated with neoliberal capitalism than it is in
rebelling against consumerist culture that dissolves the bonds of male
sociality and puts into place an enervating notion of male identity
and agency” Giroux, 2000:3.

One of the key issues which Giroux raises is that Fight Club tries to
suggest consumerism has destabilized masculinity in effect
masculinity has been emasculated. However the film does not seem to
concern itself with any details regarding this process of consumerism
in terms of economics or practical application. In this respect it is
very vague, using what could easily be described as sound bites
–especially from Tyler- to fill the gap where debate could be. “Fight
Club largely ignores issues surrounding the break up of labour unions,
the slashing of the U.S. workforce, extensive plant closings,
downsizing, outsourcing, the elimination of the welfare state, the
attack on people of colour and growing disparities between rich and
poor.” (Giroux, 2000:8). Fight Club seems content to portray
consumerism as an all...

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