After reading and evaluating the works of T. S. Eliot, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club, there are various discussion points pertaining to the connection between tragedy and human conditions. Herein, tragedy is the result of a specific human condition, disengagement. This essay aims to identify and explain the behavioural traits between characters in two literary works which leads to a disengagement by the characters from a typical social environment.
In Palahniuk’s Fight Club, Tyler Durden is a conformist to society that experienced a personal tragedy which led him to disengage from the societal normality and found an organization known as Fight Club, an underground street fighting competition. Tyler was once an aspiring businessperson. His failure was the cause of his conformity. Tyler then began to work as a security guard, primarily conducting after hour duties. This led him to begin stealing left over human fat to create the ingredients for the manufacture of explosives with the aim of supplementing his income (Schuessler). Here a personal tragedy, specifically failure, led to a behavioural condition known as disengagement. Tyler retracted himself from the typical American societal expectations and rebelled through forms of crime and backlash.
Tyler’s failure as a businessperson and his overall frustration with the societal functions in the United States led him to conform to regular societal norms. Jack Moore, a contrasting character, who suffers from insomnia as a result of frustration with a standardized and plain lifestyle. Both Jack and Tyler eventually conform from society through different avenues, each with unique and contrasting impacts on their lives. Jack and Tyler engage in confrontation as a result of curiosity, which in itself is an example of conformity (Palahniuk). This conflict led to the formation of Fight Club.
Palahniuk’s theme of conformity is conveyed through a quote demonstrating resistance. “At the time, my life just seemed too complete, and maybe we have to break everything to make something better out of ourselves” (Palahniuk 52). This quote discusses a conflict of split personalities by Jack Moore. Jack seemingly had everything from a stable income, dull occupation and common apartment. In one realm lived a normal individual embracing societal practice, in another lived a conformist who experienced stress and resistance to this lifestyle. Jack sought psychological assistance and joined a support group, but struggles to regain stability, which is further hindered by conflict with Marla Singer, a member of the support group with a contrasting personality.
While both characters seemingly engaged in contrasting lifestyles, the pressures to adapt to societal norms led to conformity. This is best described by a quote in Hamlet, “reason panders will” (Hamlet III. IV 88). The interpretation of this quote essentially identifies correct judgement as a result of instinct. The...