Doubles in Fight Club and Cofer's The Other
In the current age of technology and capitalism, many people get caught up in trying to define their individuality with mass produced goods. In David Fincher's movie Fight Club, the narrator, who is commonly referred to as Jack, invents an alter ego to serve as a source of substance in the hallow world of corporate America. This alter ego, named Tyler Durden, is portrayed as a completely psychologically and physically separate being throughout the movie. The inherent polarity in personality between these two personas proves to be a crucial point of interaction between the two characters, and is the basis for most of the action in the movie. Thus, Fight Club depicts the necessity for a balance between the passive and aggressive aspects of the human psyche, which parallels the main theme and insights that are illustrated in Judith Cofer's "The Other."
Jack is "a twentysomething wage slave" of the late 20th century who bases his identity in his material possessions (Smith 58). The scene in his apartment where he discusses the type of things that he owns illustrates this point, and shows that he thinks he can find happiness and identity in these items. As he walks through the apartment it is portrayed as an Ikea catalog with his possessions having product descriptions and prices underneath them. This illustrates the fact that Jack is trying to find happiness through materialism, which proves to be a very hollow lifestyle to partake in and serves as the main catalyst for the creation of Tyler.
Although not as apparently driven by materialism to the extent that Jack is, but equally as conventional, the narrator of "The Other" is very similar to Jack. She wears "tailored skirts" and has a "close-cropped cap" (Cofer 363). Also, it is evident that she is tied to some corporate building because she mentions an elevator in line 16 (Cofer 363). Thus, the narrator is the female representation of Jack; she is preoccupied with fulfilling corporate expectations.
Jack's alter ego is a direct character foil that defies the common precepts of materialism. While Jack is concerned with living up to societies conventions, Tyler is interested in discarding them in favor of a more carpe diem ideal. This ideal tints his personality with an underlying aspect of danger and can be directly observed by his conduct as a waiter, a projectionist, and a soap producer. Underneath these innocent vocations Tyler's true personality can be seen. As a waiter Tyler compromises the integrity of the customer's food by urinating on it. Also, as a movie projectionist, Tyler inserts single frames of pornography into children's movies. Finally, Tyler's brainchild, the Paper Street Soap Company, produces "fine" soap for expensive department stores. But, as before, the reality that Tyler makes soap out of human fat, obtained from liposuction waste sites,...