Fight Club Analysis

2651 words - 11 pages

William Carlos Williams ends In the American Grain’s final chapter on Abraham Lincoln with the end of a violent, contradictory nature and the establishment of an identity “it was the end of THAT period” (Williams 234) . America has matured past adolescence but contemporary society finds itself in the midst of a mid-life crisis. Young adult males live without purpose or meaning and struggle against a conditioned, preexisting identity defined by history. As Tyler Durden restrains the narrator in Fight Club and reflects on the history of violence in the foundations of contemporary America, he argues the necessity of violence to create identity, “everything up to now is a story, and everything after now is a story” (Palahniuk p.75). The homosocial kiss and unwilling participation of the searing chemical burn is the moment of perfection the narrator lives for. The greatest moment in the narrator’s life is his understanding of deconstruction and violence to create identity. Human sacrifice is crucial in creating a cultural identity and middle-aged men living in a contemporary first world country have been denied the need for self-creation.
Earlier in the text, “Walter from Microsoft” catches the narrator’s eye. Walter is the aspiration of all contemporary young men, “perfect teeth and clear skin” and the pride of his alma mater (Palahniuk 55). Success and perfection are lacking for Walter and though social constructs may example him to other potential young professionals, Walter longs for and stares at the narrator. Walter is too young to have fought in any wars or participated in any self-destructive pursuit of identity. He stares, puzzled as he examines the narrator and his crooked smile. His smile and violent bruises are shadowed in the lowlight of the orderly conference room and the blood on the narrator’s lips “shine” against the darkness of the room. Contemporary Americans would like to assume that Walter, the “warm little center that world crowded around” is constrained by painless thoughts of meatless, communal dinners or is truly concerned about the wealth fare of all human beings and the Earth’s depleting ozone (Palahniuk 55). The narrator argues that Walter longs for deconstruction, for violence and rebellion. Walter dreams of a masculine identity, characterized by self-destruction.
Tyler Durden’s vision of a hyper-masculine, anarchic world is tempting to atypical, middle-age men because the vision promises a violent redefinition of what roles men should officially play. Young men of the late twentieth century found themselves lost in a void where many were, “too young to have fought in any wars” (Palahniuk 55). Young professionals are constantly chasing after the legends of a generation defined by war (World War II, Vietnam and Desert Storm). Modern US society in the late twentieth century has condemned violence, war and primal definitions of masculinity. Chuck Palahniuk places the narrator of Fight Club on a,...

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