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Fight Club And Our Consumer Identity

1468 words - 6 pages

Fight Club and Our Consumer Identity


The narrator in the film Fight Club is questioned about his devastated condo and declares, "That condo was my life, okay? I loved every stick of furniture in that place. That was not just a bunch of stuff that got destroyed, that was me!" This attitude of defining self-identity through a consumer culture has become institutionalized in the American society. The film Fight Club addresses the excessive consumerism as a sign of emotional emptiness and as a form of self-distinction. While the title suggests that it is just another cliché action movie, it is not so shallow or narrowly focused. It instead provides the viewer with a provocative view on American society and it raises valid questions about the values embraced by that society. As the film American Beauty dubbed, "...look closer."

The film begins with a nameless narrator (Edward Norton), a corporate pencil-pusher who suffers from insomnia. A doctor tells Norton to quit complaining and stop by a support group for prostate cancer victims. He begins to attend this and other support groups, which helps Norton regain his ability to sleep and act as an outlet to release his emotions through crying. However, when Marla Singer (Helen Bonhem-Carter), another "faker," begins attending his support groups purely for the entertainment value, Norton once again cannot sleep. This is the least of his cares because when he comes back from a business trip he finds that his condo has exploded. Fortunately, on his flight home he had met the charismatic Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who sells soap and has a very unconventional view of life. Tyler offers his "dilapidated house in a toxic waste part of town" to the narrator and he takes a room on the third floor. Tyler then begins to preach anti-consumer views to the narrator, named Jack in the credits. Together, they end up creating the underground fight club that becomes wildly popular with blue-collar workers. Shirt-less men beat each other into bloody messes every Saturday night in the basement of a bar. As the movie progresses, this underground club becomes more of a renegade resistance group that causes mayhem to corporate America. While Tyler is leading his cult to more mischief and mayhem, Jack thinks it has gotten out of hand. Fight club has spread across the country and Tyler’s next mission is to blow up all the major credit companies to erase everyone’s credit thus leveling the "economic playing field." Jack, in an attempt to stop him, chases Tyler around the country but it always appears that he has just missed Tyler. Jack slowly comes to the conclusion that he himself and Tyler are the same person. While Jack thought he was sleeping, in reality his schizophrenic other half was working Tyler’s jobs, making soap and trying to blow Americas materialistic views to pieces. Jack is able to destroy his alter ego by over coming Tyler’s influence and shooting himself through the cheek; however, he is not...

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