Gina finds himself searching for an outlet to
Gina Ferrari Eric Netterlund Fall 2011 Textual Analysis Essay The classic 1996 film Fight Club is a social commentary about our generation, which is in many ways devoid of spirit and marked by consumerism. It is the story of a man’s spiritual journey towards enlightenment in modern society and his attempt to find his place in the world.
It stresses a post-modern consumer society, reveals the loss of masculine identity amongst gray-collar workers, and examines the social stratification marked by our developing society.It follows the life of the narrator, who is referred to as Jack, (Edward Norton) as he struggles with insomnia and feelings of inadequacy in his desperate search to find meaning in his own life. The film, although controversial, reveals issues in modern society by revealing the development of the narrator through his friendship with Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt).
Durden is a man of influence and power who possesses all of the qualities the narrator lacks. Their friendship develops as the film progresses, but when Durden’s motives unfold, the film ultimately reveals the split personality of the narrator himself, who is in fact Tyler Durden.In the very opening scenes, the film conveys a strong feeling of sympathy for the Narrator.
With dim and gloomy lighting, the film consists of scenes showing the day-to-day life of the Narrator as he simply goes through the motions. His life appears to be miserable and exhausting; he has temporarily fallen into the pressures of society. His apartment appears to own him more than he own it. He finds himself searching for an outlet to escape the feminized culture that he, along with many other men have become a part of.The beginning of the film focuses in on the Narrators struggle with insomnia. He makes an appointment to see a doctor about sleeping pills; however, he refuses to prescribe them.
“But I’m in pain,” he says to which the doctor replies, “If you want to see pain go to the testicular cancer support group – that’s pain”. He then proceeds to go to the testicular cancer support group and pretends to have the disease himself. Each man shares a story of how their wives left them, or they lost their job, or how in some way they all feel inadequate.After hearing such unfortunate stories of innocent men who’s lives have been consumed by this disease, he opens up to the group, tears and all. This release of emotions is the only thing that helps him sleep at night. The scenes at the support group reiterate the films message of weakness.
The Narrator proceeds to join several other support groups, each meeting a different day of the week, allowing him to ease his mind each night. He continues to go to the support groups, but soon notices that he isn’t the only person faking a disease.A seductive woman named Marla Singer attends the same support group meetings that he does, and he finds that when she is there he is unable to cry, and hence unable to sleep. Marla Singer, the symbol of society, is the biggest threat to The Narrator. She leaves him feeling trapped in a state of insomnia as he sleep-walks through life. Nonetheless, the Narrator begins to fall back into his old habits and his life is once again a disappointment.
When traveling on a plane for work, he meets a soap salesman, Tyler Durden.The soap he makes is constructed by stolen fat from human liposuction clinics, which shows a glimpse of the corruption in Tyler Durden’s personality. The zeal, power, and confidence immediately attract the Narrator to Tyler.
He feels drawn to Tyler and is constantly trying to grasp what is missing from his own life. Tyler Durden represents everything that the Narrator lacks and wishes he could become. One night the Narrator returns home he finds that his apartment has been lost to an explosion. With no belongings, no place to stay, and no family to call, he phones Tyler Durden.Tyler’s house is completely falling apart; everything inside is disintegrated and revolting. His house represents the gradual transformation of the Narrators personality. A scene of him and Tyler in a parking lot marks the beginning of “fight club”.
Tyler challenges the Narrator to hit him as hard as he can. As the two men swing punches at one another, they become overwhelmed with a feeling power and strength. Fight Club is created, serving as a secret place where men can go to escape the confines of a consumer driven society.Their club instantly turns into Project Mayhem, a group of men who destroy the city during the night. Project Mayhem is the ultimate demise of the materialistic society that Tyler Durden strives to bring to an end. The Narrators oblivion symbolizes the gradual disapproval of Tyler Durden, and the eventual separation from his alter ego.
When one of the men involved in Project Mayhem is killed, the Narrator begins to question Tyler’s motives and his plans. Tyler suddenly disappears after the Narrator reveals his feelings of disapproval.When he sets out to find Tyler, he discovers that Fight Clubs have spread across the country and men from hundreds of cities have lost their sanity. When approaching various men from all over the country, he asks if they have seen Tyler Durden, and all of them respond by saying, “Is this a test, sir? ” The Narrator finally returns to his hotel room and sees Tyler sitting there waiting for him.
He confronts Tyler and questions him about the spreading of fight clubs and the creation of Project Mayhem. Tyler then says to him, “All the ways you wish you could be, that’s me.I’m free in all the ways your not”.
Upon this confrontation, the Narrator realizes that he is in fact Tyler Durden. The film transports the audience back to scenes of the Narrator and Tyler together, such as the one in the parking lot where they once fought, only this time the Narrator is alone and punching himself. These vivid scenes demonstrate the Narrator’s split personality; He’s been alone this entire time confined in his own conscious mind. Upon this realization, he attempts to separate himself entirely from Tyler and strives to save the country from the chaos he created, Project Mayhem.The Narrator is seen fighting himself and being thrown down flights of stairs, which furthermore exemplifies how self-inflicted violence is his only solution for destroying the idea of Tyler.
Just as the men in fight club were saved by violence against one another, the Narrator is awakened and able to fight against his own version of society that has overwhelmed his mind. The final scene exhibits the effects of Project Mayhem. The Narrator stands and watches buildings of major companies crash to the ground.The destruction of the city signifies and embodies the entire meaning of the film as a whole. As the buildings that represent corporate America crash to the ground, the Narrator escapes societal pressures and destroys his alter ego. The narrator experiences the extremes of a life of both apathy and aggression; his life of apathy is defeated when he first became Tyler Durden, and likewise his life of aggression is destroyed. As the two extremes are defeated, the man who once appeared to “sleep walk” through his life of insomnia becomes truly awakened to the world around him.