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Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk explores the theme of masculinity through clever characterisation, exploration of conformity and anarchy and through unusual language.

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Introduction

Fight Club "Fight Club" by Chuck Palahniuk explores the theme of masculinity through clever characterisation, exploration of conformity and anarchy and through unusual language. The traditional role of man was as the head of the family unit. Looking after and providing for his wife and children in the hunter-gatherer role. What if a man has no wife and children? What is his role? What if the man comes from a broken family where he had no father? How is he supposed to live a good male life if he has no good example to follow? These are some of the issues that Chuck Palahniuk confronts on the theme of masculinity in "Fight Club". In this essay I will explore the author's use of characterisation, conformity, anarchy and interesting and unusual language in support of this main theme. The characterisation of the main figure is executed particularly well. The characters of Joe and Tyler are cleverly interwoven throughout the novel until the reader's realisation that they are both actually the same person. There are a lot of hints in the novel, which suggest this up until it is actually revealed. Several times the narrator, Joe, says, "I know this because Tyler knows this." This could be taken as meaning that they are very close friends and tell each other everything or that they are both the same person. The author also refers to the idea of multiple personalities in, "If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?" ...read more.

Middle

"You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. ... Our culture has made us all the same. ... We all want the same. Individually, we are nothing." Tyler is criticising society for making everyone the same yet in Project Mayhem, the men become drones to Tyler's queen. They perform their duties, whether they are making soap to sell or turn into explosives, tending the garden growing herbs to add to the soap, or simply cleaning the toilet all day. Every week after every Fight Club Tyler gives each man a homework assignment, demeaning them and treating them like children. "Fight Club" is also about the impact of broken families, men raised by women, men with absent fathers. "I'm a thirty year old boy, and I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer I need." Both Tyler and Joe are from single parent families and this becomes the basis of Fight Club because instead of seeing whom they are fighting at Fight club they fight their absent fathers and everything else they hate in their lives. "If you never know your father, if your father bails out or dies or is never at home, what do you believe about God?" This concept is mirrored in Joe's quest for a father figure either in his boss or in Tyler. Tyler kills Joe's Boss but then Joe must kill Tyler as he realises he needs no father figure, no model for God. Thus there is the suggestion that because these characters did not know their fathers, they had a different view of masculinity. ...read more.

Conclusion

In the beginning of the novel this fractures the narrative and creates the idea of how mundane, routine and repetitive Joe's life is, "You wake up at O'Hare. You wake up at La Guardia. You wake up at Logan." The repetition of "You wake up" shows how pointless the travelling is and the emphasis of waking up is a continuation of Joe's wish to wake up as something or someone else. I like this because it seems to illustrate the effect of this travelling on Joe. He believes that his job is pointless, repetitive and uninteresting. In conclusion, it is evident that Palahniuk uses masculinity as one of the main themes of this novel. The traditional view of the male in society is challenged. Fight Club's bare-knuckled boxing matches feature a generation of men raised by women and this highlights the narrator's broken link with his own father who left when he was six years old. The clever characterisation of the story's main protagonist gives the reader gradual hints and clues until it becomes clear that Tyler and Joe are one. Conformity is also explored to show us the difference between Joe's safe world of traditional values and work ethics and the dangerous underworld of Tyler's anarchic counter culture. Palahniuk's use of unusual language also illustrates each of the themes mentioned. The sharp sentences, short paragraphs and lack of punctuation makes us think about conformity because it challenges the writing styles we are more familiar with. In short "Fight Club" is a highly original and entertaining story which challenges our views of the world. --- Word Count - 1875 --- I ...read more.

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A particularly interesting essay that allows us to explore a psychological issue within a real life scenario. This can be developed by referring more to psychological theory/terminology and interpreting the meaning of the book in psychological terms

Marked by teacher Stephanie Porras 27/03/2013

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