Alder's Superiority Complex in "Fight Club"

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Fight Club

Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel Fight Club was adapted into an American film in 1999 by director David Fincher. This successful film perfectly illustrates Alfred Adler’s theory of the superiority complex in “Striving for Superiority”. The unnamed protagonist’s unconscious is depicted by Tyler Durden, a personality who in the end of the film is revealed as a figment of the protagonist’s imagination, plays an important role in understanding the conflicts within his psyche. This one particular scene where Tyler Durden and the protagonist share an emotional conversation about their relationship with their distant father evidently demonstrates their struggle to over-compensate for the feeling of being unwanted.

Adler’s superiority complex suggests that everyone has feelings of inferiority and these feelings start at an early age. According to the superiority complex, a child may feel inferiority because he or she is unwanted, has a physical disability or is a pampered child. In this particular situation, the protagonist is an unwanted child. He reveals in the bathroom scene with Tyler Durden, his alter ego, that if he would want to fight anyone it would be his father. This suggests that the protagonist now as an adult feels more powerful maybe through the “Fight Club” he has created and no longer feels “weak and powerless” as a child would feel under a parent’s authority. He goes on describing his relationship with his father as someone he does not know since he left him when he was 6 years old. Then he goes on to say “I mean, I know him” suggesting some sort of possible communication between them. He says that his father was building a franchise because every 6 years he would go off and start a new family with a new woman abandoning everything. This symbolism is used here to show how anyone is the same as the previous and how as a child the protagonist did not feel as an individual or loved. In this dialogue, Durden speaks of his father being remote...
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