917 NovemberOctober 2006
The role of fathers and God in Fight Club
The novel Fight Club deals with manyseveral issues that many people feel are particularly relevant in today’s society. These include, consumerism, dissatisfaction with the way masculinity is portrayed, and the role of God and the father in our culture. The novel seems to focuses in on one particular theme that seems to be the driving force behind Tyler/the narrator’s desire to create chaos, and that is the absence of a father which eventually leads to an absence of God in their lives. The novel focuses in on the fact that both the narrator and Tyler either grew up without or were abandoned by their fathers. As the narrator says, “What you see at fight club is a generation of men raised by women” (Palahniuk, 50). Tyler/the narrator hasve an opinion that the father should be the model for God, and since they grew up without fathers, they search their entire lives for a father or God. As their search goes on and on they begin to feel as if the reason they do not find them is that their God, like their fathers, has abandoned them and does not care for them. In order to get God/their fathers to care about them, the narrator/Tyler seeks to bring chaos into the world in an attempt to at least be recognized by God.
Tyler and the narrator coincidently share many things in common with the way they grew up,, and oone of theose things is the fact that they both grew up with fathers who were absent during most of their childhoods, and their absences may help to explain how their sons became who they are. Although the narrator does not have any idea that Tyler is actually a part of himself, he feels they share a bond between them because they both McNally 2
have supposedly grown up with out fathers and it seems they are both resentful of that fact. In the narrator’s case, his father left his mother after 6 years to move on to a new family: "I knew my Dad for about 6 years, but I don’t remember anything. My Dad, he starts a new family in a new town about every 6 years” (50). Tyler does not give us much information about his father, except that he left when he was young. , bBut assince we find outlearn that Tyler and the narrator are the same person, the novel also leads us to believe that they in fact share the same father. The difference between the two however is how they deal with how their mutual father left them. Tyler represents the one side of their narrator’s mind that seems to accept the fact that his father left him. However, the side of the mind that is the narrator does not accept this, and looks to other people to help possibly fill the void that was left when his father abandoned his family.
The narrator’s lack of a father leads him to look for new role models to help him understand what he should do with his life. The first role modelperson the narrator looks to is his boss. The narrator may regard his boss as a role model simply because he is an authority figure in his life, which is something he never had because his father left him. The narrator’s boss was, who llike a father, someone who would most likely discipline him for doing wrong, but also someone who would acknowledge him when the narrator would do good work. As the narrator becomes increasingly upset with the consumer culture around him and the direction of his life is headed towards, he starts to resent his boss and begins to what he feels that he represents what he feels is wrong with society. , “Mister Boss with his midlife spread and family photo on his desk and his dreams about early retirement and winters spent at a trailer-park hookup in some Arizona desert” (96). The narrator, as he is moving along on McNally 3
his journey in the storybook, realizes that dreams like his boss’s do not fulfill him and they are not necessarily the same dreams and aspirations he now seeks. Just like when the narrator blows up his...