English B1A T/R 8 AM
2 February 2012
From the Bottom Up
One of the many central themes in Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club is the idea that one has to break themselves down in order to build themselves up. Joe, who serves as both the narrator and the protagonist in both the novel and film, finds himself unhappy in his consumerist life where the lines of gender roles are constantly being challenged and blurred. Joe is tortured by his work on a daily basis where he sees human lives being disregarded and turned into mere statistics with a dollar value attributed to them on a sheet of paper. This torture along with the strain of not being able to make any real human connections and relationships along with his confusion over his gender role in society lead to the creation of his alter ego, Tyler. Tyler is the exact opposite of Joe. In Terry Lee’s article “Virtual Violence in Fight Club: This Is What Transformation of Masculine Ego Feels Like”, he explains that Tyler “embodies Jack’s own repressed strengths, qualities that are useful, when contracted for short periods in the service of making transformative change, but which cannot be – or shouldn’t be – acted out in everyday life” (420). What Joe is seeking then is a balance in his life; something to give his life meaning and beauty. He creates Tyler, or rather lets him out, in order to achieve that balance and ends up finding himself in a battle between his two personas that manifests itself in the form of male fighting clubs.
Joe teeter totters between his old self, the one he is trying to change, and Tyler who isn’t necessarily the change that he wants to become but rather the catalyst to the balance that he is trying to reach. Tyler delivers a constant message to Joe throughout both the novel and film, that is that if you want to exact change in yourself you have to forget everything you thought you knew about yourself and the life that you lead. Tyler tells Joe that he is...