Fight Club Masculinity

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Short Paper #1
Fight Club
Chapter 22: pp. 165-166

This passage provides a very powerful moment in which the narrator is informed of the extent of Tyler's power and control. During this scene, Tyler stresses the importance of "honor" while he threatens to castrate the police commissioner. Although the idea of this passage is very aggressive, the tone of the passage is calm and respectful, as Tyler uses diction such as "esteemed honor" and "your honor". While using blackmail as a method of insurance, he reminds the commissioner that honor is more important than the individual. This value reappears throughout Fight Club as well. We see space monkeys sacrificing themselves for homework assignments and chaotic operations; they are taught to put Fight Club and Project Mayhem before themselves. The passage also incorporates many images such as the rubber band and testicles. The rubber band is an image representing obstacles that cut off the circulation between a man and his honor; in this case, his testicles. Testicles, on the other hand, represent individualism. More importantly, testicles are in image for honor because a man carries his family name in his testicles; without them, he is no longer a man and can be seen as a disgrace to his family. Palahniuk silently hints at sexism when he has Tyler say, "How far do you think you'll get in politics if the voters know you have no nuts?" (165) suggesting that those who do not have testicles (women) have a harder time in politics then men do. Adding on to that, it is safe to say that Tyler is a sexist character as he continues to threaten the police commissioner with the idea of losing his manhood and indirectly becoming a woman. At the bottom of page 165 and continuing on to page 166, Palahniuk has the commissioner speak one word per line. This staccato method of speaking helps the audience not only hear, but also feel the fear the commissioner is feeling. It forces the reader to slow down and take a...
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