Fight Club, the Reflection of Materialism

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Fight Club is directed by David Fincher, written for the screen by Jim Uhls, and based on a novel by Chuck Plahniuk. It was released to Americans recovering from the Columbine school shootings in the fall of 1999. Fight Club tells the story of a nameless, malcontent young corporate clone (Edward Norton) who hooks up with a magnetic, near-psychopathic loner and rebel (Brad Pitt) and descends with him into a quasi-fascist nightmare.1 Norton's character, Jack, narrates the movie, and his ironic, slashing commentary sets the tone for the plunge into madness -- which begins when, in a desperate attempt to cure his chronic insomnia, he takes a failed odyssey through a variety of self-help and touchy-feely support groups. Then he meets Pitt's smiling, arrogant Tyler Durden, right before his own apartment is mysteriously blown to smithereens, and moves in with Tyler, in an abandoned house on the dirty "toxic waste" edge of the city. Tyler goads Jack into a knockdown street fistfight.2 Soon the two are fighting regularly and recruiting others for their bloody free-for-alls. Eventually a whole organized army of young urban misfits gathers under Tyler's leadership -- Tyler is the rock 'n roll nihilist king; Jack, his increasingly disturbed right hand man. And the fight clubs blossom into a national covert fascist movement: a secret network that begins to extend the violence out into society, beating up strangers, vandalizing or bombing public buildings. Their agenda: mass chaos and disorder. Above is the main content of this film, which is talking about materialism, represented by Jack, and anti-materialism, represented by Tyler. Well then, what is materialism? Materialism can refer either to the simple preoccupation with the material world, as opposed to intellectual or spiritual concepts, or to the theory that physical matter is all there is. This theory is far more than a simple focus on material possessions. It states that everything in the universe is matter, without any true spiritual or intellectual existence. Materialism can also refer to a doctrine that material success and progress are the highest values in life. This doctrine appears to be prevalent in western society today. As society is developing faster and faster, people are deeper and deeper enthralled by material. Many of them began to ignore family and friends, at the same time, spending big part of their life time on shopping, because they think buying stuff could certainly satisfy themselves. This movie intends to warning people that we must change this condition, or serious problems are about to happen when we are deeply preoccupied with material. We must pay more attention to ourselves’ spiritual condition.

I. The Characters of Jack and Tyler

Jack and Tyler both are the leading characters of this movie. Jack stars as our unnamed narrator, a burned-out drudge for a car manufacturer who investigates fatal mechanical failures. When he isn't traveling from one wreck site to another, he spends time online, furnishing his condo. "What kind of dining set defines me as a person?" he asks himself. But the newcomer who changes his world is Tyler Durden, a snaky guy's guy who manufactures homemade soap and spouts aphorisms such as "It's only after we've lost everything that we're free to do anything." After one of the movie's typically surreal plot twists, Jack moves in with him. Living in a leaky, ramshackle mansion, they're a couple of Peter Pans. Their nicotine-stained Wendy is the sardonic Marla, with whom Tyler begins a gymnastic sexual relationship that almost makes the house collapse, literally.3 Jack and Tyler are the contrariety of two life styles. Before organizing fight club, Jack is the representative of these people who have already been indulged in consumerism, commercialism and rampant materialism - that is having a devastating impact on our families, communities, and the environment. Tyler, by contrast, is the exaggerated masculine ideal that...
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