6 December 2012
“As the Middle Children, We Fight to Leave our Marx”
Karl Marx, the founder of Marxism, believed that in an industrialized society the working class would revolt and take over the ruling class, which would in effect create a classless society, taking everyone back to zero. Marx’s concepts are simple: in order to grasp the true meaning of happiness, people must separate themselves from their materialistic tendencies as well as each in order to refocus on themselves as individuals, much as Tyler Durden displays in the movie Fight Club. Although critically acclaimed by The New York Times to be a “sardonic testosterone-fueled science fiction” (New York Times 1999), the film Fight Club, actually takes it root in many of Karl Marx’s beliefs. Despite the films underlying indications of Tyler Durden’s Marxist ideas, many viewers don’t pick up on the similarities and leave them to go unnoticed. Viewers of the film need to understand that Marxism is the leading internal influence in film Fight Club and that Tyler Durden, is in fact, a Marxist. The sociology of Karl Marx is evidenced through many different aspects including, the two main characters whom are Tyler Durden and the Narrator, as well as the development of Fight Club, and the later development of Project Mayhem. In order to understand how Marxism is intertwined with the film, the two main economic classes Karl Marx came up with, the proletarian and the bourgeoisie, must first be understood. A proletariat is a term used to identify the lower social class, usually the working class, such as Tyler Durden. The bourgeoisie, or bourgeois, is classified as a person belonging to the middle class whose attitudes and behavior are marked by conformity to the standards and conventions of the middle class, such as the Narrator (Marx). Evidence to support both of these classifications are present throughout the movie. The Narrator, as bourgeois as mentioned before, works a nine to five white collar desk job, where each move he makes is dictated by a boss. He then goes home to an apartment filled with junk he doesn’t need where he continues to want more. At one point during the film the Narrator returns from a business trip to find his condo has been destroyed, and grieves the loss of his personal possessions, much like your classic bourgeois would. His “Njurunda coffee tables...Haparanda sofa group with the orange slip covers…Johanneshov armchair…Alle cutlery…Vild hall clock… Klipsk shelving unit” (Palahniuk 43) all fell fifteen flaming stories to their final resting place. Upon further observation the Narrator finally realizes that, “the things you used to own, now they own you” and describes himself as “trapped” (44). Those feelings are much intertwined with Marx’s beliefs. As explained by Peter Singer, Marx believes that “all human senses are degraded by private property. The abolition of private property will liberate our sense from this alienated condition, and enable us to appreciate the world in a truly human way” (Singer 37). At one point during the film Tyler intentionally blows up the Narrators meaningless home up in order to get the Narrator to understand there is more to life then the things we own. That leads me Mr. Tyler Durden who is on the opposite side of the spectrum. Durden right off the bat is the polar opposite of the Narrator. Being a proletariat, Tyler works an array of different jobs enjoying being none other than his own boss. Each low-paying job doesn’t help to aid his dissatisfaction. According to Marx the items produced through labor by the average person run them. In example, the Proletariats are run by the Bourgeoisie because they are in charge of all the means of production. The lives of workers are run by their work. The material objects become their means of identity and occupies a monopoly over their lives. Tyler is ashamed that “we work jobs we hate to buy shit we don’t need” (Palahniuk...