Pschoanalytical Theory of Fight Club

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In “Fight Club” to have a better appreciation for the movies ending you need to have a better understanding of the events that happen throughout the movie and how they relate to psychoanalytic theory. In the film you can see the struggle between the id and superego of the protagonist. The protagonist shows many classic characteristics of psychoanalytic theory and its basis for core issues, and defenses for the unconscious such as, motive, selective memory, repression, fear of intimacy, as well as others that that have a hand in this struggle that happens between the id and superego. In exploring these specific events throughout the film one can have a better understanding of psychoanalytic theory and how one can better understand the protagonist struggles with core issues and the defenses his psyche created to protect him.

In the first part of the movie, you see the protagonist living the American dream working a 9-5 job making good money, which allows him to buy many things, and he is living life completely by cultural norms and taboos. Although his life seems to be going well the protagonist is not happy, and to add to his frustration he cannot sleep. In the movie he hadn’t slept for 6 months (Fincher). I think that by him not being happy with his life, is represented by him not being able to sleep. The reason why it seems that he’s not happy is because he is his superego at this point, which is suppressing his id completely. The protagonist is not satisfied with his life or with what he does, but at the same time he doesn’t try to change it either; I don’t know if it’s because he doesn’t know how or just because he doesn’t want to. But he finds support groups; these support groups give the protagonist a motive. Sarnoff describes motives as “an internally operative, tension-producing stimulus which provokes the individual to act in such a way as to reduce the tension generated by it and which is capable of being consciously experienced”(Sarnoff, 252). So by him going to these support groups he found that freedom he was searching for. In the movie the protagonist even says “losing all hope is freedom”(Fincher). His motive being that he wanted to sleep and by going to the groups and letting go, this helped him relieve some of the tension that he had built up inside. For a while everything was going fine for the protagonist, the support groups allowed for the motive to subdue enough internal tension so that he could sleep. That is of course until Marla Singer began showing up to all the same support groups as him. When this happened he could no longer cry which in turn leads to his motive not being able to relieve the tension that enabled him to sleep. I think that because of this, his unconscious is forced to take more drastic actions. This is when we are introduced to Tyler the protagonists’ id, as well as the protagonists core issues. I consider that a major reason for the protagonists’ unconscious to create an alter ego; had a lot to do with his insomnia. As Holland expresses “We have to relieve ourselves of our fantasies in a made-up world because they are resolutely barred from the real world”(Erlich,766). So because our protagonist could not sleep, he could not dream either. This could explain why he had so much tension building up inside of him; his unconscious had no outlet to express itself or its fantasies. When his unconscious couldn’t express any type of fantasy whether through a dream, or in real life it basically had no choice but to create an alter ego. What I feel also contributed to the protagonists’ problem was he did not allow himself to act any way outside of the norm which did not help the situation. After Tyler is introduced is when the protagonist begins to lose himself. The protagonist has a very insecure or unstable sense of self the text book defines this as “the inability to sustain a feeling of personal identity, to sustain a sense of knowing ourselves. This core issue makes us very...
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