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Analysis of Fight Club

Essay by   •  October 25, 2018  •  Book/Movie Report  •  5,393 Words (22 Pages)  •  152 Views

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Analysis of Fight Club

In this essay, I will critically analyse a film to identify the genre codes and conventions and understand the signs showed to gain further perception into the narrative of the film. The film that has been commissioned to write an article for is Fight Club. [pic 1]

Fight Club is classified as a drama due to its real-life characters as it is best described as a description of life. Additional conventions that classify it as a drama are a character’s journey of self-understanding, in Fight Club, it’s the Narrator’s understanding of his mental weakness, coming to terms with this anomaly and overcoming it. But, like many dramatic films before it, Fight Club changes these conventions, for instance, in many dramas the protagonist is aided by a lover or a close friend in overcoming their issues whereas in Fight Club the Narrator alienates the people around him. Battling his demons by himself, I believe this has been done to demonstrate to the audience how in reality we are rarely given any assistance and frequently need to make our own way and fight our own battles. This is a theme that has been played many times in movies, but Fight Club throws the message at us instead of presenting it to us nicely. Then again, this film as well follows many of its genre conventions, for example, the narrator does eventually find the happy ending that he’s searching for. He beats his evil and finds the woman that he wants to be with, I feel like this was done because it fits with the director's style of films, dramas with a twist, but doesn’t want to push it out too far to alienate the viewers that like the happy ending.

Content analysis-

This is a method used for describing written, verbal or visual messages. It offers quantitative information. Many content analyses involve media – print, TV, cinema and the web. Anything that can be noted and studied is suitable for this. Content analysis is as well used to investigate new material noted by the researchers, and to categorise open-ended replies to interview or survey questions. Fight Club is about a depressed man who is suffering from insomnia meets a strange soap salesman called Tyler Durden and soon finds himself living in his squalid house after his condo was destroyed. The two men created a secretive club with straight forwards rules and fight other members who are a part and unhappy with the typical life. Their perfect partnership frays when Marla, a fellow support group crasher, attracts Tyler’s attention.

Semiotics-

This is the study of signs and symbols as elements of communicative behaviour; the analysis of systems of communication, as language, gestures, or clothing. For example, in one of the scenes we see the American flag, as a first order, is just a rectangle containing red and white stripes, a blue background with white stars. The contents of the flag are subjectively assigned to indicate the American nation. These colours and shapes represent the American flag. The concept of America cannot be separated from this arrangement of shapes and colours. When the first order sign becomes the second order sign, in theory, the flag comes to signify freedom, this is what American stands for. The image of the flag, is like the idea of freedom, because of its uncertainty, it has diverse connotations counting on the context. The American flag used in Fight Club represents the differing interpretations of freedom.

[pic 2]

Structuralism-

This is a method of interpreting and analysing things such as language, literature, and society, which focuses on contrasting ideas or elements of structure and attempts to show how they relate to the whole structure. At the beginning where Tyler has a gun to the Narrator's mouth, the structure of this scene is somewhat odd. It is the type of movie where you get totally lost in the beginning, but as you keep on watching, things start to clear out and make sense. However, the structure of this film is not like the typical movie we see every day nowadays. With this film having a twisted ending, the movie starts with the ending, then it cuts to the beginning and proceeds to rising action, climax and back to the solution again. This makes the audience totally lost at the beginning, but as they follow the storyline from the beginning where the story currently is, then the audience will slowly be able to grasp what's going on and unravel the confusion of the film. This is one of the aspects that make this such a great film. A sophisticated structure.[pic 3]

Themes:

Emasculation-

Emasculation is shown in Fight Club as it shows the argument that men in society today have been diminished to a generation of men that do nothing for themselves but have become numb with watching others get things done. Masculinity becomes a brand and intends to sell the product to men. "Being a man" at that point moves towards owning a watch or a car as an alternative to knowing the person you are and what your standards are. So, the Narrator and the members of Fight Club cast-off the spoon-fed method of living and trying to find themselves. By going through the experience of fighting and having to face their pain and fear, in hope to strip away the unnecessary parts of their lives and discover their true self. The threat of emasculation exists all through the film, one is where the Narrator meets Bob at a support group for men who have testicular cancer. The Narrator also feels threatened by the threat of emasculation for trying to close Fight Club. The loss of manhood is the worst possible thing that these men can experience, mostly because they feel they have just started to appreciate their manhood from Fight Club and Project Mayhem. [pic 4]

The threat of death-

This is shown in Fight Club as Tyler stresses the importance of being fully conscious of the fact that one’s life will ultimately end. He makes use of the “human sacrifice” to shock ignorant “victims” into thinking that their lives are passing them. By bringing them face to face with the options of their deaths and so are pushed to improve their lives.  Tyler uses the Narrators pain and fear while forcefully giving him a chemical burn. “Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing.”, “You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you; never wanted you. In all probability he hates you. We don’t need him!” and “Fuck damnation! Fuck redemption!”. He forces him to believe that nothing in the world has a real existence. He uses his suffering and fear and the idea that the suffering could be stopped if he understands this belief, this is an example of nihilism. We can see the result of nihilism in Fight Club as Tyler dishonours the lie of additional understandings of the world. He exists in a society where everyone values what they should be. They are scared to be what they want to be and to follow their boring routines. Tyler gives people a place called Fight Club where they learn to defend themselves and gain confidence. “This is the greatest moment of your life and you’re off somewhere missing it”, this is another critique of a way that the whole society is almost lifeless. During the chemical burn scene, Tyler frequently pushes him to focus and embrace the pain. Tyler says to the narrator that “without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing”. In a society where advertisements thoroughly program our minds to always follow the achievement of material items in order to progress, sacrifice includes giving up belongings and giving up the desire to emulate that future self. Tyler also says, “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything”. Society prevents individuality and self-control over the thought and awareness unless one frees oneself from it. Like this, Tyler yells at the Narrator that the pain he is experiencing “is a premature enlightenment” because it lets him to separate himself from the culture of consumerism and gain a new-found freedom.[pic 5]

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