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Fight Club: Analysis Of Novel And Film

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Fight Club: Analysis of Novel and film

Fight Club is a potent, diabolically sharp, and nerve chafing satire that was beautifully written by Chuck Palahniuk and adapted to the silver screen by David Fincher. A story masterfully brought together by mischief, mayhem, and ironically, soap. Fight Club is the definition of a cult classic because the issues dealt within the novel touched so close to home to the generation this novel was intended for, generation X. The novel was written in 1996 and quickly made it to the silver screen in 1999. The novel and film are remarkably similar, but at the same time focus on different themes. The character and plot of both the novel and movie are also very much the same, but in ways different.

Theme is the most important element in Fight Club mainly because there are so many themes taking place in both the movie and novel. Palahniuk chooses to focus more on the male masculinity issues of the characters in the story. The novel reflects on the suffering of the average man, the “generation X” male who feels suffocated and condemned in a world of gray-collared working class, a world controlled by consumerism and materialism. A generation suffering from the Oedipus Complex, men raised by women often devoid of a male role model. After the narrator’s first fight with Tyler Durden, the narrator asks who he was really fighting and Tyler replies, “my father”. This line is very crucial to the underlying theme of Tyler’s masculinity issue, his own Oedipus Complex. Tyler shows a sense of anger towards his father for abandoning his family, and shows even greater implications that men raised by women have been forced to subdue their natural aggressive behavior and become more passive, this being the reason Fight Club is invented, to release the pent up emotions brought on by the generation X lifestyle.

Fincher portrays the male masculinity issue phenomenally in his film, but focuses more on Tyler Durden’s philosophy on life that, “ It’s only after we’ve lost everything, that we’re free to do anything”, only after disaster can something be resurrected. Tyler believes that his generation is “God’s middle children”, casts aside as slaves to the upper class. Tyler begins his own self destruction by establishing Fight Club, throughout the course of the story his motives move from self destruction to complete and utter chaos with his attempt to blow up the Parker Morris building as well as many other credit company buildings to erase the national debt, allowing everyone to start back at zero. Tyler, actually being the narrator’s split personality is the complete opposite of the narrator, he believes materialism has ruined society by turning the average man into slaves of Starbuck’s coffee, clever art, and IKEA catalogues. He no longer respects history because in today’s society it doesn’t matter, he would rather destroy something beautiful just so he can rebuild it.

The character development of the narrator is drastically changed during the transition from paper to film. In Palahniuk’s novel, the narrator begins the story as a self-loathing insomniac who feels lost in the world. Once the narrator meets Tyler however, his whole personality changes almost in the turn of a page. The narrator moves in to the house on Paper Street with Tyler and instantly turns into a clone of him. Tyler influences every decision and aspect of the narrator’s life. The narrator quickly becomes more aware in the novel that he is actually Tyler, instead of trying to track him down in different cities when he finds out Tyler is setting up more fight clubs, he is just trying to investigate what is going on at the new fight clubs.

In Fincher’s adaptation of the novel, the narrator doesn’t make the drastic change as he does in the book. He is more there to balance Tyler Durden out. The narrator becomes friends with Tyler, starts fight club with him, and even abandons some of his old materialistic ways, but still resents the fact his condo was destroyed. He doesn’t actually accept the fact that self destruction of everyone is enlightenment, even though he slowly destroys himself.

Tyler Durden is everything the narrator wants to be in both the book and film. He is the alpha male in the narrator’s eyes, but he is more realistic in the novel than the movie. In the novel, Tyler seems more realistic in the novel than in the film, novel version of Tyler owns his own business, rents his own house and has an outside life the narrator is unaware of, but in the film he seems more a part of the narrator’s mind than an actual person.

Fincher’s version of Fight Club does a remarkable job portraying the visionary story Palahniuk based his career around. Both versions of the story, book and film, have the same basic ideas, characters, and even dialogue, but both also focus the plot around different aspects of the story.

The film version of Fight Club likes to revolve the story around the actually fight club itself. Most of the movie takes place in the basement of bars, with shirtless men brutally destroying each other, cheering, and smashing each other’s faces into to the concrete with a cold, packing thud on every slam. The size of the fight clubs and project Mayhem are also greatly reduced on the screen than it is in the novel. The novel speaks of Tyler building an army, but the movie makes it appear more as small cult than an army.

The novel version focuses little on the actual fighting unlike the movie, and develops more of a story



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