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Review Of "Fight Club"

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Sarah Hoyt

CSS 1304

May 3, 2006

Research Assignment

Option #2 - Review of "Fight Club"

The movie Fight Club, directed by David Fincher, uses various principal strategies to make particular arguments. In our society today, men are associated with brutality, rationality, dirtiness, little emotion, and being the 'providers'. On the other hand, women are correlated with elegance, beauty, cleanliness, compassion, and being the 'receivers'. Fight Club argues against this cultural standard. The setting of the movie is that of a consumer-driven atmosphere, where everyone is a receiver, and where men take on more feministic roles.

In the movie, Tyler Durden, the main character, speaks of the world in terms of modernism. He explains how we are products of a lifestyle obsession, where issues such as murder, crime, and poverty are of no matter. His central concerns merely involve celebrities, television, and "underwear" designer labels. Fight Club seems to argue that the "consumer" civilization men live in today truly destroys men's independence and individualism. This argument is made in the course of a fundamental argumentative strategy used in some specific scenes in the movie. For instance, the main character (who is "Tyler" but the audience is unaware of his actual identity yet) looks through a catalog and asks himself what kind of plates define him as a person, as in what makes having these material objects so great. Fight Club argues that society today certainly appears to manipulate the perspectives of men and the values they hold for themselves and for the world around them.

I believe the film does an excellent job of illustrating how individual attributes have been substituted for mere symbols by arguing that contemporary men cannot amount to anything unless they possess precise material things - that men no longer even own products, but that their products own them! Since buying things create identities and characteristics, the movie argues that one has to be a consumer or he will be nameless and unspecified. I think Fight Club correctly depicts how consumerism is taking over lives today.

In one scene, the character that Brat Pitt plays states that "we are a society of men raised by women," which shows the world that modern men are constrained to live in. The argument is not only based upon this consumer-driven environment, but also upon how female standards are overall perceived. This is evident throughout the scenes of the support-group meetings, where men are taught to gain strength and bravery not from themselves, but from one another. At the end of the meetings, the men cry and give each other hugs. These scenes seem to argue that today's society does not want, or even allow, men to operate, behave, and grow on their own - that our society wants to essentially rob them of the essence of what it means to be a man. This breaking-down of the male species through feminine ways is conveyed in these scenes.

Specifically, in the testicular cancer support-group, the men have forever lost their testicles, which is their sense of manliness. These characters in this group demonstrate all men in society today. In a way, the movie seems to use this aspect to argue that humanity has stolen the main underlying feature of what it means to be a man, and now all of these men are acting like women. Brat Pitt's character states a quote that I believe best argues how some men will not stand for being controlled by this consumer, materialistic society. "You are not how much money you have in the bank.. You are not the car you drive or the contents of your wallet... you are not your khakis... you are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world," Pitt says in the movie.

Fight Club continues to make another argument by portraying women through the rather unattractive character of Marla Singer. Marla is generally viewed as repulsive to men. She is illustrated as being on the same level, if not more powerful, as the men in the movie. Marla actually plays the only female role in the whole film. She is shown as equal to males, because it conveys men living in a world that weakens acting masculine. I think the movie comes off to the audience as being incredibly complex and confusing, but after reflecting on it, the primary argument and strategies used are quite simple - men are in this constant struggle to be manly, which only hurts them a great deal.

In relation to the arguments I have just explained, Fight Club also argues that everyone's life is short of uniqueness and exclusivity, due to the fact that we are persistently being advised by "society" that we are unique and exclusive depending on our amount of material possessions. The movie attempts to show the audience these hidden cultural patterns which reveal that we are not free or liberated in any way, because we have no choice to even make this decision. This leads to another primary argument that the movie makes - we can see the choices, but the outcomes are concluded based on this higher control to attain endless quantities of money and approval.

Fight Club's narrative approach holds some obvious fallacies and logical failures. The fallacies of hasty generalization, hyperbole, non sequiter, and ad ignorantium are so prevalent throughout the different scenes. The movie shows how we assume we will gain society's acceptance by all of the wrong reasons, which appeals



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