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Chuck Palahniuk: The Literary Art of Being Inappropriate Essay

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Chuck Palahniuk, born 1962 into a seemingly functional lifestyle, has made a name in the literary world over the last decade by magnifying the many facets of the human habits of dysfunction. After his first published novel, Fight Club, made waves in 1999, Palahniuk went on to take the fiction world by storm with novels such as Diary, Lullaby, Invisible Monsters, and several others, solidifying a reputation “as a skilled writer who continues to keep his readers uncomfortable” (“Chuck Palahniuk”). The author has also published two nonfiction works, but it is his fiction’s raw cynicism and his inability to be assigned to a genre that has made Palahniuk the success he is today. By many accounts, he struggled to find a path throughout his young life, holding jobs as everything from a dish washer to a movie projectionist, before finding success and sanity in the process of writing professionally (“Chuck Palahniuk”). Palahniuk’s ability to combine the intellectual and political with the disgusting, graphic, and degrading is what sets his writing apart from other satirists of the current literary scene. For example, in Haunted he uses a reality show gone wrong to create a picture of the shallow human condition. Similarly, in Invisible Monsters the reader follows the story of a former model, Shannon McFarland, who is missing the lower half of her face and a beautiful male-to-female transvestite, Brandy Alexander, as they make their way across the country to confront Shannon’s former best friend. Invisible Monsters was Palahniuk’s fictional depiction of the nonfiction world of the fashion industry and the impact it has on self image (“Chuck Palahniuk”). In this essay, I will be discussing Palahniuk’s least satirical fiction work, Lull...


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... Philip Jones Why It's Important for Fiction to Be Uncomfortable." The Bookseller Mar (2007): 27. Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Mar. 2011.

Kaplan, Michael. "Chuck Palahniuk: The Author of Fight Club Gives Horror Fiction a Try -- After Putting His Own Demons to Rest." Book Sept-Oct (2002): 13. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Apr. 2011.

"Lullaby. (Fiction)." Publishers Weekly July (2002). Literature Resource Center. Web. 16 Mar. 2011.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Lullaby. New York: Anchor, 2003. Print.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Stranger Than Fiction: True Stories. New York: Anchor, 2004. 207-08. wEB.

Zackheim, Ben. "Chuck Palahniuk Biography." Encyclopedia of World Biography. Web. 20 Apr. 2011.

Zeigler, Robert. "Having the Last Word: Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby." Notes on Contemporary Literature Sept (2002). Literature Resource Center. Web. 15 Mar. 2011.


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