The Effects of Postmodernity on Masculinity Essays

The Effects of Postmodernity on Masculinity Essays

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Over time, the United States has experienced dramatic social and cultural changes. As the culture of the United States has transformed, so have the members of the American society. Film, as with all other forms of cultural expression, oftentimes reflects and provides commentary on the society in which it is produced. David Fincher’s 1999 film Fight Club examines the effects of postmodernity on masculinity. To examine and explicate these effects, the film presents an unnamed narrator, an everyman, whose alter-ego—in the dissociative sense—is Tyler Durden. Durden represents the narrators—thus every man’s—deep-seated desire to break free from the mind-numbing, emasculating world that is postmodern, post-industrial America.
Throughout time, literature—including films which are culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant—has reflected the cultural psyche of a particular society in the sense that it brings attention to and defines conditions which exist within a particular society. Fight Club is a postmodern drama that examines the impact of a post-industrial society (within this paper, the terms “postmodern” and “post-industrial” are used interchangeably and assume the same meaning) on masculinity within American culture. Postmodernity, according to David Macey’s Dictionary of Critical Theory (307-309), began with the period of accelerated growth that immediately followed World War II, and the era is characterized by increased growth in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Thus, as Macey paraphrases economist Ernest Belgian, “…in the postwar period, market capitalism…[has] been superseded by a third technological revolution that gives rise to an era of…late capitalism;” that is, the technologi...


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Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. 1999. Amazon Instant Video, 2013. Web. 12 April 2014.
Iocco, Melissa. "Addicted To Affliction: Masculinity and Perversity In Crash and Fight Club." Gothic Studies 9.2 (2007): 46-56. Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 16 April 2014.
Lee, Terry. "Virtual Violence in Fight Club: This is What Transformation of Masculine Ego Feels Like." Journal Of American & Comparative Cultures 25.3/4 (2002): 418-423. Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
Macey, David. “Postmodernity.” The Penguin Dictionary of Critical Theory. London: Penguin Books, 2001. 307-309. Print.
Ta, Lynn M. "Hurt So Good: Fight Club, Masculine Violence, and the Crisis of Capitalism." Journal Of American Culture 29.3 (2006): 265-277. Humanities Full Text (H.W. Wilson). Web. 14 April 2014.

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