Fight Club

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Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is a seductive novel which chronicles an unnamed narrator’s ability to cope with an emasculated, self-centered, materialistic society by creating an alter ego. Throughout the text, the theme of the emasculated modern man is presented both in the life of the narrator, and in the lives of the male characters he surrounds himself with. Through notions of absent fathers, consumerism and an innocuous/aimless existence, Palahniuk presents how men in modern society have lost their masculine identity and the extreme actions they go to in order to obtain it again.

Belittled by their absent fathers, broken homes, and a feminine-centered society, the men in Fight Club present an incisive notion of the lives of modern men. With no outlet for expression the modern man is, in all aspects of his life, physically emasculated and emotionally castrated. Palahniuk represents the cultural loss of masculine identity in the second chapter of the text. A group of men sit together in a support group, helping one another cope with the emasculation they are destined to face. The support group, “The Remaining Men Together,” is for testicular cancer, meaning the men gathered are literally castrated. The men presented in the group struggle with emotional castration as well. One man, “Big Bob,” is revealed as a former body builder (a rather masculine profession) who abused steroids: trading in his “huevos” for “bitch tits” (Palahniuk 21). Bob has also been divorced three times and is now “bankrupt [with] two grown kids who [will not] return his calls” (22). Big Bob and the rest of the group are emasculated and revert to emotional release, crying and group hugging, as their form of therapy. An emotional release such as crying is...

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...he world free of history” (124) and create a new order where men are prominent. Similar to the experience of fight club, the men in the new order must rely on instinct and strength in order to succeed. Therefore the ability to endure pain is a way to attain power and masculinity.

Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club is the story of the emasculated man living in the postmodern world. With no father to raise him he is left to his own devices. The grown man will ultimately succumb what culture tells him a man is, often relying on materialistic possessions to define his identity. As a result, the postmodern man becomes a slave to the social order and power relations of conventional society. Although he fits in with this society the emasculated man is miserable with his innocuous existence. Fight club, however, is the means in which he can restore his masculine identity.

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