Fight Club and Our Consumer Identity Essay

Fight Club and Our Consumer Identity Essay

Length: 1419 words (4.1 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

Fight Club and Our Consumer Identity

The narrator in the film Fight Club is questioned about his devastated condo and declares, "That condo was my life, okay? I loved every stick of furniture in that place. That was not just a bunch of stuff that got destroyed, that was me!" This attitude of defining self-identity through a consumer culture has become institutionalized in the American society. The film Fight Club addresses the excessive consumerism as a sign of emotional emptiness and as a form of self-distinction. While the title suggests that it is just another cliché action movie, it is not so shallow or narrowly focused. It instead provides the viewer with a provocative view on American society and it raises valid questions about the values embraced by that society. As the film American Beauty dubbed, "...look closer."

The film begins with a nameless narrator (Edward Norton), a corporate pencil-pusher who suffers from insomnia. A doctor tells Norton to quit complaining and stop by a support group for prostate cancer victims. He begins to attend this and other support groups, which helps Norton regain his ability to sleep and act as an outlet to release his emotions through crying. However, when Marla Singer (Helen Bonhem-Carter), another "faker," begins attending his support groups purely for the entertainment value, Norton once again cannot sleep. This is the least of his cares because when he comes back from a business trip he finds that his condo has exploded. Fortunately, on his flight home he had met the charismatic Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt), who sells soap and has a very unconventional view of life. Tyler offers his "dilapidated house in a toxic waste part of town" to the narrator and he takes a room...

... middle of paper ...

... Man Alive" contest.

So should we all give up all our material possessions and join an urban terrorism cult? Of course not. Nor am I suggesting that either Tyler or Jack are role models that should be emulated. However, it does seem that some Americans care more about their riches defining their identity than life defining it. Tyler’s message opens the door to a variety of questions surrounding what defines you as a person. Is it defined by your Nike shirt and VW Jetta? Or is it your personality, relationships, and experiences? Do you find someone attractive purely for his or her looks and Porsche? Or do you love someone because they’re kind, have a great smile, and are insanely funny? Through the media and advertisement we are fed the consumer identity. Fight Club just shows another way of looking at self-identity that is aside from the mainstream.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Essay Criticisms of Consumerism and Materialism in Fight Club

- “Do you know what a duvet is. It's a blanket. Just a blanket. Is this essential to our survival. No. We're consumers. We're by-products of a lifestyle obsession. Murder, crime, poverty...these things don't concern me. What concerns me is celebrity magazines, television with five hundred channels, some guy's name on my underwear”(29 min.) We are a generation comprised of invidious and conspicuous consumers, desperately trying to meet society’s consumerist criteria; seeking the false promise of the American dream....   [tags: fight club, consumerism, materialism]

Powerful Essays
1120 words (3.2 pages)

Criticisms of Consumerism and Materialism in Fight Club (1999) Essay

- “You’re not your job. You’re not how much money you have in the bank. You’re not the car you drive. You’re not the contents of your wallet. You’re not your fucking khakis. You are the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.” This is the underlying message in Fincher’s Fight Club (1999), which satirically analyzes and critiques consumerism. The films characters vividly depict society’s immersion in materialism and presents viewers with the harsh reality regarding the irrelevance of material possessions....   [tags: satire, consumerism, Fight Club]

Powerful Essays
886 words (2.5 pages)

Analysis of “Fight Club” Essay

- Analysis of “Fight Club” For years David Fincher has directed some of the most stylish and creative thrillers in American movies. His works include: Aliens 3, Seven, The Game and Fight Club. Each of these films has been not only pleasing and fun to watch but each has commented on society, making the viewers think outside the normal and analyze their world. Fight Club is no exception, it is a multi-layered film with many subplots and themes, but primarily it is a surrealistic description of the status of the American male at the end of the 20th century....   [tags: Fight Club Movie Film Essays]

Powerful Essays
1225 words (3.5 pages)

Essay on Doubles in Fight Club and Cofer's The Other

- Doubles in Fight Club and Cofer's The Other        In the current age of technology and capitalism, many people get caught up in trying to define their individuality with mass produced goods.  In David Fincher's movie Fight Club, the narrator, who is commonly referred to as Jack, invents an alter ego to serve as a source of substance in the hallow world of corporate America. This alter ego, named Tyler Durden, is portrayed as a completely psychologically and physically separate being throughout the movie.  The inherent polarity in personality between these two personas proves to be a crucial point of interaction between the two characters, and is the basis for most of the action...   [tags: Fight Other]

Powerful Essays
1292 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on The Effects of Modernity on Identity in Fight Club

- The Effects of Modernity on Identity in Fight Club Identity is a definition of the self, an explanation of character. However, in the movie Fight Club, the components that comprise outward identity often prove to be transitory. Edward Norton’s “Jack” character asks, “If you wake up at a different time, in a different place, could you wake up as a different person?” The effects of modernity lead to the impermanence of self image, and the decay of identity. Rather than having a true identity, “Jack” is called a “byproduct of a lifestyle obsession.” He bases personal worth upon what he owns....   [tags: essays research papers]

Powerful Essays
1408 words (4 pages)

Masculinity in "Fight Club" Essay

- Others often use masculinity, most often associated with strength, confidence and self-sufficiency to define a man’s identity. The narrator perceives Tyler Durden as a fearless young man who is independent and living life by his own rules. So is Tyler Durden masculine because of his no nonsense attitude or are his law breaking antics and unusual lifestyle seen as a failure because he is a man with neither family, money nor a well respected job. These typical aspirations are commonly defined as the male American dream, but does following life by the rulebook placed on males by society really make a male masculine....   [tags: Cinematic Themes]

Powerful Essays
2237 words (6.4 pages)

Fight Club Essay

- 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....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Chuck Palahniuk]

Powerful Essays
1428 words (4.1 pages)

Analysis of the Themes in Fight Club Essays

- Analysis of the Themes in Fight Club It is easy to understand how and why many who view Fight Club (Fincher, 1999) would argue that is in essence a critique of post modern consumer culture within America or indeed the western world. After all we are faced with Character(s) Jack (Edward Norton) who seems to gain no cultural sustenance from the world in which he inhabits. More over it seems to do him harm in the form of insomnia. This coupled with his obsession with Ikea and material goods leads to the creation of Tyler (Brad Pit)....   [tags: Papers]

Powerful Essays
2285 words (6.5 pages)

Fight Club Essay

- Hey Dave How about relating them to fight club by talking about the underside to consumerism e.g. there's consumption but then there's waste. Here's some suggestions:- * Commodities - judge yourself on what you own not who you are - the ikea thing as the space he inhabits and his identity is owned by the catalogue * Waste - 1) the fat they steal from that medical place 2) Tyler peeing in soup (can't remember whether that's book or film) Therefore, with consumer culture there's this constant cycle of consumption and waste....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
428 words (1.2 pages)

Fight Club Essay

- The movie Fight Club made a great achievement in the film industry, and significantly depicted the social system of the late 20th century. According to most of the reviewers, the success of the film lies behind the fact that almost every American man over 25-years of age is going to inevitably see some of himself in the movie: the frustration, the confusion, the anger at living in a culture where the old rules have broken down and one makes his way with so many fewer cultural cues and guideposts....   [tags: essays research papers]

Free Essays
1385 words (4 pages)