Palahniuk, Fight Club

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
Beginning as a short story in a 1995 compilation book, Chuck Palahniuk soon decided to expand the story into a full length novel with the sole purpose of disturbing a publisher over a past rejection.

Reaching full publication in 1996, Fight Club received excellent reviews and has been classified as a modern satirical take on everything from nihilism, the loss of masculinity, a cry for our father's attention, and even the Oedipal Complex.

Are any of these interpretations correct? Is there another way to look at the story? Or was Chuck Palahniuk, a known member of the Cacophony Society (a real world, and less aggressive version of Project Mayhem), simply pulling a fast one on us?
 
Feb 2008
6,041
trapped inside a hominid skull
I cannot comment on the book as i have not read it. However, I can comment on the movie.
It has to be my favorite movie of all time!
My take on it is that we have lost touch with reality and have become inauthentic. For example the dying woman ( Cloe) at the group that says she simply wants to get laid for the last time is quietly ( and politely ) shut up. We have been trained to ignore human feelings and our basic nature and concentrate on a Madison Avenue image of what we should be. Anything that is genuine is replaced by mass marketed paradigms. Symbols have replaced reality. *
Fighting ( in the context of the movie) represents direct contact with reality. It ( as the movie says) is not about winning or losing.
--------
"It was those defensive battles in Russia which I shall always remember for the sheer beauty of the fighting, rather than the victorious advances. Many of us died horribly, some even as cowards, but for those who lived, even for a short period out there, it was well worth all the dreadful suffering and danger. After a time we reached a point where we were not concerned for ourselves or even for Germany, but lived entirely for the next clash, the next engagement with the enemy. There was a tremendous sense of 'being', an exhilarating feeling that every nerve in the body was alive to the fight."
http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:fVfsJvnrTyoJ:www.feldgrau.net/forum/viewtopic.php%3Ff%3D26%26t%3D21503+ss+quote+alive+%22engagement+with+the+enemy%22&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&source=www.google.com
"The warlike scene was fascinatingly grand beyond description. The battlefield presented a scenic view that the loftiest thought of my mind is far too low and insignificant to delineate."
Corporal George M. Neese
Stuart's horse artillery, on the battle of Brandy Station. U.S. Civil War

*
I also liked the theme of human domestication. Just as animals were domesticated , we were also and not exclusively for our own benefit!
 
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tjadams

Ad Honoris
Mar 2009
25,362
Texas
Forgive me for taking an exit on your book thrread Okamido, but I never read the book
and thought the movie was the worst movie I've ever seen in my life.
I've never walked out of a theater before, but my knees bucked on this one more
than once. That's all I have to say.
 
Feb 2008
6,041
trapped inside a hominid skull
I'd have to disagree. There were many great lines in that film. For example, when he joins the tuberculous group and talks with his future girl friend. She asks, "why did you join the group." He replies," because when people think you are dying they really listen to you." She replies," They are usually just waiting for their turn to speak."
I found the movie to be one of the very few popular films that actually explored philosophy. Or at least it explored ( Nietzscheian and perhaps other) themes with an emphasis on portraying them dramatically rather than intellectually.
Tho I will admit that the last 1/5 of the movie could have been edited.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
We have been trained to ignore human feelings
This one piece may actually be valid in the context of how this story came to be. Palahniuk stated that portions of the idea arose from when he had an accident camping. Returning to work covered in bruises and bandages, noe of his coworkers even questioned him as to what happened.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
Forgive me for taking an exit on your book thrread Okamido, but I never read the book
and thought the movie was the worst movie I've ever seen in my life.
I've never walked out of a theater before, but my knees bucked on this one more
than once. That's all I have to say.
Even Roger Ebert thought that it was some form of violent pornography...at first. He later reevaluated his stance as the underlying themes started to soak up in his mind.
 

NewModelSoldier

Ad Honorem
Oct 2009
5,021
Vancouver
I think the story is one that really resonated with my generation (I feel old and weird about saying that) in the sense that everyone I know in my age bracket has seen it and loved it. Most guys just like it because they think its really just about fighting, and a number of them started their own fight clubs with mixed results.

It's base, but embraces it so it avoids becoming cheap and vulgar and instead becomes a commentary on human nature and showing off that animal side. It's pretty nihilistic, which can turn a lot of people off, but I think in an era of self-help books and endless shows with endless guests weeping about how they miss their childhood toys, it's hyper-masculine and nihilism comes off as something appealing.

I think it is one of the most important pieces of this era, whatever this era might be.
 

okamido

Forum Staff
Jun 2009
29,885
land of Califia
Two lines from the book come to mind:

“If you're male and you're Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And if you never know your father, if your father bails out or dies or is never at home, what do you believe about God?”


&

"...How Tyler saw it was that getting God's attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God's hate is better than His indifference."

What is Palahniuk trying to say?
 
Aug 2010
17,765
Central Macedonia
The movie is definitely one of the most influential and intelligent films ever... I truly enjoyed it. I have not read the book though....