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Fight Club Essay Sample

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“You met me at a strange time in my life.” These are the closing words to David Fincher’s ​

Released in 1999 by Fox Studios, it stars Edward Norton, Brad Pitt, and Helena Bonham Carter. The film is a contemporary art piece that speaks the language of the modern emasculated­macho man. It contains considerable amounts of violence that some would call gratuitous or senseless, but is in fact an attempt to speak metaphorically towards a deeper meaning. ​

Fight Club​, like all art, is a reflection of our culture. It attempts to speak to us about the state of our society by telling the tale of an individual’s development from “boyhood” to “manhood.” The story is a wild ride through the psychological turmoil that is necessary for the development of masculinity in modern culture. Although a generalized interpretation of the film could yield a perception of sexism, machismo, and ignorant violence, a more patient ​ examination leads to a deeper realization of the film’s powerful meaning. This paper will discuss how ​Fight Club​, when properly examined, is less of a meditation  on violence and sexism than it is an exploration of the journey a man goes through to discover his true identity. Using metaphorical themes, unorthodox storytelling, and creative mise­en­scene, ​

Fight Club​ delivers a cryptic thesis on self discovery for the modern, “civilized” man.  David Fincher, the director, says this about ​Fight Club​, “It’s a film about the problems or requirements of being masculine in today’s society,” (Moses). The film has the relatively simple plot outline of showing how Jack (the “nameless narrator” played by Edward Norton) becomes Tyler Durden (played by Brad Pitt). It is important to understand this complex journey in at least a simple way in order to deconstruct the implications of the film.

At first, Jack is a nameless, “everyman” consumer. He works for a corporation and fills his home with name­brand furniture. Later on in the film, it is revealed that Jack’s parents split up when he was six years old. Psychologically, this could be extrapolated to mean that Jack has never moved beyond the emotional capacity of a six­year­old. We see evidence of this in Jack’s relationship isolation, uninteresting line of work, nihilistic views on life, and his chronic insomnia. Using semiotics, we can interpret Jack’s insomnia as his inability to cope with this plastic life he has developed in our unsympathetic society. “I was almost complete,” Jack says of his life at that point, but it is clear that he is distant from his humanity or any form of “completion.” Jack asks his doctor for sleeping drugs, but he instead directs him to a men’s therapy group to “see real pain.” In keeping with the themes of the film, the group is for men with testicular cancer, or men who have “lost their balls.”

Perhaps Jack metaphorically belongs to this group, but the members believe he, too, suffers from their physical condition. During a one­on­one therapy session, Jack has a revelation: “Something happened. I let go. Lost in oblivion, dark, and silent, and complete­I found freedom. Losing all hope was freedom.” This marks a turning point for Jack. He leaves his state of “infancy” and becomes slightly more mature. He finds a way to emotionally reconnect with himself, even if his presence in the place he finds it is false. He begins a tour of other therapy groups, continuing to pose as a victim of each. It is during this time that he first encounters his significant other, Marla Singer (played by Helena Bonham Carter). Marla also falsely tours the groups, and the reflection of self that Jack sees in her makes him uncomfortable. It is important to note that Jack is most likely in a state of “young boyhood” here, and this is a time when males typically reject young girls entirely because they are afraid to be with them. Jack confronts Marla about her falsehood, and she points out his; they immediately have something in common.

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