Fight Club

Topics: Working class, Marxism, Sigmund Freud Pages: 5 (2040 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Ashley Gibson
Prof. Matt Falloon
English 300
14 November, 2011
Fight Club
The book “Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk was about a man whose name was never revealed and his friend Tyler Durden. Tyler believes in destroying the norm of society and taking down “the man.” He does that by creating what he called Fight Club. When you go to Fight Club you sign up to fight another person until one person gives up. After a while Fight Club became more and more recognized and more started to open up. Tyler decided to take Fight Club to a higher level by creating Project Mayhem. He hired what they called in the book “monkeys” to go around town to complete what Tyler called homework assignments, which consisted of going around and causing mayhem. By the end of to book the protagonist realized that Tyler was actually his split personality and the book ends by him trying to kill Tyler. This book in a lot of ways can be related to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory and Marx’s Marxist Criticism.

Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic theories are a huge contribution to psychology today. His theories are referred back to and studied even today. The word psychoanalysis is used to refer to many aspects of Freud’s work and research, including Freudian therapy and the research methodology he used to develop his theories (Cherry). There are four main ideas the he had that relate back to the book “Fight Club” the origins of the unconscious, the defenses, the meaning of death, and the meaning of sexuality. The first one discusses the unconscious which is the psychological history that begins with childhood experiences in the family. According to Lois Tyson “The unconscious is the storehouse of those painful experiences, those wounds, fears, guilty desires, and unresolved conflicts we do not want to know about because we feel we will be overwhelmed by them” (Tyson 15). This relates to the book Fight Club because the protagonist stated that he had family problems growing up with his father abandoning him. The protagonist says “Me, I knew my dad for about six years, but I don’t remember anything. My dad, he starts a new family in a new town about every six years. This isn’t so much like a family as it’s like he sets up a franchise” (Palahniuk 50). This directly relates to Freud’s theory because the protagonist the entire book never discusses his problems with his father. He buries it in his unconscious and rarely talks about it throughout the book. The second idea is what Freud called the defenses, which is our unconscious desire not to recognize the problems we have in our lives. The first defense that is discussed is selective perception, which is hearing and seeing only what we feel we can handle. This relates to the book because throughout the entire book the protagonist believes that Tyler Durden is a separate person. Tyler is the person who does all of the bad things in the book, the protagonist doesn’t wish to see that until the end of the book and that’s when he decides to change things and make them right. The second type of defense is denial, this relates to the book in numerous ways. The first and biggest being the fact that the protagonist was indeed Tyler Durden and that he wasn’t a separate person. In the book the protagonist kept saying that he was asleep that it wasn’t true and that he needed to wake up. The other way the protagonist was in denial was that he loved Marla. For the majority of the book the protagonist talks about how much he hates Marla but then towards the end of the book he finally comes out and says that he’s in love. His denial for his love for Marla is also a fear of intimacy as well due to his childhood issues with his father (Tyson 18). The third idea in Freud’s Psychoanalytic theory is the meaning of death. This one plays a huge role in the book because the entire idea for Tyler Durden to create Fight Club was to do something extraordinary before he and the protagonist died. The protagonist said, “I didn’t want...

Cited: Cherry, Kendra. "Psychoanalytic Theory - The Conscious and Unconscious Mind."Psychology - Complete Guide to Psychology for Students, Educators & Enthusiasts. Web. 14 Dec. 2011. <>.
Felluga, Dino. "Modules on Marx: On Ideology." Introductory Guide to Critical Theory. Purdue U. 14 Nov. 2011 <>.
"Is Tyler Durden a Marxist?" Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.
Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2005. Print.
"Is Tyler Durden a Marxist?" Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <>.
Tyson, Lois. Critical Theory Today: a User-friendly Guide. New York [etc.: Garland, 1999. Print.
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