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“Fight Club” a Novel by C. Palahniuk Essay


Fight Club brings into perspective many issues that affect contemporary society. Themes such as consumerism, materialism, fatherliness, capitalism, rebellion, and conformity dominate the setting of the play.

This study focuses on the issue of capitalism that is exhibited through the power struggle in the novel. The narrator highlights the issue of capitalism as the main problem in society. Other elements, such as rebellion, materialism, and consumerism emanate from the struggle to overcome capitalism.

Project Mayhem

Project Mayhem, as highlighted in the novel, is formed with the main aim of bringing down civilization in society. The main character in the novel has the idea of recruiting individuals from different backgrounds who have similar intentions to bring down civilization and fight the forces of the corporate world. Project is used by the members of the club to express the level of dissatisfaction with certain issues in the society (Palahniuk 78).

This is exhibited by the destructive activities carried by the members of the project. In the beginning, the narrator tries to convey the fight as a mischievous behavior of the members. This indicated by the narrator’s quotes such as “I drive better when I’m drunk” (Palahniuk 102).

However, as more people join the club, it graduates into terrorism. The members of the project destroy everything in society from cars to buildings (Palahniuk 79). The project is also portrayed as revenge against capitalism. For instance, the narrator indicates this in his sentence when he says, “I am Joe’s smirking revenge” (Palahniuk 78).


The events and themes in the plot of the novel enable the author to create satire in the story. He uses the characters to create an issue of discontent with the condition of masculinity. The male characters in the novel have been portrayed as individuals who are dissatisfied with their state of masculinity.

The absence of fathers in the lives of the individuals contributed to the condition. This issue creates satire when individuals perceive themselves as a group of men who are heavily influenced by women. Contrary to the expectations of the reader, the characters turn against the very women who have raised them.

Another aspect of satire in the story is exhibited by the activities of the club members. The main objective is to communicate the effects of fatherlessness among male children. However, individuals create satire when they pursue other goals that are completely different from their core business. These activities highlight the disparity between the objectives.

It is even more surprising when the author reveals that the members of the club are fighting each other instead of fighting a common enemy. Confusion among the club members also creates the issue of satire. Most of the individuals who have joined the Mayhem club are people who could not identify the exact problems.

For example, the main character in the story is confused when he decides to chase two different objectives using two different personalities. The narrator does not indicate his name and thereby creating more confusion. For instance, the narrator identifies himself as Joe; “I am Joe’s boiling point,” says the narrator (Palahniuk 91). However, after the character realizes that he could not attain the two goals, he decides to use his ego.

Philosophy of Change

Process philosophy of change, as depicted in the story, is an issue of struggle by the ordinary citizens against the ruling capitalist in the society. The ordinary citizens are struggling to lead a good life in spite of the pressure from the powerful capitalist in society. However, the struggle creates a parallel scene where every individual fight to achieve personal objectives.

Any interaction among the individuals is likely to cause a fight as exhibited in the situation of Tyler and the narrator. The project members are fighting themselves to gain power and dominance in the society that is analogous to the power of the capitalist who controls the corporate world.

Change, as portrayed in the novel, highlights the plight of the proletariats in society and their quest to improve their living standards. The key character, together with other members of the club, represents the ordinary people who struggle to influence change by fighting themselves (Palahniuk 91).

Pros and Cons

Process philosophy of change relies on human conscience to influence social change in society. This approach enables individuals to attain change without submission to the commands or rules. The approach is important for the attainment of personal goals. However, the change process can cause disruptions and conflicts in society. It breaks the social order and interferes with peace and stability (Yamada 12).

For example, as depicted in the novel, the members of the project Mayhem not only caused problems among themselves but also affected innocent civilians in the society. Process change philosophy only affects the substance or content of the materials involved, not the state of affairs. The members of the ‘fight club’ use the project to destroy themselves and other items in their surroundings.

However, the individuals did not attain positive results that could enable them to change the state of affairs in society (Hardy 19). In this regard, the author is trying to argue for change based on the agreement between conscience and commands in society. The interaction ensures obedience, which is important in influencing change (Palahniuk 96).


Process philosophy of change can be compared to other change concepts that have a significant influence on society. Good examples for this comparison are exhibited in the ‘perils of obedience’ story. The concepts in the two stories embrace the fact that change is an invertible element in society.

However, the point of disparity emanates from the approach given by the two novels. Perils of obedience highlight the role of submission in influencing change. In this case, obedience is portrayed as an element that supports peaceful coexistence in society. The coexistence and discipline among people are crucial for the attainment of change (Milgram 32).

Demands of the rules and regulations in the society tend to foster a conservative system where every individual must ensure adherence to the requirements of law. Unlike the earlier model of change that focuses on the content of the elements of change, the concepts in the peril of obedience focus on the state of affairs. In this case, change can be achieved if the commands, rules, and regulations are modified (Milgram 28).

Freud’s Concepts

Tyler, as the key character and the narrator of the story, portrays different dimensions of identity, which can be described using different concepts. For instance, the character conveys his Id personality when he falls in love with Marla.

Marla expressed her love to the narrator when she uttered the following words “I love you, Jones” (Palahniuk 78). In this case, the character was driven by the need to attain romantic pleasure. The Id concept is used to describe the element of personality that cannot be separated from the individual. Such elements are hereditary (Freud, 152).

Ego concept is exhibited by the character when he accepts the reality of his human behavior. The character manages to override the forces of masculinity and can fall in love with Marla. Ego allows the character to interact with his lover towards the end of the story where Tyler manages to express her love to Marla (Freud 149).

The ability of the key character to organize the members of the club and make appropriate judgments portrayed his superego. Tyler has a higher level of charisma compared to other members of the club (Hardy 19). He has authority over his followers and makes an appropriate decision regarding the activities of his organization. Tyler’s initiative to recruit and lead individuals into the fight club also portrays him as a proud individual.

Alter-Ego is one of the concepts that are widely evident in the story. The narrator exhibits this concept when he assumes two different personalities. Each personality has different objectives in the plot of the story.

For example, Tyler as a character is, again receive an individual who exerts change through forceful means. Alter-Ego is manifested when an individual assumes two different responsibilities that have different goals and objectives (Freud 147).


From the themes and setting of the novel, it is evident that change is an important element in society. However, the ability to attain change depends on the philosophy of change that is adopted by the members of the society to acquire change. Rebellion against the institutions of change, which have been created through capitalism, may bring the desired change. It is, therefore, important to adopt an appropriate philosophy of change.

Works Cited

Freud, Sigmund. “Neurosis and Psychosis: The standard edition of the complete psychological works of Sigmund Freud”. The Ego and the Id and Other Works 26.2 (1923): 147-154. Print.

Milgram, Stanley. “The Perils of Obedience”. Harper’s Magazine 20 August. 1973: 67. Print.

Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight club, New York: Norton & Company, 2007. Print.

Thomas, Hardy. “The Man He Killed”. Allpoetry. 45.3 (1902): 6-20. Web.

Yamada, Mitsuye. “To the lady”. Brentmblackwell. 34.1 (1976): 4-17. Web.

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""Fight Club" a Novel by C. Palahniuk." IvyPanda, 18 Mar. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/literature-studies-fight-club-a-novel-by-c-palahniuk/.

1. IvyPanda. ""Fight Club" a Novel by C. Palahniuk." March 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literature-studies-fight-club-a-novel-by-c-palahniuk/.


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IvyPanda. 2020. ""Fight Club" a Novel by C. Palahniuk." March 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/literature-studies-fight-club-a-novel-by-c-palahniuk/.


IvyPanda. (2020) '"Fight Club" a Novel by C. Palahniuk'. 18 March.

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