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barnaby jones

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Truth about Fight Club

I found this paper today and had a good lulz about it.  I thought I would share.

Matthew McCarty
Professor Rodgers
English 102
February 15th, 2010
Main Character analysis - Chapter six from Fight Club

Chapter six from Charles Michael Palahniuk's Fight Club was originally published as a short story, and sometime after publishing the story Palahniuk decided to write a book around it.  The short story is about one man's struggle with his homosexual desires; it captures the tension of a gay man trapped in a straight society, and the process of liberation.

The story starts with the unnamed main character giving a revealing monologue full of curious sexual similes.  He is at work, running the projector for his boss while explaining his injuries to the reader.  He says, "I can picture them as the black stitches on a dog after it's been fixed" (Palahniuk).  Why would the narrator make such a odd comparison?  When a dog is fixed, that dog's sexual organ is removed; the narrator sees his stitches as that of a fixed dog's.  Therefore metaphorically, the narrator has no balls.  What caused this symbolic castration?  I believe it was the narrator's superego that has removed his balls.  And when a dog has no balls, it has no sexual desire.  In conclusion, society has taken prisoner the narrator's sexual desire.  Later on in his story, he builds on that picture saying, "I'm off to one side of the room, in the dark" (Palahniuk). This statement shows how he feels; conventional society cannot understand him.  Society has placed him in the dark, because of who he has become.  The main character knows that society isn't ready for the truth, so he lies to them.  "I tell Walter I fell" (Palahniuk).

Further along in the monologue, the narrator elaborates on the activities leading to his injuries, but more importantly, his enlightenment.  Fight club is the cause of his enlightenment.  He mentions that no one is allowed to talk about fight club; "the first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club" (Palahniuk).  As well as the club's beginning, he says "The first fight club was just Tyler and I pounding on each other" (Palahniuk).  The narrator also talks about the progression of fight club, "and every week you go and there's more guys there" (Palahniuk).  The more the narrator talks about fight club, the more I see the narrator's lost sexual desire returning to him.  His fight club only meets at night, pounds on each other, is strictly men, and forbids the participants from talking about it.  The narrator goes on to say, "I'm a thirty-year-old boy, and I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer I need" (Palahniuk).  He obviously found an answer that was not another woman.  It was his secret man meetings in the basement of a bar.  It took a secret group of men, meeting weekly to liberate the narrator's captive balls.  As the story progresses the narrator becomes increasingly brazen: "You see a guy come to fight club for the first time, and his ass is a loaf of white bread" (Palahniuk).  The narrator sums up his point with this statement, "most guys are at fight club because of something they're too scared to fight.  After a few fights, you're afraid a lot less" (Palahniuk).

The guys that are at fight club were too afraid to openly admit homosexuality.  So rather than let their id control their ego, they let society and their superegos, cut off their balls.  After starting their club, and becoming enlightened, the participants are not afraid of society anymore.  At the end of the story the narrator was bold enough to say this, "Walter from Microsoft catches my eye.  Here's a young guy with perfect teeth and clear skin and the kind of job you bother to write the alumni magazine about getting" (Palahniuk).  I am sure the narrator wants Walter to come to his Saturday night man meeting.  But the story ends with the narrator watching and thinking about Walter.  The reader is left to wonder; did the narrator's enlightenment lead him to stand up to society as an enlightened homosexual man; did he ask Walter on a date?  Or did the narrator stay in the shadows, where society has placed him?  The reader will never know;  Palahniuk wrote Fight Club to cover up the true meaning of his short story.  I can understand why; homosexual romance novels don't sell nearly as well as satirical-mystery-thrillers do.

Because of Palahniuk selling out, most people understand that Chapter six of Fight Club, is a club for fighting.  What a preposterous interpretation.  It's really the story of a thirty-year-old boy struggling with society's customary heterosexual tendency.  He rebels by starting a homosexual self help group cleverly disguised as a club for fighting.

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