Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

“The first rule about fight club is you don’t talk about fight club.”

I just want to start off by saying that this is by far the darkest book I have ever read, and ever want to read. Last year, I had chosen to read Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and in the moment, I found that book to be horrifyingly dark at times. Raskolnikov, the main character, kills his landlady while in a feverish state. The novel follows every dark thought Raskolnikov suffers through, and the reader is given a very real sense of the rage, insanity, disorientation, paranoia, and guilt that Raskolnikov feels throughout the book. I had felt as if Raskolnikov was an unnerving main character, but he is just a normal man who happened to find himself in an unfortunate situation compared to the characters in Fight Club. By the end of Crime and Punishment, I found myself liking a few of the characters, and I was torn as to how I felt about Raskolnikov. I mean, he killed a guy, but he was clearly human. Raskolnikov was capable of guilt. Tyler Durden is far from human.

I can totally see why both the first and second rule of fight club is you don’t talk about it because everyone in fight club is in need of some serious therapy. Fight club was started by two guys in a parking lot. One was the main character, who’s name I don’t think was mentioned at all yet, and the other was Tyler. What started out with two guys requesting the other to hit him soon turned into a full-out club that met in bar basements every Sunday. Not a lot is mentioned about the main character, who sometimes just seems like a narrator when Tyler is around, but what I learned so far is that he suffers from insomnia, and he likes to go to cancer support group meetings to cry because that helps him sleep. Beating guys up and getting beaten up in fight club helps him sleep as well. The main character is not completely unlikeable, but all the likeability just comes from pity, because he did not seem to have a very good life so far. His life is a great example for a discussion of fate vs free will. His father left when he was six, but not before giving him some really awful advice about life, and in the time that his father was around, he and the main character’s mother never spoke. So the main character didn’t get a great upbringing or an inspirational parental figure. And most importantly, he didn’t witness a whole lot of love. The main character certainly did not ask for any of that, and it is really quite unfortunate that he got such a life. In that situation, it’s difficult to argue that he had any choice whatsoever in the kind of person he’d grow up to be. I doubt he even knows that he is not as mentally healthy as he could be. Who he grew up to be most definitely did not happen out of his own free will, but is fate what caused it?

Regarding the character Tyler, he almost seems unreal. He is the creepiest dude I have ever read about. From the moment I learned he likes making soap from fat he stores in his fridge I thought it wouldn’t be surprising if that was human fat from some poor guy he murdered. I wasn’t too far from the truth. Tyler, along with the gloomy, emotionless voice of the main character, makes for a truly chilling novel. Plot-wise, I suppose it is believable, and it does follow the plot of Crime and Punishment in a way, as it follows the making of a criminal. However, while Raskolnikov starts out as just a regular penniless student, Tyler was already doing some petty crime, and the main character was lying about being a cancer survivor.

The biggest recurring theme that I was able to recognize while reading this book was death. Both Tyler and this woman named Marla play around with their lives and often say things about the easiness of death. While shoving his gun into the main character’s mouth and waiting for a building to explode from a bomb he set, Tyler says, “‘This isn’t really death…We’ll be legend. We won’t grow old'” (11). And Marla, while supposedly on a lot of xanax, calls Tyler and says something about “The tunnel, the light leading her down the tunnel. The death experience was so cool, Marla wanted me to hear her describe it as she lifted out of her body and floated up.” Whether Marla was actually possibly dying from all the xanax, or just being overly dramatic isn’t entirely clear to me, but she, along with Tyler, both have little regard for their lives. I’m interested to find out what the reasons behind their dark thoughts are. Tyler had a similar upbringing to the main character, so it’s entirely likely that he is a sociopath at this point, but Marla is still a mystery.

All in all, this book is really dark in a creepy, wikipedia murder mystery article sort of way. Though I normally go for books with a lighter tone, it’s not impossible to read, and I would totally reccomend it for anyone that enjoys tv shows such as Criminal Minds.

Update: I searched up the movie Fight Club and the main character’s name is Edward Norton.

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15 Comments

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15 responses to “Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

  1. ashleypiccolo

    So far in this book it is rather dark like Julia said before, however it is extremely honest with some unique characters. In the first few chapters I was not very into this book as it seemed way too dark for my taste and sort of jumped from topic to topic. As I read on I actually really enjoyed how honest everything that the main character said. While this book sort of does jump from topic to topic in the first few chapters around the seventh chapter things seem to fall into place and relate to one another. The honestly from the main character did make the first few confusing chapters a lot more enjoyable.

    The main characters that have been mentioned so far are very unique. Edward Norton who is the narrator is brutally honest which I love and his back story I found very interesting. Some things he did were questionable, as he went to support groups for many diseases that he didn’t have. While this was questionable I think it made for something interesting about the character and also introduced Marla. Overall I really like hearing what he has to say which is very different from Tyler. Tyler seemed less dark and more cool at certain points in the first section, however the majority of the time he is plain out frightening. The knowledge that he has about explosions, fights, and overall violence is terrifying. This book was written in 1996 so the normality of this knowledge might have been present, but I know for a fact that no one I know, knows how to make explosions occur from soap. As well the fact that whenever Marla is over and they aren’t “humping” as Edward says, he doesn’t show up or talk to her at all and tries to get her to leave asap. Speaking of Marla, I personally do not like her. She does not seem believable and is almost as dark as Tyler at times. Marla also begins to attend support groups, but rather than participating in them like Edward she sits and smokes in the room. She took part in an almost suicide attempt and often doesn’t care about life similar to Tyler. This could be why they are together as they both seem to be depressed and understand each other, however don’t spend time with one another outside of the bedroom. Marla also flirts with Edward in an awkward way that makes me a tad uncomfortable when I read this book. While the characters are all dark they are very interesting.

    The beginning of this book has been interesting so far and I am extremely excited to find out what will happen by the end of the book. As well how fight club is a part of this since it has only been mentioned here and there so far. I hope that more background on the characters happens as the book progresses and why they act the way that they do. So far an interesting book that has a dark vibe to it, but it is exciting no doubt.

  2. alexsol1500

    Fight club is an extremely interesting and, as Ashley and Julia already said, very dark. It starts off with a bang (literally, with explosives), beginning at an event that occurs later in the book, sparking my interest. Then, it goes on to introduce the main character (currently nameless), who is extremely sketchy. He suffers from severe insomnia, which makes it very difficult for him to sleep at night. To cope with this, the man attends cancer support group meetings, even though he does not have any form of cancer. By crying at the meetings, he is able to go to sleep easier at night. Right off the bat, you can tell there is something seriously wrong with this man. He later goes on to visit a nude beach, and meets a man named Tyler. Tyler seems like a sort of “hippie”, and is also sketchy, similar to the narrator. This is where fight club officially begins. One night, they go out for beers and they begin to dare each other to punch the other one in the face. This slug fest eventually turns into a full out brawl, and they find that they actually enjoyed it.
    The two main characters, the narrator and Tyler, seem quite similar, the main reason being that they are both very strange. Like I wrote earlier, the narrator suffers from the torturous effects of insomnia, and in order to cope he goes to cancer support groups. Tyler is ‘different’ as well. When the narrator visits a nude beach one day, he finds Tyler laying buck naked in the sand. As the narrator describes, “naked and sweating, gritty with sand, his hair wet and stringy, hanging in his face” (32). To make it even weirder, Tyler seems like a sort of philosopher. He is very “zen” and “peaceful”. He loves the natural world around him, and strives to feel emotions like enlightenment. This, paired with the fact that he fights his new friend in a parking lot soon after, makes this character seem like he will not be your normal main character.

  3. dalialiu


    As everyone has already mentioned, this book is dark and unsugarcoated, which I appreciate. Fight Club is a relatively short novel, but in the first third of the book, many heavy themes have already been exhibited. The first few chapters were a little confusing to put together, but from what I gathered, the main character (nameless but called Edward in the movie) suffers from severe insomnia and regularly attends support groups for fatal diseases to feel alive.

    As Julia mentioned, death is a major recurring theme in this novel and is conveyed in many ways, including Edward’s pretence of having cancer and brain parasites as well as through the other two characters, Marla and Tyler. Life is treated with fragility, as all three characters so far are not emotionally stable and seek to worsen their lives in order to make it better. Edward, who has not given much information of himself, attends parasite/cancer/bone disease support groups to break away from his materialistic life. He is a “slave to [his] nesting instinct” (43) who finds false comfort in furniture, and wrecks the illusion by actively self destructing. This commentary on materialism and self-destruction is a very interesting and dark aspect of the novel that I look forward to reading more about as the book goes on.

    In addition to the abundance of dark themes, the voice of the main character is unique and at times frightening. Edward expresses his knowledge of explosives, crimes, and Tyler’s murderous tendencies nonchalantly as if it was an everyday subject. All three main characters speak of death in a casual, almost praising way, which adds to the depth of the novel since such a saddening theme is expressed numbingly as a familiar topic. In addition, second-person narration is also used repeatedly, which was confusing at times because the subject of the speech is unclear.

    Overall, although this book is one of the darkest I’ve read, I look forward to reading more. I really appreciate books dealing with tough subjects being unsugarcoated, since it’s more impactful and less superficial.

  4. gemmapleas

    As previously stated by Alex, Ashley, Julia and Dalia. Fight Club is extremely dark. The book is extremely dark as the main characters Tyler and a nameless character document their often disturbing thoughts. It doesn’t hold back, with the first chapter already discussing death and murder in such a nonchalant way.Having no previous knowledge about the book or movie before starting reading, I found the book extremely confusing at first. The book jumps in very abruptly, but after the first few chapters i was able to understand what was happening.
    However, so far I am finding the book’s discussion of death very interesting. The book’s two main characters both seem to have a fascination with the idea of life, death, and pain. The two lead very ordinary, unhappy lives and are searching for any opportunity for them to truly live before they die. In Contrast to Julia and Dalia, I didn’t see Tyler and and the narrator having a obsession with death, but rather a need to feel something. The narrator has suffered from insomnia and says “everything is so far away,a copy of a copy…you can’t touch anything and nothing can touch you” (21). The narrator has been feeling nothing for so long. He is so distance and out of touch with himself and reality he goes to support groups in an effort to feel something. He cannot feel pain himself, so he goes to witness the pain of others. I found this quite interesting. His witnessing of those around him dying is the closest he has felt to feeling something in a long time. He craves this feeling. He needs to see others feel. The other character, Tyler is rather ordinary. He works a job as a recall manager, and in chapter 3 we see how repetitive his life is, only going from airport to airport and working at his job. Tyler went to college only to discover he had no idea what to do with his life, so now he works at an ordinary job and lives in a “catalog” of an apartment. When the two of them meet, they discover they share this void inside of them.
    So far it seems as is fight club is a sort of Utopia for these men. They come in clean cut, ordinary and plain. Its their escape from the real world, and from their own negative thoughts. The narrator says, “guys are in fight club is not who they are in the real world…Who I am in fight club is not someone my boss knows”. The narrator obviously is not in the best state mentally, and he is desperately trying to escape that. While I don’t think fighting is generally the best thing to do, I have done reckless things simply because of the fact that I am unhappy or upset. Humans need to feel, and while fighting and knocking eachothers teeth out has given them a temporary high, they will always have to return to the real world. They have to face their real feelings.
    So far, fight club is fascinating and I am excited to read more.

  5. gemmapleas

    As previously stated by Alex, Ashley, Julia and Dalia. Fight Club is extremely dark. The book is extremely dark as the main characters Tyler and a nameless character document their often disturbing thoughts. It doesn’t hold back, with the first chapter already discussing death and murder in such a nonchalant way.Having no previous knowledge about the book or movie before starting reading, I found the book extremely confusing at first. The book jumps in very abruptly, but after the first few chapters i was able to understand what was happening.

    However, so far I am finding the book’s discussion of death very interesting. The book’s two main characters both seem to have a fascination with the idea of life, death, and pain. The two lead very ordinary, unhappy lives and are searching for any opportunity for them to truly live before they die. In Contrast to Julia and Dalia, I didn’t see Tyler and and the narrator having a obsession with death, but rather a need to feel something. The narrator has suffered from insomnia and says “everything is so far away,a copy of a copy…you can’t touch anything and nothing can touch you” (21). The narrator has been feeling nothing for so long. He is so distance and out of touch with himself and reality he goes to support groups in an effort to feel something. He cannot feel pain himself, so he goes to witness the pain of others. I found this quite interesting. His witnessing of those around him dying is the closest he has felt to feeling something in a long time. He craves this feeling. He needs to see others feel. The other character, Tyler is rather ordinary. He works a job as a recall manager, and in chapter 3 we see how repetitive his life is, only going from airport to airport and working at his job. Tyler went to college only to discover he had no idea what to do with his life, so now he works at an ordinary job and lives in a “catalog” of an apartment. When the two of them meet, they discover they share this void inside of them.

    So far it seems as is fight club is a sort of Utopia for these men. They come in clean cut, ordinary and plain. Its their escape from the real world, and from their own negative thoughts. The narrator says, “guys are in fight club is not who they are in the real world…Who I am in fight club is not someone my boss knows”. The narrator obviously is not in the best state mentally, and he is desperately trying to escape that. While I don’t think fighting is generally the best thing to do, I have done reckless things simply because of the fact that I am unhappy or upset. Humans need to feel, and while fighting and knocking eachothers teeth out has given them a temporary high, they will always have to return to the real world. They have to face their real feelings.

    So far, fight club is fascinating and I am excited to read more.

  6. dalialiu

    2/3

    This book is a discussion of the most disturbing aspects of class and modern society, and the tone of the narrator as the book progresses largely contributes to the haunting mood. In the second third, there is a noticeable change in the narrator’s demeanor from the first. In the first part, although he discusses some dark themes, it is evident that Tyler’s influence on him has not taken much effect yet.

    A victim of severe insomnia, he is left distant from the world and unable to feel, but is cured by the support groups for deadly diseases he regularly attends. However, as his and Tyler’s fight club becomes a regular routine of their lives, his narration gradually becomes more and more sinister. What was previously his support group disbanded to join into a club of aggression, and even that was no longer enough. The narrator, nameless but apparently named Edward, describes scenarios such as him threatening to shoot his boss and attempting to commit murder-suicide by steering a car with four other people into traffic in a nonchalant, almost desiring way. His insomnia and detachment from the world becomes overwhelmingly numbing, and is chillingly present in his descriptions of his life. He states multiple times, “I used to be such a nice person.” He, along with all the members of the committees established off of Fight Club, become followers of Tyler and slowly transform into him. They all do exactly what he tells them, without question or a second thought. Tyler becomes almost dictator-like, and is described in a way that presents him to be God-like in his way of leading people into spreading word of his “gospel.” His evil charisma is very evident in all of Edward’s descriptions, and was something that I found really interesting because of how disturbing it was at times.

    One of the most disturbing parts of the novel has to be the whole soap making situation. I gagged multiple times reading about it, but although it was disgusting to think about, I appreciate the commentary it provides. Like I said in my other post, the book talks a lot about materialism and the need to feel “complete” by having an object to cherish. Tyler’s business, The Paper Street Soap Company, uses extracted human fat in its making of luxury soap bars. As Edward explained, they take the fat out of the richest people and make it back into an expensive bar only the richest can afford, calling themselves a sort of modern “Robin Hood.” While this is very, very illegal (and definitely should be), it was a new way of commenting on class structure and consumerist ideals that I found refreshing despite the vomit-inducing imagery.

    Overall, although this book made me want to cry a little, I look forward to finishing it. I probably say this about every book I read, but Fight Club is a unique novel that is impactful without being generic. This book should be read by everyone, since it is relevant to the modern world and explores dark themes other authors are afraid to touch on.

  7. alexsol1500

    Blog Post #2

    This story has taken a steep turn, as Tyler transforms his fight club into an empire, with fight clubs opening across the country and Tyler becoming a legend. He has also started a new organization, called Project Mayhem, set on bringing down the social structure of the United States. What started off as a fight club quickly became something much bigger, with people making human sacrifices and burning buildings. It is all for a similar cause as the fight club, though. The men that participate in these activities all live very sad, depressing lives and they need something to help them forget about it. A theme that has been present throughout the entire book is the theme of morality and death. The men feel that their lives are so dull and pointless, that the only way to spice it up is to hurt themselves. The narrator describes it as if it is the only way to make him feel alive in his sad life.

    Tyler and the narrator hate the upper class with a passion. They hate working for them, and slaving away every day while they get to live an easy care-free life. In one of the narrators many jobs that he works with Tyler, as a waiter at a hotel they try to take advantage of the upper class by peeing in their soup, farting on pastries, and many other disgusting acts. They feel that easy lives the wealthy people that eat at the hotel should be degraded a little bit so that it can be more even with their minuscule lives. As the narrator says, “Here at cockroach level… titans and their gigantic wives drink barrels of champagne and bellow at each other wearing diamonds bigger than I feel” (80). One if the main parts of this book that makes it so dark is how the narrator and Tyler feel about themselves. They feel like they have no purpose in life, and that they are pointless. I cannot really relate to this, but that is probably because I’ve grown up in a safe neighborhood that doesn’t experience much violence. In this novel, the narrator is practically homeless and only gets a couple hours of sleep every night.

    During my reading, I had an important observations. My first is that the narrator tells the story as if he is a third person, floating above his body. He never seems to act as if he is really in the scene. The way the author writes the narrator’s dialogue gives the reader the impression that the narrator is extremely tired, which makes sense, since he was diagnosed with insomnia. Whenever he describes pain, he does it in a very subtle way, as if it doesn’t make a difference. It is the same thing with emotions. I like this about the author’s writing style, and it gives the book an extra element.

  8. gemmapleas


    Reading the first third of fight club was a shock due to its dark themes and disturbing descriptions. The second third is no tamer, only going even more dark than I would ever think a modern book could go.

    Like Dalia commented, there seems to be a change in the narrator. The more time he spends with Tyler, the less emotion and empathy he feels and the more time he spends appreciating Tyler and all of his feats. The narrator, in a search to feel something has gotten caught up in the search to hit “rock bottom”, and as he gets closer to hitting the more he adores Tyler and all that Tyler does and the less he stops caring about the world around him. Tyler tells him about all the disturbing things that he’s done and somehow gets the narrator to be okay with it and even appreciate it at some point.

    In this section I was very disturbed at how truly dark of a person Tyler is. In the first chapter Tyler seemed to only just be sad and depressed, but this chapter, through his actions Tyler seemed to reveal himself as a truly dark and evil person. One thing that convinced me of this how often he lacked any amount of sympathy for anyone else but himself. He often excused his actions with a ‘robin hood mentally’ and was selfish in the way that he didn’t care about the feelings of anyone he hurt or the repercussion it may had. We see this contrast when Tyler “pranks” a wife at a party he serves, driving her to have a mental breakdown. Everyone feels remorse, but not Tyler. He defends his actions, saying that the rich have it better off and they deserve everything he gave to the wife, unwilling to admit that maybe this time he went too far. He even lacks sympathy for the narrator and forces the narrator to face Marla after Tyler was the one who turned his mother into soap, not the narrator. He manipulates the narrator and justifies what he did. In Tyler’s mind, “Without [others] death, their pain, without their sacrifice, we would have nothing” (78). Simply put, Tyler feels has shown no remorse for anything he does and has seemed to manipulate the narrator into thinking that way too. This book left me disturbed on numerous occasions, but very interested. It is concise, satirical ,and impactful. Fight Club is like no other book I have read. I am excited to continue and see how it ends.

  9. juliadragu

    As everyone has said so far, the second third of the book has certainly taken a much darker turn. It seems as if Edward’s humanity is slowly being sucked out of him by his continuous struggle with insomnia, his developing “tolerance” to the drug that is violence, and most of all his buddy Tyler.

    While this portion of the book has focused on separating Tyler from any humanity he may have had earlier in the novel, it also seems to display Marla as a far more relatable human being, whose only characteristic shared with Tyler and Edward is her struggle with the concept of death. When Marla first discovers the lumps under her arms which may be cancerous she immediately calls Edward over instead of Tyler, who she is still in a sort of relationship with. The reason she calls Edward instead of Tyler, according to Edward, is because “The are a lot of things we don’t want to know about the people we love” (106). Then, when Edward arrives in Marla’s room, a very important piece of her is revealed: the way she views death. After Edward compares her brown eyes to that of an animal’s, Marla starts talking to him about “…how in the wild you don’t see old animals because as soon as they age, animals die. If they get sick or slow down, something stronger kills them. Animals aren’t meant to get old….our culture as made death something wrong” (103). From what Edward narrates and what Marla says, it becomes apparent that by animals, she means herself and all of the humanity. So Marla may not have depression, but perhaps instead she has a fear of again, or rather, a lack of fear of death.

    Not that many pages later in the book, Edward is seen trying to comfort Marla, and what goes on is quite curious. Edward’s first attempt to make her feel better is a story about a joke his grandmother made about herself to his grandfather. It’s a heartwarming story about people laughing that almost makes the reader think twice about what kind of a guy Edward is. But that doesn’t make Marla laugh, so Edward tries again:

    To warm her up, to make her laugh, I tell Marla about the woman in Dear Abbey who married a handsome successful mortician and on their wedding night, he made her soak in a tub of ice water until her skin was freezing to the touch, and then he made her lie in bed completely still while he had intercourse with her cold inert body.
    The funny thing is this woman had done this as a newlywed, and gone on to do it for the next ten years of marriage and now she was writing to Dear Abby to ask if Abby thought it meant something (106).

    From warm to again chilling, this is quite a confusing half a page. I don’t see Edward as a man who is all that bad since he did want to make Marla feel better, so I would like to think that the first story he told was what makes him feel better and that the second story was what he knew would make Marla feel better. Or perhaps another interpretation is that the first story is a reflection of who he used to be, while the second story is a reflection of who he is now. What do you guys think?

    Regarding the other second third blog posts already written, I agree with what you guys said about the character developments seen so far, and specifically with what Alex said about the narration of Edward. I do wonder sometimes if the book is written about a realistic world, or if it is a dystopian novel because of the narration. While some of the issues Edward and the rest of the characters struggle with are most certainly relatable to many adults of today, there are also aspects that many of us would dread to think of as true.

    One event in particular that shocked me was how Tyler and Edward handled their bosses and jobs. What was especially terrifying was the “monster” that took over Edward when he was at work. He hurt himself to the point of blood dripping onto the floors, and at that point, he really did seem like a monster. He acted absolutely deranged and insane, and that shocked me as a reader, because though I recognized that Edward was on a dark path, I had characterized Tyler as the person most likely to do that. But then again, Edward did say that he said what Tyler told him to say, so perhaps he also did what Tyler told him to do. Whatever the reason for his outburst is, it felt like a turning point for Edward’s character. It feels like whatever chance he had to be a good person disappeared, and I’m sort of nervous to read about what’s in store for him, and if he’ll regain some of his own personality, instead of just becoming more and more of that monster that Tyler seems to be creating.

  10. ashleypiccolo

    2/3
    As everyone has stated before the book has taken a very dark turn and I’m not sure if that’s good or bad. A lot of the situations that are described are disturbing and uncomfortable to read, however it is moving the story along.

    As Dalia said before the first third of this book had Edward not completely effected by Tyler and his actions, however as the book moves on it seems as if the two are morphing into one person. Edward has begun to have more outbursts and begun handling work the same way Tyler has. Julia mentioned a really good example of this, when he physically hurt himself to the point where he was dripping blood and threatening his boss. Edward did this purely because Tyler told him to do it.

    Tyler has also take a small fight club and turned it into an empire that many men want to be part of. Some make their own fight clubs and use Tyler’s rules, while others join Project Mayhem, and some move in at Tyler’s home to make soap. The people that moved into the home seem so brainwashed that whenever Edward asks one of them about it they simply repeat the rules that have been put into their head. Tyler has sort of created an army, as the men that live with him create soap which as pointed out in the first half parts of the soap can be explosive. He literally has men building explosives for him and making money for him with the soap. Tyler has created an army that could potentially do large sums of harm to the city.

    This idea may be a bit far fetched, but I think that Tyler might not be real and is either the narrator’s subconscious or a figment of his imagination. As the second third of this book went on and the narrator fell victim to his insomnia Tyler hasn’t been around as much. With this when he visits other fight clubs no one has seen Tyler and no one has ever met him. As well Tyler seems to be put onto a pedestal in the narrator’s mind. I’m excited to read the rest of the book and see if this is right.

  11. juliadragu

    3/3
    So in some ways, many of my interpretations of the characters were completely wrong, and in other ways, they were correct. For that reason, I found this book to be very well-written, and even though the ending absolutely terrified me, I put the book down feeling glad that I was able to experience such a classic as this one.

    In the beginning of this third, I started out extremely confused. It felt significant when it was mentioned that the narrator smelt gasoline on his hands, and it certainly is an odd thing to smell on one’s hands, but I had no idea what it meant. Soon after, when the narrator seemed confused as to whether Tyler is in his dream, or he is in Tyler’s dream, I had less of an idea of what was going on. It wasn’t until after the odd car ride that I had a chilling thought. Edward goes to this bar and has the following conversation with the bartender: “Tyler was here. ‘You were here, sir'” (158). In was in that moment that I wondered if Tyler and Edward could maybe be the same person. With Edward’s struggle with insomnia and losing his personality to Tyler, I wondered if the two could be linked together in a way that made Tyler the darkness that is within Edward, much like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Of course, I tried to reassure myself that it was probably just one of Tyler’s schemes to have everyone think that Edward is him. Because of that, I found the writing and narration of the novel to be exceptionally good. The reader has a sort of struggle within themselves, trying to figure everything out just as Edward is doing the exact same thing, and you really get a glimpse into how Edward is feeling in that moment. I think that connection that is made between the narrator and the reader sets up the reader for understanding and being able to follow the rest of the book. Additionally, and most importantly, it forces one to empathize with Edward. In truth, he really wasn’t a monster. Instead, he had a monster growing inside of him. So in short, Ashley was right about Tyler being a figment of Edward’s imagination, and so then along with the theme of death, I think another really prevalent one is the inner struggle of the narrator.

    Linking back to the reference I made to Crime and Punishment in my first blog post, I find that Fightclub became more and more like Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novel by the page. While Fightclub started out just sharing the criminal and dark aspects of Crime and Punishment, it grew to sharing the inner struggle that goes on inside the minds of both the main characters. Both men have their struggles and hardships, but neither are inherently all that bad. Both of them hadn’t a real understanding of what they had done, and both felt guilt upon the realization that they had committed horrible crimes. However, between the two books, I found Fightclub to be an easier read, which really helped considering the complicated plot patterns. Nonetheless, both were great, yet frightening books, and if any of you guys liked Fightclub, I would really recommend reading Crime and Punishment as well!

    Before wrapping up my final blog post, I would just like to share what I found to be the most impactful line of the entire book. Throughout the novel, the narrator repeatedly talked about how he knew something because Tyler knew it, and before I had thought it was odd, but that he knew the thing because Tyler told him about it. But on page 185, after it becomes revealed that Edward is Tyler, Edward says, “I know a computer blew up. I know this because Tyler knows this.” To be honest, I had forgotten about the fact that Edward said the words “I know this because Tyler knows this” so many times, and reading it that final time allowed me to make that connection, and I don’t really know where I’m going with this, but it really struck me.

    I’m not sure if we’re supposed to give this book a final rating, but I give it a 9.5 out of 10, since I found the ending with the Heaven part to be really odd and confusing. Otherwise, it was a great read, and I look forward to reading about what you guys thought of this final third as well!

  12. dalialiu

    3/3
    As Julia has mentioned, the start of the third section was pretty confusing to read. I’m not sure if everyone started at the same place, but the first chapter I read for this section is when the main character’s split personality is confirmed. There had been several mentions of Edward and Tyler being “sharing the same body” with mentions in conversations between Marla and Edward, but it was explained in a way that seemed like it was part of Tyler’s plans. However, at one point, Edward is so dazed by his insomnia that he seems for forget his identity, and asks Marla what his name is. Marla then replies, “‘Tyler Durden. Your name is Tyler Butt-Wipe-for-Brains Durden’” (160). This is the first outright confirmation of “their” identities being parts of the same person, which is what I think makes the writing in this novel so impactful.

    Even though such a major part of the story wasn’t given until so far into the novel, looking back, it makes a lot of sense for Edward to have Tyler as his split personality. Like I said in my last post, there is a dramatic change in the tone of the narrator as the book progresses, the evidence of Tyler’s tightening grip on Edward’s life. I also found the repeated lines “I know this because Tyler knows this” to be exceptionally powerful, since it really showed his two personalities’ relationship, yet at the same time differentiated them by regarding them as separate beings. It is a line said from the very beginning to the very end of the book, and is the reason that I find this book so powerfully written. It also drew a connection between the stark contrast of his identities, showing that Tyler’s identity is a strong influence to Edward. I don’t think a lot of authors can spring up a sudden important detail and make it correlate throughout the novel, but Chuck Palahniuk writes the story in a very quick-paced way that makes it produce such a powerful message of modern societal values.

    The aspect of this novel that I enjoyed experiencing the most was the perspective and the voice of the narrator. Despite the book being extremely disturbing and at times gut-wrenchingly vomit inducing, it was a fresh take on common themes such as civilization, social norms, and death. As it was revealed, Tyler and Edward are in fact the same person with a personality disorder. From beginning to end, Edward addresses Tyler as a separate person with separate conscience despite being inside the same body. This was what made the book so chilling and disturbing to read for me, since Edward repeatedly casts the responsibility of “his” actions onto Tyler. Like Julia mentioned, it is a little Jekyll and Hyde between the two conflicting personalities. The reader can empathize with Edward as he is slowly consumed more and more by Tyler, and is the victim of Tyler’s horrendous acts including murder, domestic terrorism, and even castrating officers for turning against Project Mayhem or Fight Club. At the same time, it’s hard to shake the image that it was the same person committing these heinous crimes. That perspective was what made the book so powerful towards the end, since Edward is a wholesome person taken over by, essentially, himself as Tyler Durden.

    Fight Club was an exceptionally impactful novel, despite the fact that most of us are not terrorists/murderers (hopefully). It was an interesting battle between two parts of the same person that makes me want to study psychology more. I would recommend this to anyone with a strong stomach, as it does contain some gruesome scenes but was worth reading for the book.

  13. gemmapleas

    First off, I want to start by saying wow. This book took a turn I was not expecting at all. However, this definitely was the right turn to take, considering how impactful this book was and how much it made a statement about our society and the psychological state of the beings in it. As much as we strive to be different, as much as we all strive to break out of the norm by ‘hitting bottom’, we fail. Ironically, Even the act of ‘hitting rock bottom’ isn’t an original idea, but is in fact a rather popular one. Fight Club is filled with all sorts of Irony. One example is “Tyler Durden’s” (do we ever know his actual name?) motive . The entire novel focuses on “Tyler’s” hatred for the rich and upper class, and how he hates the lower class being treated like the scum of the world. He wishes to seek revenge, tormenting the upper class any chance possible. What is ironic is that Tyler soon become everything he has hated, treating his ‘space monkeys’ like slaves and acting as if he is above them all. And the ‘space monkeys’ who have always ran away from and hated society’s structure now seem to have no problem doing the same things they did for before. As long as their new society has a new label; Project Mayhem.

    One thing I really enjoyed about this novel is how it jumped so quickly from action to action. While it was confusing at first, it really helped throughout the story to keep it interesting. There were no boring pages of descriptions or dragged on set-up-the-plot chapters, but rather the book jumped from action to action to action. I read the Afterword chapter of the book, in which the author discusses the process of writing the book. He explained how he wanted a sort of chorus, signal, or landmark so that the reader would not feel lost. This technique was found throughout the book; the main landmarks being the rules of Fight Club. I found this method quite interesting and found it very effective in tying all of the parts of the book together. The Rules of Fight Club were very effective in tying the present and the future together, and other “landmarks” such as Big Bob, the support groups, and the narrator’s naming of airport were effective in connecting the past and the present. These landmarks often don’t make sense as you read the beginning of the book, but as you read to the end you understand how they all work as checkpoints in the demise of Tyler/The narrator.

    The fact that the narrator was actually Tyler was shocking, and was definitely an impactful twist. The book mentions only once that the narrator/Tyler condition once; Dissociative identity disorder. It is usually “a reaction to trauma as a way to help a person avoid bad memories” (Mayo Clinic). My only critique for the book is they went further in depth with the actual describing of Tyler/The narrator’s condition, as it is the basis of the entire book and as of now, it is simply seemed like the disease was put in as an afterthought, as though the author did some last minute research to add to the intensity of the story.

    Overall, Fight Club was a phenomenal read. While disturbing, it was very impactful.

  14. alexsol1500

    Blog #3

    The final third of this novel was filled with lots of surprising plot twists and changes that were shocking to me, but ended up making sense in the end. Similar to what Julia said, I believed that Tyler was trying to make everyone think that the narrator was him, just so that he could blame all of his crimes on someone else. It was surprising to see that the narrator had a split personality disorder that he was completely unaware of, instead of insomnia like he thought. I still believe he has some other sort of illness similar to insomnia, though, because even when he is awake, he can still see Tyler. Like what Dalia said, I would have like the narrator to go into more depth about his illnesses. It is the main conflict of the story towards the beginning of the book, and ends up becoming the main conflict in the end. If the readers could understand what exactly was happening to the narrator, a whole new dimension would be added to the book.

    I found the end of the book very climatic. The craziness and “ignorance” of the main character shows, and the story is wrapped up very well. On top of the building in the previous chapter, the narrator tried to kill himself by shooting himself in the face. Yet, by the sound of his description in the book, he only succeeded in shooting the opposite cheek of the one that has a hole. As he describes, “The bullet out of Tyler’s gun, it tore out my other cheek to give me a jagged smile from ear to ear” (207). By attempting to kill himself, something that he has waned to do for a long time, he is finally happy and at peace. There are very few instances, it any, where the narrator is said to be smiling, or happy at all throughout the book, until this scene. I think that although he may not have succeeded in ending his own life, he did succeed in killing the Tyler side of him. He is finally freed from this burden that has been on his back for several years. The other part of the final scene that I like is the very end, when he described the hospital staff talking to him. AS the narrator states, “Or somebody with a broken nose pushes a mop past me and whispers:
    ‘Everything’s going according to the plan'” (208). This is a great way to end the book, because it shows that Project Mayhem is not over yet, and that its representatives are still working and performing their disgusting and unusual tasks.

    Something that is very important in this book is the setting. It never really says where the story takes place, apart from “Paper Street” or “the Reagent Hotel”. It does occasionally say there the narrator is going, like Seattle or the different airports. This is very significant, because whenever the narrator goes to a new place, there is always a fight club there. That shows that it does not really matter where the location of the house on Paper Street is, because Fight Club and Project Mayhem are all over the country. In the end, when the narrator is in the hospital, the people who whisper to him say that Project Mayhem is still going strong. They may actually accomplish their goal of destroying civilization in America.

    Overall, this was a very good book, with a great plot and several twists and turns throughout. It was written in a much different style than anything else I have read before, but that added a lot to the story and how it is read.

  15. ashleypiccolo

    3/3
    I really enjoyed the ending of this book as it seemed like such a good explanation for everything that happened in it. The first two thirds of this made a lot more sense after reading the ending. Like everyone has said the final third of this book had a lot of twists and turns but I think that it made the story better than I thought it could have been. Most books that I have read from the time period that this book came out have been very predictable and one dimensional. This was such a nice surprise as it was filled with twists and turns along with darkness that worked really well with the plot.

    No books are perfect and always have room for expansion and correction. As Dalia and Alex said before if Edward’s mental illness was expanded on the story could have been even better than it already was. I wish that I could meet up with the author and ask him why he made his character this way and how he came up with the idea because it is brilliant. The way that he was able to make Tyler seem like a real person that interacted with Edward was incredible and made the ending unpredictable. I feel like if I did spend a tad more time reading this book and paid closer attention I would have caught on that Edward and Tyler were the same people. Some things that were said from Edward about knowing stuff because Tyler knew the same things seems like such an obvious giveaway now.

    Another thing that was really interesting about this book was how dark it was and how it kept getting darker and darker as it went on. The beginning with the whole soap incident I thought was as dark as the book would go as it was incredibly dark and spooky. However it just kept getting crazier and crazier with the life or death situations such as the car ride and how Tyler turned on Edward in such an unusual fashion. Edwards other personality basically wanted Edward to die in hopes that Tyler would be able to take over for good. This is so dark and crazy to think that someone had this idea and was able to put it into words and create such an amazing classic book.

    This book was unlike any book that I read as I usually try to stay away from books with such dark sides. With this I actually really enjoyed it and hope to read some of this author’s other works and see if they are just as dark or if this was the exception. I would give this book a 9.5 out of 10 if we are supposed to be rating it because of how unique it is and how fun it was to read.

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