Monday, 23 September 2013

Fight Club

For many men Fight Club can be interpreted from many projections from the film. These projections can be from the characters such as Edward Norton’s character the nameless Narrator to Brad Pitt’s Tyler Durden. Why a lot of men find themselves connected to the Narrator is the seemingly boring nine to five office job that he has and the fact we never find out the Narrators real name throughout the film is another connection to the male viewer and the Narrator. The protagonist having no name is one of the major identity connections between the modern world and the Narrator. So when the male audience watches the Narrator describing his boring life and his boring job they have a connection with him because they see themselves as him. Just like in the film Tyler Durden is seen as the character that every man wants to be. His entire image both physical and psychological is the main strive for every male to become like him. When the Narrator thinks he is living the American dream by owning items that he thinks for fill his needs and allowing him to validate his existence, Tyler Durden is the opposite.
Through mass media there are constant reminders on; billboards, TV, radio and even music that tell men if they don’t buy their items they will not be socially accepted. These items can range from male toiletries to male clothing and even how men should look. Tyler goes against the consumerist culture and in fact goes against anything that feeds the corporate machine. Instead of being influenced by advertising and consumerism a lot of powerful lines suggest that he would destroy the consumerist culture allowing men to establish an Identity on the basis of something other than one’s possession. Tyler is almost seen as a saviour for all men with quotes like “he who liberates me from my possessions realigns my perception” it’s almost as if he’s reading quotes from the bible but a bible written by him and his religion. His solution for men to become real men is to destroy everything and only then you can be free “it's not until we've lost everything that we are free to do anything”.
How do cultural consumerism influence, living a moral life, destruction and leaders have to do with masculinity and men? How the Narrator and his moral life is a representation of all men when he finally decides that he wants to leave his old boring consumerist life for a new one he destroys it. Even though Tyler destroyed his apartment Tyler is the Narrator in the end the Narrator blowing up his own home was him setting himself free. To throw everything away would not had as much meaning or be as heroic but  to destroy his apartment and conquer the things he owned that was once owning him had a much more symbolic meaning. By destroying his own home he now has destroyed his moral life which now means he’s breaking the social acceptance of everyone else. At work he would turn up bruised and blood on his shirt from a fight the night before. From breaking away from the social norm he is now socially unacceptable.  Eventually others follow in his path and what started off from Fight Club moves away from the basement and becomes Project Mayhem. Wherever the Narrator goes the talks of Tyler from Fight Club members and Project Mayhem militants are of admiration and love. This utter sense of loyalty and love becomes a cult following.
For men to become real men the journey they undertake in Fight Club is a journey of becoming a warrior. This explores the masculinity in men by going to an underground basement together and beating each other to a pulp. There is something more symbolic to this. At the beginning when Tyler wanted to get into a fight the Narrator refused but then caved in. Tyler then punched the Narrator and he could barely take it. The Narrator before use to whine about; being in pain, suffering from insomnia and go to meetings that made him cry. Now however he goes to Fight Club and endures himself and others into beatings. The irony in that in order to lose the pain he had to endure physical pain. This is the symbolic meaning of being able to take pain because he now feels something. In the act of becoming real men they also become warriors now. The medals are the broken bones, swollen faces and bruised bodies however they wear these medals with courage. Nothing can be more masculine then seeing two gladiators duelling in the Roman Colosseum. Fight Club has become something more than just bare knuckle boxing under a bar. The basement has now become the Colosseum for these men.  It is now a place of refuge a place where ordinary men become Gods. Turkish Ottomans would pray before going to battle and Greek Spartans would make love to their wives before dying in battle. These a ritualize that warriors would do before going to battle and in Fight Club men would cut their hair, clip their nails and recite the laws of Fight Club before the fights begin. Fight Club has become a ritualized and worshipped cult wear men become real men and slowly become warriors of their era.
For the male viewers that watch Fight Club there is quite a lot of connection between them and the characters in the film, however the connection between the male audience and the characters is not an individual connection but as a whole. Every male viewer feels connected to the film so rather than feeling like an individual you feel like you’re part of this all male group. If we explore this idea of belonging and becoming a man in Fight Club we can see that for a male to join the Paper Street Gang goes about the same way for new recruits to join the military. A participant must stand outside the soap factory headquarters and endure hours and countless insults on the applicant’s identity. After destroying their ego and shaving their hair the applicant is now a recruit member of the gang. This a symbolic meaning of breaking someone down and then rebuilding them in the shape of form you desire. To make everyone shave their hair and dress the same is not allowing anyone to be an individual. You look the same, you dress the same, you speak the same and now you are all the same. These men who dedicate themselves of being the self-assertion model representatives of Tyler. They couldn't find themselves in the previous boring day jobs and dull lives, but now by being representatives of Tyler you are now the male figure that you always wanted to be.
In the final scene of Fight Club the Narrator killing Tyler is the finally act of rejection. By shooting himself he isn't just killing Tyler but he is killing the role model for contemporary male. Fight Club installs in the idea that non-stop self-sabotage that destroying everything you own to set you free, then destroying your body to rebuild yourself then shattering the complacent flow of your everyday physiologically. The journey of the Narrator is the journey that every man somehow uses to undertake. Why men feel so compelled to the film is the connection between the Narrator and the male audience. The voyage of; masculinity and men stretch from men being influenced by cultural consumerism, living a dull boring life too destroying everything, becoming warriors and then finally just letting go. 

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