Fight Club: a reading response

I got 100% on this paper. This is a reading response for Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club. I’m actually pretty excited about this. This is my second 100% paper. Like I said in the earlier post, I usually get 48/50. It looks like the teacher is busy catching up on grading before the final tomorrow.

Part of the human spirit is to thirst for belonging. It’s simply human to create connection where none existed; to inject themselves among likeminded people. Their existence gains purpose and meaning. They identify with another person, and with that they gain empathy, compassion, a perspective that includes other people. They share something now. They belong to the same cause. They are family. It’s natural to follow the crowd and search for a greater purpose. The activities don’t seem to matter as long as they’re connected and part of something. “You don’t ask questions is the first rule of Project Mayhem” reinforces this standard of belonging, but you don’t try to understand why or how, just belong. Belonging to a group is their purpose. Without belonging they are aimless, lonely, dejected.

The groups represent a connection with a higher purpose. Their loneliness gives way to the purpose of the group. In their previous lives, before the meetings, before fight club, before Project Mayhem, when they were alone in the world working their remedial jobs, they felt isolated. They didn’t connect with other humans. They were islands. The narrator emphasizes this when he says, “I set to work playing solitaire on my computer” (128). When you take these lonely souls and put them together, filing them under a common trait—whether it be brain parasites, testicular cancer or an overall dissatisfaction with the state of the world—they reach out to each other, they embrace the lonely because they no longer feel alone. It’s in that connection that they abandon their loneliness, throw off their isolation and embrace community and intimacy. They’ve found their higher purpose.

The nature of society is reflected in the different groups represented in the story. For example, the support groups are full of illness and death, fight club is full of dueling and debasement, and Project Mayhem is full of anarchy and dissention. Society is sick and needs healing. Project Mayhem gathers to make a decision for the world. They then offer their style of healing, but at the potential cost of estrangement. Tyler says “The liberator who destroys my property… is fighting to save my spirit” (110). He feels justified in creating Project Mayhem and supporting their efforts to destroy humanities accumulated stuffs and, more importantly, their attachment to those stuffs. “I’d rather kill you than see you working a shit job” (155) Tyler says without reservation. He holds a gun to the head of all service workers when he holds the gun to Raymond K. Hessels head. He is daring them to live by giving up what they currently have. This violence is used to call attention to the sick and despondent society Tyler lives in. This is terrorism. They keep their terrorism under wraps to avoid the ostracizing society would inflict on them. Society doesn’t want to be healed. They would rather their own group be left alone to do the thing that makes them feel connected, whatever that is.

The purpose and meaning the men in Fight Club get from this comradery is dependent on the ritual and organization of the group. They find comfort, purpose, meaning in the regular activity. Weekly meetings “every Tuesday night” (34) means you have something to look forward to. You have purpose, even if your purpose is to show up every Tuesday evening. It’s the connection they long for and it’s the connection they find in those groups.