Taking a Swing at Reality
Within each of us is the disturbing potential for a thrilling, mysterious, violent, and often confusing story of our own motivations and hidden desires. Chuck Palahniuck taps into themes such as these in his novel, Fight Club, which broke into the consciousness of mainstream culture with its adaptation into a screenplay. The actual psychology infused in this story seems to be so powerful because it taps into at least one element of dysfunction with which every human being has struggled.
The story unfolds through the eyes of a narrator who is becoming increasingly disillusioned with life. He slowly begins to experience worsening bouts of insomnia and growing depression. As the condition of the narrator changes, he begins attending various support groups which cause him to develop increasingly complex philosophies of life based on his given psychological state. Early in the story, we learn that he is crafting his ideals around having an intimate relationship with death, one that allows for the hope of all mankind to recede into the background. It are these shifting values that allow the narrator to feel his first true sense of freedom.
The new outlook and desire to stop attending group therapy leads our the narrator to a point at which he feels it is time to put his thoughts into action. With assistance from Tyler, a pivotal character in the progression of the plot, the narrator forms a “fight club.” This intense new form of “therapy” represents one of many critical turning points in the narrator’s life. The experience of pain and death that comes through participating in these underground fights becomes something wholly different for the narrator. They are seen rather as “near-life” experiences. There are multiple other turning points in the story that are much more subtle which relate to the narrator’s specific relationships with other characters. For example, Marla, the possible romantic interest of the narrator, fluctuates in her role of importance from the audiences’ initial perspective within the story.
Although our storyteller finds some release in forming the “fight clubs,” he soon discovers them in cities all over the country, causing his psychological condition to again gravitate towards a growing reluctance towards what constitutes life and society in general. His final revelation allows for all aspects of reality, relationships, and his psychological disposition to come together. While the story is ultimately shocking and extreme in terms of outlining the lives of people who live within the outer limits of sanity, it is also uncomfortably intimate in terms of conveying the very human condition of existential discontent.
Source: Top Counseling Schools
Written by Cowboy on September 12th, 2013 | Tagged as: Popular Culture