Fight Club Compare and Constrast Essay

This essay has a total of 2703 words and 10 pages.

Fight Club

The movie, Fight Club, has many themes dealing with some of the class-discussed
vocabulary. Through a scene by scene, and dialogue-based analysis of the movie, I have
found that these themes are emphasized through discussions, interactions, and non-dialogue
scenes between the main character, his imaginary sidekick and the society that has had
such effect on the main character. Some of these themes or topics that are shared by both
the movie and the class vocabulary appear randomly, sporadically, and repeatedly
throughout the movie. Most of the scenes have mainly to do with the materialism in their
society and its limits on the freedom, which the characters are trying to obtain. Others
deal with how they, the movie's characters, feel a sense of alienation and this alienation
distorts relationships developing due to their self-determination. There is also how
family interactions help to shape our development on our vertical and horizontal
relationships. Then finally, hedonism and how it affects the way we treat each other and
how we interact within society.


All the characters in the movie deal with and dissect these themes, in all that they say
and how they react to the main characters disillusionment with his life; although the main
characters are mostly the ones bringing the themes to the forefront of the movie. This any
man, main character dislikes his life, even to the point that he is unable to sleep. He is
disillusioned with his life, unhappy and does not understand why. And in order to feel
anything he has to make a lot of bad choices to under go a life transformation. This
transformation originates through his interactions and dealings with Tyler Durden, his
alter ego and his imaginary friend. The main character remains without a name until in the
end you, as the movie watcher, are lead to realize that he (the main character) and Tyler
are one in the same, almost on the level of the Trinity. However he goes without a real
name because he is supposed to represent how he could and is Any Man, anybody, and
everybody. But after he, Any Man, has made all these bad choices he has to run around and
try to undo all the horror he has wrought. Any Man started Fight Club, which matured into
Project Mayhem, which then ultimately resulted in the collapse of the institution of their
society. In many ways this movie is an extreme moral movie, with the battle between good
and evil within a person continually going on. Even though, in the end the bad guy dies,
it is only the good guy's sense of the bad guy that is killed. The bad guy never really
existed to kill off. However you are left to believe that he, the good guy/bad guy, gets
away with blowing up the buildings. Of course the movie is really about the causes of
violence and is in fact anti-violence, although it acknowledges those impulses in human
nature.


When the Any Man says, "Losing all hope was freedom," he is referring to the alienation
from the world that he felt in his life, his disillusionment. He, this Any Man, felt his
life was so devoid of anything worthwhile that he distanced himself from the world. His
alienation from his society lead to his materialism, and his obsessions with decorating
his apartment, making it complete. Which kept him from the freedom of living a fulfilling
life, being truly alive. Once his apartment is blown up and all of his possessions are
lost, and he mourns greatly because his possessions were to him, his life, and his proof
that he exists. He begins to understand that he truly doesn't need his belongings through
his transformation thanks to Tyler. He doesn't need these things to be free to live his
life the way he really wanted to.


He meets this woman, Marla, who has the same general outlook on life; she hates hers too.
At first he displays a dislike for her. Then we later realize that she was a positive
influence on his progress in his transformation. Marla states her opinion, in one of the
first scenes where she is introduced to the audience, that people and society are almost
pure self-determined, "When people think your dying they really really listen to you…
instead of waiting for their turn to speak." People are so self-concerned and self
absorbed that they don't really open up to others, this only comes when they believe they
are going to die. This becomes ever so evident in the end of the movie when the Any Man
realizes that he and Tyler Durden are sharing experiences. Even though she thinks that
there is no purpose or meaning to life there is that inherent uncertainty or fear that she
could be wrong. The fact that there could be a God or a final end that her actions could
be accountable too, is why she doesn't take her own life. Fear drives them, both Any Man
and Marla, from crossing the ultimate line.


The movie goes on further to explain the point that hedonism is present in all walks of
life. Society as a whole depends on people being only worthwhile if they are beneficial in
any way. This is the concept that people are only good or have a good use in so far that
they help or do well for the people in question. People have no inherent worthwhile,
quality to their lives unless there is worth according to their utility, based on whether
or not they are beneficial to the producers. One example from the movie is when the Any
Man is talking about what he does for a living. He is explaining how the Car Company he
works for weighs the decision whether or not to do a recall on the cars they make, which
are killing people due to a malfunction. The Car Company will not do a recall on the fact
alone that the car is killing people. The recall won't be done unless the amount of money
they would have to pay out, due to lawsuits, would cost them more than fixing the problem
that killed the people in the first place. Is the person worth more to us dead or alive,
is what they are asking themselves. This is an element of how materialism is directing and
controlling the lives and actions of society in which they live.


Whereas materialism is directly discussed in several scenes and aspects of the movie, the
theme of materialism also ties into the self-determination of society as a whole and
several other themes essential in the movie. The Any Man has a phone conversation with
investigators working on the case of who blew up his apartment. In this conversation the
Any Man gets defensive of whether or not he actually blew up his own apartment. He states
how his stuff was his life, and how his belongings meant so much to his existence and
happiness. Tyler, the alter ego, then states in a discussion with the Any Man, "the things
you own, end up owning you," showing just how materialism can draw you away from your goal
of happiness. This materialism of the Any Man is so severe that he puts his possessions
before anything else in his life, and uses them as a measurement of happiness, and/or his
spirituality, "I was close to being complete." By him having his sofa, stereo that was
almost decent, and his wardrobe that was getting respectable, was how he thought he was in
fact happy. This is characterized in society's value of materialism…what C. S. Lewis
calls putting first things first. The argument of 1st and 2nd principles. Which is if you
end up choosing to put the result before the cause, the 2nd before the 1st, you will end
up losing both the cause and the result. If you place material things higher on your list
than the other and more important matters in life, then you will lose both the ownership
and the freedom, which then will cause you to lose your self-determination, your drive.


Alienation comes into play all throughout the entire movie, and is rehashed several times.
The main themes of alienation in this movie are derived from involvement within family
issues. The movie deals with the corruption of the natural human relationships or the
horizontal relationships. Particularly within the family, the corruption is prevalent
because of divorce and broken homes. This generation of men dealt with, in the movie, not
having many, if any, male role models to base their self-identities as men on. In regards
to marriage these men did not want to be married because they were confused by what they
did not known, how to achieve a married life, and succeed with it. They were completely
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