The Purpose of Violence in Fight Club
The Purpose of Violence in Fight Club
Despite its high levels of violence and a dystopian take on the American capitalist system, Fight Club continues to evoke its role as an influential film in the United States and other international countries. Based on the eponymous novel by Chuck Palahniuk, the motion picture draws on the experiences of the protagonist-cum-antagonist, the Narrator, who advances the film’s plot by creating a nihilistic alter ego (Tyler Durden). Together in a dissociative way, both characters wreak havoc with their ideals of anti-materialism and anti-consumerism. However, in this respect, Fight Club is renowned for the intense amount of violence it depicts in the name of ‘freeing the people from all debts’. The film’s brutality is illustrated by the men that take turns at each other in brawls organized by the narrator and his alter ego, Tyler Durden. Nonetheless, this illustration of violence depicts a higher sense of purpose. Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club reinforces the idea of masculinity through violence.
The violence in the film is seen as an obvious means for the unnamed narrator to express his masculine nature via an activity that is commonly linked to machismo or the presentation of manliness or virility. From the onset of the film, the narrator is going through a bad situation that mainly involves a lack of confidence on his part. He is disappointed concerning his personal as well as professional status in the society and workplace respectively. Additionally, the formal work that he does fails to provide any form of satisfaction for him. Furthermore, his inability to get a good night’s sleep during the night affects his mental capacity. As an outcome, he unknowingly creates a companion named Tyler, who acts as another personality. Through Tyler, the narrator is guided towards a path of raw masculinity through participation in fighting that is carefully developed in order to provide a channel for all his bottled-up testosterone.
Similar to the narrator, violence offers a way of redemption for the other men who take part in the brawls. For them, the activity provides an opening that enables them to vent their frustrations with their personal and official lives. Additionally, the men that take part in the fights are ordinary and easily comparable to the narrator. Some of them include waiters, cab drivers, and limousine drivers. Despite their different occupations, the fight club provides them with an opportunity of equality with one another. The only thing that separates the men is whether they win or lose. Aside from this, the mode of violence serves as an outlet for emotional relief. Based on the way society is represented as a negative community that despises the ordinary person, the men take part in regulated fights in order to reclaim their place in society as men. In this respect, they are free to act as real men from forces such as the police, their and their employers.
Consequently, the purpose of violence in Fight Club involves its role as a medium in reinforcing interactions and stability. Simply, fighting emphasizes on aspects of power relations and social order. Even though this form of violence is thought to allow men normally to ascend over their innocuous existence, it actually sets the norms and rules that the men should follow inside and outside the fight club. The rules that Tyler provides to the men regarding the fight club are a valid example of this particular aim of violence in the motion picture. When the men meet for the first night, Tyler sets a collective of specific regulations that instruct the members generally on maintaining secrecy of the club and the definition of a victory in a brawl. Hence, Tyler is capable of creating regulations that affect the men’s lives to the point that they are unable to reveal their activities even after displaying signs of violence such as cuts, bandages, and bruises.
The aspect of violence also assumes a role in establishing identity. In Fight Club, the participation in night brawls and fights acts as a way for the men to understand their true nature. The motion picture represents the modern man as an emasculated person. This is largely illustrated by the unnamed narrator. Throughout his life as an adult, the narrator has expressed dissatisfaction with his persona and his physique as revealed by his alter ego. Based on Tyler, the unnamed narrator envisioned himself as a rebellious, sexually effective, and street-smart man. Such characteristics clearly describe the qualities of a ‘real’ man. In this respect, the creation of Tyler and the development of the fight club was the unnamed narrator’s way of discovering his identity as a ‘real’ man. This quest to determine the true nature of manhood allowed the narrator to appeal to other men who felt emasculated due to the capitalist and materialistic nature of the society.
Lastly, the purpose of violence in Fight Club involves showing pain as the main emotion that defines a man. Accordingly, a man’s true nature is derived from the painful experiences that he goes through for each day of his life. In the movie, the man has lost his hope. Hence, as a customer (consumer), he feels the need to experience the true sense of personhood, which can be accomplished via pain. Simply, in order for the man to redeem himself, he must go through pain. The scars and bruises that he gains afterwards provide a sense of enlightenment that rewards the man with his true nature as a man. In the end, the bloodied body of the narrator and the representation of Tyler highlight this true sense of being that appeals to other men seeking to gain this newfound glory.
In conclusion, the purpose of violence in Fight Club is explicitly related to masculinity. The men engage in brutal acts via a code in order to redeem themselves from a consumerist society that expects solidarity and blond loyalty. However, this search for true masculinity evolves into acts of nihilism that eventually force the narrator to perceive the demented nature of his alter ego thereby residing into a clash between two different forms of masculinity. In the end, the narrator disposes of his virile nature (as illustrated by Tyler) and embraces his new yet disrupted masculine personality.