start a fight

David Fincher’s Fight Club is a fable about postmodern consumer society, loss of masculine identity amongst male gray-collar workers and the social stratification created by our materialistic society. The story line begins with a nameless narrator referred to as Jack, (Edward Norton) explaining to us how exactly he came to know Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who we come to find out in the end is actually the alter ego of our narrator. The “two of them” create a men-only underground boxing club and as Tyler Durden progresses closer to becoming the dominant personality, Fight Club evolves into Project Mayhem, multi-celled secret society of oppressed gray-collar workers. The narrator and Tyler hold conversations as if Tyler was really a person and the narrator tends to refer to his current emotional state with phrases such as “I am Jack’s sense of rejection.” (Fincher 1999) We also come to know Marla Singer, who the narrator met while touring support groups, as the femme fatal that Tyler was sleeping with and antagonized Jack’s relationship to Tyler. She knew him as Tyler because it was he who related to her. Through the whole process, Marla Singer’s role in the narrator’s life eventually causes him to realize that he is the elusive Tyler Durden and he was merely projecting a figment of his imagination.

   Jack spends his days at a job he despises and his nights ransacking mail-order catalogs, desperate to give some meaning to his life all the while giving himself severe insomnia. As Tyler proclaims at a particular session of Fight Club: “We are an entire generation pumping gas – waiting tables – slaves to the white collars. Advertisement has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate, so we can buy shit we don’t need.” (Fincher 1999) These men, gray-collar workers are proletarians, “people who sell their productive labor for wages.” (Macionis 196) In reference to stratification, gray-collar employees are higher than blue-collar employees but are still serving the capitalists above them. They can never achieve the advertised ideal because according to the social-conflict paradigm “stratification provides some people with advantages over others” thus causing an overwhelming sense of alienation due the reality of their powerlessness. (Macionis 196)

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