Fight Club; the Self-Destruction Guide for the Emasculated Man
During an era where bookshelves are stacked with feel-good stories, self-help guides, and The YaYa Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Chuck Palahniuk penned a story full of nitty-gritty nihilism, and anti-materialism. This story is titled Fight Club. Fight Club is a short novel that chronicles an unnamed man who copes with an emasculated, self-obsessed, consumerist society, by creating an alter-ego named Tyler Durden. Throughout Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk presents the major theme of the emasculation of man by deploying the supporting themes of father abandonment issues, anti-materialism, and nihilism, depicted through the characters of Mr. X (the unnamed main character), and his alter ego Tyler Durden.
Throughout the entire novel there is a desperate cry for a father figure, cry for some sort of masculine figure to model themselves after. Fight Club presents the abandonment of the father figure within society, leaving, “…A generation of men raised by women.”Both Mr. X and Tyler Durden’s fathers were absent through most of their lives. At one point Mr. X says, “Me, I knew my dad for about 6 years, but I don’t remember anything. My dad started a new family in a new town about every 6 years. This isn’t so much like a family as it’s like he sets up franchises.” Mr. X goes on to say, “My father never went to college so it was really important I go to college. After college, I called him long distance and said, now what? My dad didn't know, so he said get a job. When I got a job and turned twenty-five, long distance, I said, now what? My dad didn't know, so he said, get married. I'm a thirty-year-old boy, and I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer I need." These passages show how even though his father has abandoned him, Mr. X still strives to find some sort of a masculine role-model in his father, but is left feeling like an emasculated “thirty-year-old boy”.