Your assignment is to prepare and submit a paper on masculinity and fight club. Masculinity allows Palahniuk to unveil problems and weaknesses of pop culture and place a modern man in this new society. The main character, an unnamed narrator, suffers from depression and anxiety caused by poor job conditions and low salary. It assumes that a line of demarcation can be clearly drawn between tyranny and liberation, between inside and outside, and works to reify these binary oppositions. To some extend, fatally mortgaged to bourgeois individualism, it insists (like so many twelve-step programs) that one can obtain a cure by an act of will (which looks to me far more like an act of repression). Thesis The theme of masculinity helps the author to depict the culture of violence, cruelty and oppression created by pop culture and its values.
For as the narrative makes clear, the sexual identity is finally revealed to be fictive, which is to say, strictly relational and dependent upon the roles assigned the participants by a particular scenario. The narrator describes his state as: “This week the insomnia is back. Insomnia, and now the whole world figures to stop by and take a dump on my grave “(Palahniuk 1999, p. 88). In becoming a spectacle, “another man,” the main character accedes to the new economy of desire that insists on the unique nature of identities. It also bears witness to the vexed relation between the political and the sexual in American culture and the fact that queer identities at once disrupt the binary opposition between the public and the private and reinforce the belief that the private is the central determining feature, not just of subjectivity, but of the social as well (Connell, 2005).
The symbol of the fight club is the main image of masculinity which reflects a true nature of human relations and social values. The rules of the Fight Club are described as: “The first rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club. The second rule of fight club is you don’t talk about fight club” (Palahniuk 1999, p. 87). According to the logic of identification, the male subject, as Palahniuk so clearly suggests, can be defined as identifies with and is possessed by ‘”an other”. For as a subject, the narrator is always split into a masculine-and sadistic-half that delights in displaying his prowess and his marksmanship, and a feminine-and masochistic-half that delights in being used as a target. His project, as man and as writer, is to master the femininity that constantly gets in his way, the femininity at which he aims and does not aim, to write his way “out.”
Similar to the narrator, other characters are also involved in masculine culture and cannot avoid its impact and social significance. Tyler Durden and Robert “Bob” Paulson reflect masculinity and become a part of mass culture. For Tyler Durden, among all the ostensibly revolutionary projects, none is more important than their subversion of the differences between the public and the private spheres.