American poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, once said “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Brainy Quote). In a world where society rules over a person’s thoughts and actions, Ralph says that individuality is the greatest accomplishment. A great piece of work that takes Ralph’s words to whole new meaning is Chuck Palahniuk’s novel, Fight Club. In the novel, Palahniuk delivers the story through the narration of the unnamed protagonist, who is an average man living in the modern world, but unfortunately suffers from insomnia. His insomnia forces him to search for a cure, which he strangely finds out the cure is attending multiple support groups, which miraculously allows him to sleep. All is well for the protagonist until a woman with a similar idea as the narrator, Marla Singer, ruins this for him, forcing him to look for another cure which he finds out is going against the expectations of society, following the creation of the fight club.
In Fight Club, Palahniuk provides a social commentary on escaping the social standards that society imposes on the many people living in the modern world through his excellent use of characters and critical events throughout the novel. The rebellion against the standards of society in Fight Club is revealed through the narrator’s alter ego as Tyler Durden, the creation of the fight club, and the events of project mayhem. In Fight Club, Palahniuk expresses his social commentary on escaping the social standards of society through the use of the narrator’s alter ego as Tyler Durden. One of the conflicts in the narrator’s story is how he must deal with Tyler Durden. Tyler shows the narrator a new way to live his life, releasing him from the standards given to him by society. In one particular sequence in the novel, Tyler gives a speech to the members of the fight club about who they are in society: “We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we’ll be millionaires and movie stars, but we won’t.
And we’re just learning this fact” (159). Tyler’s speech is crucial in revealing Fight Club’s commentary on escaping the standards that society imposes on people, as he shows that he is self aware, describing exactly what society forces people to believe and why they will not fully succeed in getting what they want in life because it is false. The story continues with the narrator admiring Tyler’s wisdom and essentially wanting to become like Tyler: “I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage and his smarts. His nerve. Tyler is funny and charming and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free, and I am not” (165). The narrator’s description of Tyler is as if Tyler is almost perfect with the most desirable traits for a man living in the modern world. An interesting point the narrator makes is when he says Tyler is “free” he is talking about how Tyler abandons what society considers to be normal and in return achieves freedom through independence and living how he wants without the restraints of society imposes on men.
The social commentary on the rebellion against the standards of society is further revealed in Fight Club through Tyler and the narrator’s creation of the fight club. Earlier in the novel, the narrator explains the emotions of the new members of the fight club and why they join it: “Most guys are at fight club because of something they’re too scared to fight. After a few