Fight Club Analysis

fight club analysis

Fight Club: A philosophical Analysis

Fight Club is a film by David Fincher. It is a disturbing movie which hits spectators by its philosophical radicality. Fight Club questions  our obsessions, our phobias, habits, it shows how our species is manipulated and influenced. The film takes us back to ourselves and to our conscience.

Here is an analysis of this huge movie, from a philosophical point of view.

Fight Club and Consumption

If there is a society that condemns the film is that of consumption, Norton says, “If I saw an ingenious innovation as a coffee table representing the yin and yang, I had to possess it.” Handling suffered Norton is due to the business strategy of creating needs, whether the needs of esteem, of belonging, security, self expression, physiological …

The film takes a critical look at advertising that conveys many messages, in addition to the presentation of the product sold, it gives a certain image of ideological criteria of beauty, men (usually muscular) or women (usually typed anorexic). The scene that best illustrates this rejection is that of Brad Pitt and Edward Norton in the bus. Norton saw an ad for Gucci underpants in a bus, he asked Pitt “That’s what a man should look like? “And it to answer” Self improvement is masturbation, it will destroy itself. “It is this ability to be captured with a sense of being free that Fincher is trying to tell us through his film. The thesis of the film can be represented by the phrase: “For complete freedom, chaotic life is recommended.” Brad Pitt’s character explains this in the reply “I reject all the assumptions of civilization especially the importance of material possessions.”

Fight Club and Identity Problems

The story is grafted on two characters, one respecting the laws of society (the narrator / Edward Norton) and the other not (Tyler Durden / Brad Pitt). Edward Norton plays a technician to call the factory for a major brand of car. He is the narrator and the protagonist of the film include his name is mentioned nowhere in the film, watching the credits do not teach us well, Norton is credited as the narrator.

The problem of identity and the unconscious desire to move away from consumer society pushes him to take nicknames like Cornelius, he uses the association of men with testicular cancer. The narrator, however, provide a name, he said called Jack, this is actually the first name he read in an article of a human organ that speaks in first person: “I am Jack’s colon” .

Norton’s character with schizophrenia. To explain the syndrome and give examples, I will use the Handbook of Psychopathology Guy Besançon. The subject is suffering from schizophrenia:

Delirium: Loses its identity markers, is undergoing an experience of depersonalization (Norton no longer works and needs to feel another man, have another life, being ill), he is hallucinating and interpreting, attitudes of listen to their auditory hallucinations (onset of Tyler). Intellectual disabilities: No real intellectual deterioration, but the intellectual faculties are put to the service of the reorganization of his delusional world (the creation of Fight Club and later Project Chaos). Affective disorders: emotional numbing gives an impression of detachment, coldness. (Relation Tyler / Marla and the narrator / Marla) behavioral disorders: Will these changes reflect emotional and intellectual and delirium. Sexual activity is disrupted (indifference, regression, claim …). Violent acts, or forensic, are possible: self-mutilation (the passage of the acid on the hand in particular), unmotivated violence (one of the missions of Fight Club: creating fights with citizens).

Tyler appears gradually. Before his first real appearance, when the narrator meets on a treadmill at the airport, 4 times Tyler appears very briefly.


Fight Club : Anarchy vs Order

These cameos are the early signs of schizophrenia of the narrator. Tyler is anarchy, the rejection of society. One scene shows Tyler merchant in the gutter and the narrator on the sidewalk, which shows the two opposites, one bending the rules of society and the other not. Their association will lead to the creation of Fight Club, a sort of underground Fight Club which developed into the street and settled in various places open at night specifically for fighting. The Club has eight rules which the first two are most important.

First rule: it is forbidden to talk about Fight Club Second rule: it is forbidden to talk about Fight Club

These two rules convey the rejection of advertising and consumerism. It is worth considering the paradox of these rules, because in spite of themselves, the Fight Club becomes the slave system that is bent on fighting.

What changes in this system will he suffer? After fighting organized illegal in pubs at night, the Fight Club will become an organization fighting for the oppressed. Tasks will be entrusted to members of Fight Club, which gradually will become the starting point of Project Mayhem. It aims to destroy the credit card companies to delete files to debtors that everyone start from scratch, which will produce chaos.

There are two important passages in the film.

The first is the passage of the mutilation, the one where Tyler throws acid on the hand of the Narrator. It’s a key passage when it was realized that the pair actually do one. It allows the development of Fight Club, “is when we realized we lost everything we are free.” The narrator becomes aware of its existence, is released and at the same time frees Tyler (the double), giving it an immense opportunity for action was limited before because of morals inculcated the narrator of our world. This act becomes the means to prove his membership in this group, it becomes a must for members.

The second important passage is the revelation, when the narrator learns that he and Tyler are in fact the same person. He is really aware of the importance of these actions and try to fix it.

Marla Singer (Helena Bonham Carter) is one of the few female representatives of the film. Indeed one can wonder about the integrity of the woman who continues to be criticized: “There is a generation of men raised by women, I’m not sure that another woman is the solution to our problem “. There are no women in the Fight Club and if we stick to a primary reading of the film, the role of Helena Bonham Carter serves only défouloir sex with men full of testosterone.

Fortunately his role is about more than that, it is instead very important for the mental health of the narrator as it retains the Narrator in reality. The trio Marla / Narrator / Tyler form a united bloc, remove one of the elements and everything collapses.

Explanation: If Tyler is present, it is thanks to the delusions of the narrator who brings into existence through a projection of what he wants to be. Tyler is the narrator for a bridge between the real world that allows it to interact with others, and the delusional world of the sick man played by Edward Norton.

Marla is the first person that mimics the narrator and lies in attending meetings of dying. The narrator thought to be the one and only to do so, but it is not. Worse, it deals with it a market, each is split sessions so that both of them can enjoy moments of solitude with sick people. However, they will meet again several times, it will lead the meetings. She calls him first when she swallowed drugs and makes it clear that it’s just a cry for help, then it because she has a breast rotting and asked him to come check it out. His many contacts allow the narrator to stay inked in reality and not get lost in obsessive delusions that could cost him his sanity.


Cite this article as: Tim, "Fight Club Analysis, May 3, 2012, " in Philosophy & Philosophers, May 3, 2012,

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