The First Rule of Fight Club

The First Rule of Fight Club
This paper compares and contrasts two protagonists in Chuck Palahnuk’ novel Fight Club. In other words, the character traits of the narrator and Tyler Durden are compared and contrasted. Worth mentioning, the main protagonist is the narrator and remains anonymous. The narrator represents a modern day ordinary man or employee that is extremely depressed and struggling to keep up with life. On the other hand, Durden is a depiction of a man struggling to make ends meet by overworking. Durden is one of the co-founders of Fight Club. Noteworthy, at the end of the novel, Durden turns to be the main antagonist as he opposes the narrator. The alienated narrator leaves his dull job after meeting Tyler Durden, an industrious young man who stages boxing matches in the basement of bars.
The novel focuses on the narrator whose job description entails determining whether car recalls are necessary or not. The narrator is generally disillusioned with his lifestyle as well as how consumerism has shaped his life to be like everyone else. His mental anguish results in severe depression and insomnia, a condition that he manages by attending support groups for various mental health conditions. The narrator’s therapy is rendered ineffective after another pretender, Marla Singer, joins the same support groups. After realizing that Singer was faking hers condition, he withholds opening up, thereby, negatively affecting his emotions to the extent that his sleep cycle is affected.
The comparison of the character traits of two protagonists in Fight Club furthers our understanding of various themes and literal styles used in the story. These characters share several traits. The Fight Club is born from their realization that they could release their mental stress through boxing. In this regard they both emerge as opportunistic. The narrator is also depicted as an opportunist in the sense that he moves from one support group to the other to release his anguish and gain pleasure by witnessing people that have much worse problems that himself. Ironically, he complains about consumerism but he stops at nothing to capitalize or exploit any opportunity that comes his way. The Narrator and Tyler Durden co-founded the fight club. From this initiative, is arguable that they are entrepreneurial and visionary. The characters differ in several ways. As the Fight Club gains popularity, Durden forms Project Mayhem to counter consumerism and topple civilization. This is an illustration that Durden is cunning and a good schemer. He manages to brainwash and recruit other fierce fighter into project mayhem with ease. This is attributed to the fact that he is gullible and highly convincing than the narrator.
In agreement with Wartenberg (41), both protagonists have deep-seated issues depicting the nature of the contemporary society. The central theme is that of an everyman struggling to his lost life. The narrator obsessed and estranged. In contrast, Tyler is violent, revolutionary and deceitful. At one point, the narrator says, “Tyler is capable and free, and I am not” (Palahniuk 23). These similarities and differences relate to various social issues, including capitalism, unemployment and mental health. The two characters are symbolically used by the author to tap the power of critical and creative thinking in the audience to aIDress the issues without mentioning real life culprits. Divulging, for example, there has been employee outcry about stressing job conditions in manufacturing firms like Toyota, GM and many others. The same firms have also registered recalls in the recent past. The narrator and Durden represent two sides of the same coin. They represent various socio-economic issues faced by the community. Their friendship at the beginning is an illustration of how people can be united by misery irrespective of their demographics. Quite often, members of the society unite to fight what they perceive as social ills. However, after achieving their hiIDen agenda, they split their paths. The narrator is accommodated by Durden after losing his house. Arguably, there is a very thin line between activisms and radicalism. Using the analogy of terrorism, some terrorist organizations are often at one point part of a genuine course but groupthink and radicalization of the youth results in terrorist bombings. The narrator and Durden, and later other men use the Fight Club to fight everything that they opposed in their lives
In summary, the narrator and Durden are one but not the same. The protagonist is confused to the extent that he does not differentiate between dream and reality. The protagonist faces different challenges in real life from the challenges in his dreams. This conflict in character brings the subject of appearance and reality. The protagonist is torn in between dreams and reality. The use of personality disorder is symbolic and depicts the challenges faced by the society. It is also a depiction of struggling individual in search of relief.

Works Cited
Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1996. Print.
Wartenberg, Thomas E. Fight Club. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2012. Print.

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