John Ho

Fight Club

By: Chuck Palahniuk

Rating: 4 Stars

1. Synopsis

The narrator is in a bad state; he hates his job and has insomnia, which is the struggle to sleep. He attends these meetings of people who suffer from testicular cancer and lets out his emotions with the sick people and he is again able to sleep after this. At these meetings, he meets Marla Singer and he can’t focus because she’s like him in the way who just attends these meetings although they are not sick themselves. Then, he meets Tyler Durden and spends time together because the narrator’s apartment was blown up. Then the two fight and then men come and join these two, starting a club called “fight club”. There are several rules to this fight club and they are: 1. You don’t talk about fight club, 2. You don’t talk about fight club, 3. Two men per fight, 4. One fight at a time, 5. No shoes and shirts in the fight, 6. The fights go on as long as they have to, 7. If its your first time at fight club, you have to fight, and 8. When someone says stop, the fight is over.

Soon enough, the group has grown rapidly. Although the idea was originally the narrator’s, Tyler Durden takes the credit of it. He creates another group called Project Mayhem, doing acts to vandalize the city and destroy modern life. The rules of Project Mayhem is: 1. You don’t talk about it, 2. You don’t ask questions, 3. No excuses, 4. No lies, 5. You have to trust in Tyler. The narrator doesn’t like this group and tries to convince Tyler to stop. Tyler wants to die as a martyr and plans to destory Parker-Morris building with bombs implanted in the building. The two men meet at a rooftop and Tyler points a gun at the narrator but he vanishes, leaving the narrator by himself. At that moment, he finds out that Tyler is not his friend or another person, Tyler is another personality of himself, a hallucination. As he waits for the bomb to explode, the bombs planted on the building malfunctions and the narrator chooses to shoot himself. Despite Tyler’s death, the rest of Project Mayhem decide to continue the deeds of this group and expect Tyler to come back.

2. Personal Response              

I thought this book was an amazing and brilliant book. The words were very vivid and descriptive and it was

 very entertaining. I think I was really into this book because it had more of a male feel to it with the topic of fighting, violence, and a kind of freakiness in a way. I also have seen the movie version of this book, which I recommend to watch after reading this book. The book doesn’t show the characters as angst-ridden as the movie. I honestly was kind of surprised by some of the aspects of this book such as using the character of Robert Paulson, who was a man that lost his testicles because using too much steroids. It was just disturbing thinking of a man with breasts and a really high voice or a man losing his testicles.

3. Critical Analysis

The author used a lot of odd characteristics, such as insomnia, being obsessed with how one’s room looks like, and testicular cancer. All in all, these uses of odd characteristics worked well. One of the main themes is masculinity. He uses a lot of more male-related words. Words like testicles, fight, and words of violence like guns and bombs are important words in this novel. This book shows men that are trying to find a more important purpose in their lives by ways of Fight Club and Project Mayhem.

4. Biological Information About Chuck Palahniuk

Charles Michael “Chuck” Palahniuk was born on Februrary 21, 1962. He is an American fiction writer and also a journalist. He has won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award in 1997 for Fight Club, Oregon Book Award for Best Novel also in 1997 for Fight Club, Oregon Book Award for Best Novel for Survivor in 1999, Bram Stoker Award for Best Novel for Lullaby in 2002 and Haunted in 2005, and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award for Lullaby in 2003.

Palahniuk was born in Pasco, Washington and raised in Burbank, Washington. He attended the University of Oregon School of Journalism. He had many numerous jobs, such being a journalist, a diesel mechanic, and volunteering a at a hospice. He started writing fiction when he was in his mid thirties. His biggest inspirer was Tom Spanbauer. In the beginning of his writing career, he struggled to achieve literary success until his publication of Fight Club. In 1999, he lost his father, Fred Palahniuk. Hs father’s girlfriend, Donna Fontaine, had sent her ex-boyfriend to jail for sexual abuse. In vengeance, Fontaine’s ex-boyfriend shot the couple and burned them in a house. He claims he is a romantic writer but people see him as a nihilist.


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