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Structuralism in Palahniuk's Fight Club

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by

David St Peter

on 7 May 2013

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Transcript of Structuralism in Palahniuk's Fight Club

Narratology Binary Oppositions Grounded in structural linguistics Theoretical Lens: Structuralism Applied to
Fight Club Structure vs. Destruction Masculinity vs Emasculation By: David St. Peter Structuralism in Fight Club Vladimir Propp - Russian folk tales
Paul Vehvilainen simplified into a five-point system
Ex: Young Goodman Brown, A Midsummer Night's Dream,...others? Binary Oppositions Narrator - Structure
Apartment
Job
Travel Emasculation of society - IKEA & Consumerism
Situates himself away from masculine roles of provider and producer
Tyler becomes a projection of ideal masculinity
Once driven by consumer desires, the narrator becomes driven by destruction Roland Barthes - minimal pairs
Recognize the codes or binary oppositions to determine the meaning
Example Binaries
Good vs. Evil
Light vs. Dark
Man vs. Woman 1. A lack of something exists.
2. This lack forces the hero to go on a quest to eliminate the lack.
3. On the quest, the hero encounters a magical helper
4. The hero is subjected to one of more tests
5. After having passed the test, the hero receives a reward Tyler - Destruction
Knowledge
House
Project Mayhem Conscious vs Unconscious Narrator is the conscious
Controls the body
Makes decisions Tyler is the unconscious
Controls the body when the narrator believes he is sleeping
Movie projectionist Dialogue
When Tyler is talking, Palahniuk uses quotation marks. When the narrator is speaking to Tyler, there are no quotations, as if the narrator is speaking to his own subconscious "You weren't really fighting me," Tyler says. "You said so yourself. You were fighting everything you hate in life."
But I can see you.
"You're asleep."
But you're renting a house. You held a job. Two jobs.
Tyler says, "Order your canceled checks from the bank. I rented the house in your name." (p. 167). "I wanted to destroy everything beautiful I'd never have" (p. 123). Narratology 1. A lack of something exists. 2. This lack forces the hero to go on a quest to eliminate the lack. 3. On the quest, the hero encounters a magical helper 4. The hero is subjected to one of more tests 5. After having passed the test, the hero receives a reward The narrator lacks sleep. Narrator goes to support groups Tyler Durden. Creating fight club Challenging Tyler
Shooting himself "The second I fall asleep, Tyler takes over and something terrible will happen.
And if I do fall asleep, Marla has to keep track of Tyler. Where he goes. What he does. So maybe during the day, I can rush around and undo the damage."
(p. 175) Somebody far far away yells, "You know the speech Mr. Durden. Don't fuck with fight club." The warm hand is cupped under you. The cold tip of the knife. An arm wraps around your chest.
(p. 191) Challenging the traditional narrative
Is the narrator truly rewarded?
He goes to a mental hospital, seemingly free from his destructive split personality, yet the chaos Tyler designed is still in motion. Because every once in a while, somebody brings me my lunch tray and my meds and he has a black eye and he says:
"We miss you Mr. Durden."
Or somebody with a broken nose pushes a mop past me and whispers:
"Everything's going according to the plan." (p. 208)
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