by Chuck Palahniuk
There are a few other minor characters scuttling around in Fight Club. They're not part of fight club or Project Mayhem, but they have an impact on our narrator's life and the story, so they're worth checking out.
Aside from the major players, Tyler gives us the names of a few others:
• His fellow waiters: Albert, Len, Jerry, and Leslie.
• Walter, the guy from Microsoft who takes an interest in our narrator's injuries.
• Raymond K. Hessel, the convenience store worker who almost becomes a human sacrifice.
Yep, that's about it.
So what do all these named individuals have in common? For starters, it seems our narrator only gives us the names of people in his economic class or below. Why? Maybe because, according to Tyler and Project Mayhem, names have power. People in power don't need any more, so why talk about them by name? They think of the people below them as objects, so Tyler's just returning the favor.
Raymond K. Hessel
So what about this guy who gets a first name, a last name, and an initial? Raymond is on the receiving end of Tyler's main message: stop conforming to what society wants you to be, and work toward what you want to be. Tyler tells him, "I'd rather kill you than see you working a shit job for just enough money to buy cheese and watch television" (20.52). Forceful enough? We don't get to follow up on Raymond K. Hessel, but here's hoping he's achieving his dreams and buying some good cheese. Like Blue Stilton or something.
Here are a few people whose names we don't know:
• The president of the projectionists' union
• The manager of the Pressman Hotel
• Our narrator's boss
• The rich people in the pee-in-perfume story.*
What do these people all have in common? Power.
Our narrator doesn't have a problem with his boss on any personal level. He actually feels pity for him. In his opinion, the boss is a slave to pointless routine, wearing certain color ties on certain days of the week. While our narrator is fantasizing about the power he feels during fight club, "[His] boss tells Microsoft how he chose a particular shade of pale cornflower blue for an icon" (6.19). We're probably supposed to be thinking, the boss may be in power, but what purpose does his life serve?
And that's why Tyler chooses his boss for a human sacrifice. (Totally natural reaction, right?) Our narrator is conflicted about it, saying, "I sort of liked my boss. [...] Except Tyler didn't like my boss" (26.32-34). He wasn't a bad person, but in Tyler's eyes, he was hardly a person at all. He let society's arbitrary rules run his life. And to Tyler, that's a fate worse than death. In fact, to Tyler, death is a mercy to that kind of person.
* Their names, Nina and Walter, do slip out in the end, when their relationship has dissolved into anarchy and they've been brought down a few notches.