Study Guide

Fight Club Love

By Chuck Palahniuk


That old saying, how you always kill the one you love, well, look, it works both ways. (1.16)

Um, we definitely haven't heard this saying before, but it makes us look at the relationships in Fight Club in a different way. If you love the one you kill, that means our narrator truly loves the Tyler side of his personality. Also, it's a good thing he simply likes Marla or she would be dead, too. Of course, she wants to die, so maybe that's a bad thing.

We have sort of a triangle thing going here. I want Tyler. Tyler wants Marla. Marla wants me. (1.36)

Here's a saying we have heard—"If you can't love yourself, how the hell you gonna love somebody else?" And this is why our narrator wants Tyler so bad. He just wants to be able to love himself.

This isn't about love as in caring. This is about property as in ownership. (1.37)

The characters in Fight Club don't have a very positive view of love. It's pretty clear that they see it as a controlling force. And by their reactions to society, we know they don't appreciate being controlled one bit.

This was therapeutic physical contact, Chloe said. We should all choose a partner. (2.54)

It's not immediately apparent this early in the book, but our narrator doesn't have any friends or romantic relationships. He never mentions any past girlfriends. Maybe Chloe's suggestion to choose a partner is a subtle hint that a romantic relationship might do him some good.

I tell Tyler, Marla Singer doesn't need a lover, she needs a care worker. Tyler says, "Don't call this love." (7.70)

Here's one place where our narrator and the Tyler side of his personality agree: they are not—repeat: not—in love with Marla Singer. Hmmm, we think the multiple personalities doth protest too much.

Even if someone loves you enough to save your life, they still castrate you. (8.54)

Marla is talking about the love between a dog and his owner. But we have to wonder if this is part of the whole love-denial thing our narrator and Tyler have going on. Will being in love with a woman make them less of a man?

There are a lot of things we don't want to know about the people we love. (13.34)

Like, say, they use our parent's fat to make soap. Or they have multiple personalities. We don't want to know that. But doesn't not knowing make a weak relationship that isn't built on trust?

"Even the good kind that don't run [...] they snag." (14.16)

Marla's talking about pantyhose here, but she could also be talking about men. Even if they don't run away, it doesn't mean the relationship is smooth sailing. Who knew pantyhose and men were so similar?

There's Marla, and she's in the middle of everything and doesn't know it. And she loves you. She loves Tyler. She doesn't know the difference. (27.23-27.26)

Marla's one of the rare people who loves both aspects of our narrator's personality—the front he puts on for society and the primal urges he exercises through the Tyler side. She even forgives the soap-making part of him. Despite what she says, that's love.

"It's not love or anything. [...] But I think I like you too." (29.50)

In the world of Fight Club, "like" might be more of an achievement than "love." Love and hate are close bedfellows. However, our narrator dislikes practically everything. Saying he "likes" Marla is a big deal for him.