Study Guide

Fight Club Religion

By Chuck Palahniuk


Where would Jesus be if no one had written the gospels? (1.41)

If you read enough good literature—which we know you will—you'll see that a lot of people ask this question: where would great figures be if no one had written about them? Is it possible that Tyler is a Jesus figure for a new generation? (Check out his "Character Analysis" for more on this.)

I was squeezed in the dark between Bob's new sweating tits that hang enormous, the way we think of God's as big. (2.1)

We're not sure how many people sit around thinking of the size of God's breasts, but this is definitely an interesting image. Bob, with his bosomy bear hug, is a nurturing figure, and equating Bob with God (same number of letters!) makes God appear to be nurturing, too. And able to rock the Victoria's Secret fashion show.

In another picture, people calm as Hindu cows reach up from their seats toward oxygen masks sprung out of the ceiling. (3.17)

Fight Club might be a sneakily religious book, but it doesn't mean it's reverent. Here, our narrator mocks Zen calmness in the face of danger.

My chakras stay closed. (4.45)

Religion can be a communal experience, but not for our narrator. He's resistant toward anything that requires him to interact with other people. Curmudgeonly, much?

I write little HAIKU things and FAX them around to everyone. When I pass people in the hall at work, I get totally ZEN right in everyone's hostile little FACE. (8.2)

Only our narrator is able to make Zen Buddhism into a contact sport.

I'm enlightened now. You know, only Buddha-style behavior. (8.70)

In his own weird way, our narrator manages to pervert the pacifist ideals of Buddhism but achieve the same cathartic results. Who needs meditation when you can get the same release by breaking some dude's nose?

"Your father was your model for God." (18.46)

Our narrator's father comes across as distant—and kind of a jerk—so it's no wonder he thinks of God in a similar fashion.

"Believe in me and you shall die, forever." (18.121)

Tyler is almost a Jesus figure, but a perverse one. Whereas Christianity promises eternal life, Tyler promises eternal death. Of course to him, death is an honor. Only in death do the members of Project Mayhem achieve recognition.

You can't teach God anything. (30.24)

Our narrator has kind of given up here. Mainly, he's given up on Project Mayhem and his attempt to make a change. Both his father and the upper-class could be models for God, and our narrator has decided that they'll never learn new tricks.