Study Guide

Fight Club Man and the Natural World

By Chuck Palahniuk

Man and the Natural World

Damascus, the capital of Syria, is credited as the oldest continually inhabited city on earth (source)—it's been around for over 8,000 years. Yowza. Makes us remember that before apartment buildings and shopping malls, highways and train stations, man lived off the land. Living in "civilization" has definitely suppressed man's natural instincts, but not our hunger for power. In Fight Club, Tyler Durden wants to return to the old ways. And we mean the Damascusly old ways, where a man's self-worth is based on physical prowess and survival skills, not on his job title or the car he drives.

Questions About Man and the Natural World

  1. Our narrator blows up his apartment to rid himself of material attachments. Is it necessary to give up material goods to connect with the natural world?
  2. How would our social structure be different if Project Mayhem's goals succeeded and we returned to a primitive, natural lifestyle? Would you want to live in a world like this?
  3. In its later stages, Project Mayhem advocates murder. Is murder a natural part of human life?

Chew on This

Tyler Durden wants to break man's attachment to manmade material objects and reconnect with the natural world, where life is earned, not bought.

The men Tyler recruits are of the clichéd "nothing to lose" type—the "nothing to lose" in this case being material possessions. In their new society where material possessions don't matter, they will be kings.