NARRATOR: Like so many others, I had become a slave to the IKEA nesting instinct.
Our narrator spends his nights flipping through furniture catalogs and ordering tons of stuff…but it doesn't make him happy at all. No wonder he blows the place up later.
NARRATOR: Marla's philosophy of life was that she might die at any moment. The tragedy, she said, was that she didn't.
Marla is unhappy with life for a much more vague reason. With her, we never get insight into why she's dissatisfied with life…just that she is.
NARRATOR: Everywhere I travel, tiny life—single-serving sugar, single-serving cream, single pat of butter. […] Shampoo-conditioner combos. Sample package mouthwash. Tiny bars of soap. The people I meet on each flight, they're single-serving friends.
Our narrator equates people with stuff, which is a sad thought. But since he views himself as being made of stuff (like IKEA) it's not a surprising comparison coming from him.
NARRATOR: How embarrassing. A house full of condiments and no food.
This is really sad, and it shows us how our narrator doesn't have anything going on under the surface. He's all ketchup and no meat.
NARRATOR: I had a stereo that was very decent. A wardrobe that was getting very respectable. I was close to being complete.
At first, our narrator is upset that he lost all his stuff. His detached way of speaking about it can be chalked up to shock. But as Tyler later tells him, "The things you own end up owning you." He'll later realize this disappointment is a blessing in disguise.
MARLA: I got this dress as a thrift store for one dollar. […] It's a bridesmaids dress. Someone loved it intensely for one day then tossed it like a Christmas tree. So special. Then, bam: it's on the side of the road, tinsel still clinging to it. Like a sex crime victim, underwear inside out, bound with electrical tape.
This is Marla's big monologue, and maybe it explains a little bit of her dissatisfaction with life. She's tired of being used and tossed away, which is why she can relate to those qualities in her secondhand-store dress.
TYLER: I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see it squandered.
This is what Tyler is upset the most about life. He believes that men aren't being allowed to live up to their full potential, and that the only way to live up to potential is through primal strength.
TYLER: Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy s*** we don't need.
One thing Tyler is very unhappy with is capitalism. He's tired of being a pawn in a machine that turns people into commodities, that churns them up and spits them out.
TYLER: We have no great war. No great depression. Our great war's a spiritual war. Our great depression is our lives.
Tyler's solution to this problem is to start a war: one against society itself, not another country.
TYLER: You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everything else.
Tyler uses this harsh dose of reality as motivation for fight club members to turn their lives around. Real inspiring, eh?