Study Guide

Fight Club Violence

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NARRATOR: We have front-row seats for this theater of mass destruction.

At the beginning of the movie (which because of its flashback structure is actually the end of the movie) we learn that the main goal of whoever is running the show in this movie is destruction. That sets the tone for this violent opus.

TYLER: One can make all kinds of explosives using simple household items.

The significance of this is important (check out our section on the symbol of soap). This isn't just any destruction; it's a homegrown destruction, like a grassroots movement that's less political progress and more fertilizer bomb.

TYLER: I want you to do me a favor. […] I want you to hit me as hard as you can.

Only to Tyler Durden, a man who craves annihilation, would getting punched be considered a "favor."

TYLER: How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?

Tyler believes that fighting is the great equalizer. It's just one man against another. Survival of the fittest, baby.

TYLER: I don't want to die without any scars.

Tyler doesn't believe that people should be living their "safe" little lives. He thinks that safety keeps people from experiencing the highest highs and the lowest lows that life can offer. Why avoid anything in this great buffet of life, even if it hurts?

NARRATOR: After fighting, everything else in your life got the volume turned down. You could deal with anything.

Like we said, fighting gives people one of the highest highs. The pain. The thrill of victory and companionship. All other aspects of life being dull by comparison. As a result, fight club becomes an addiction.

NARRATOR: You weren't alive anywhere like you were there.

Because fight club is an addiction, and it makes people feel alive, the men start seeking more thrills, and bigger ones. They want to feel even more alive than ever before.

TYLER: It'll hurt more than you've ever been burned, and you will have a scar.

When Tyler says he doesn't want to die without a scar, he's not kidding. The lye burn, a permanent chemical branding, is one of the most painful looking scars we've ever seen.

TYLER: Stay with the pain. Don't shove this out.

This refers to Tyler's quote about not wanting to die without any scars. He's creating emotional scars too, but he believes that only through physical pain can a person achieve enlightenment.

TYLER: You're gonna go out, and you're gonna start a fight with a total stranger […] and you're gonna lose.

Tyler's first homework assignment seems like the antithesis of fight club, which is about, well, fighting. But this is a great assignment for two reasons: 1) It helps members learn what it's like to lose. 2) It helps recruit other people who might not join fight club, by giving them an initial taste of victory.

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