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Fight Club

Essay by   •  March 10, 2011  •  Essay  •  1,294 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,008 Views

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What makes a man? Is it his clothes, car, or house? Is a man today nothing more than what he owns and the buying power he has? Are we "free" only to buy more crap? Ask most people these questions and most of them will say no, that objects are just superficial things, that what a man has inside him is what counts. But just take a look at what our culture preaches everyday. We idolize the have's to an almost obsessive point, and, while most of us belong to this latter group, try to avoid the have-not's as much as possible. While most refuse to believe it, our society has made the point, it seems, that to be successful in life today one has to have the best of everything. Has it always been this way?

Quite ironically, Hollywood released a movie that challenged all of this in the movie Fight Club. This movie questions the rampant materialism and many more of today's "modern" morals, offering up a quite destructive solution. The strongest overall theme of this movie is by destroying ourselves along with everything that society holds dear and basically breaking our whole notion of what we know down to nothing, we will be able to find true meaning in our lives. Some other criticisms this movie makes on contemporary American culture is the pointlessness of men's lives today and the emasculating of our culture. Can violent actions such as the ones portrayed in Fight Club ever be justified? Is Tyler/Jack actually fighting for good? Are the participants of "Project Mayhem" nothing more than terrorists or can their actions ever be condoned? I think that while the actions in this film are certainly extreme, many of the goals behind the terrorism are quite noble.

"The things you own end up owning you." A powerful statement made early on in the film by Tyler that, if one pays attention, is an underlying theme to the whole movie. This short little statement has a huge meaning. When Tyler says this he is speaking to Jack after his house and all his possessions have been blown up and all Jack can think about is that all his stuff is gone. The way Jack is talking in this scene it is almost as if when Jack's stuff was destroyed he was destroyed with it. Jack up to that point was his possessions. This is when Tyler says this little piece of wisdom, trying to make the point all the stuff Jack lost is just that, stuff.

The saying " the things you own end up owning you" is an extension of the film's argument's against the materialist/consumerist aspects of today's society. By constantly obsessing over our possessions, we become servants to our obsessions, in essence, our possessions. But this is what we are taught to do no matter where you look today. No matter where you look, all forms of today's media are constantly inundating us with this one message; buy more, happiness is only a credit card purchase away. It's okay if you can't afford it, just make the minimum payment and that crappy TV. You bought will be yours in 35 years!

This rampant consumerism has led many Americans to get into deep debt trying to buy happiness. Worse yet, by worshiping at the alter of materialism, we have emphasized class boundaries in America today.

While only an underlying theme to the movies message, there is a definite aspect of class war in Fight Club. The ultimate goal of Project Mayhem was to destroy corporate culture, the bourgeoisie of today, and erase the debt of the proletariat. While Project Mayhem probably went further than what most would justify, I believe that the goals of the project are themselves noble. In country that pride itself on social equality, economic mobility, and a classless society of sorts, the social and economic inequalities that exist today should be reprehensible. Over the past thirty years the upper classes have seen incredible gains in their yearly incomes while at the same time those at the bottom have seen an actual decline in real dollars in their yearly incomes. The final goal of Project Mayhem, to destroy all financial records, would certainly help to wipe out all traces of this division of class. While this could be thought of as noble, do the ends justify the means? Do such acts of destruction, which involve no deaths, deserve to be called terrorism? Questions such as these don't really have



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