Independent Reading Response Fight ClubChuck PalahniukIndependent

Independent Reading Response: Fight Club-Chuck PalahniukIndependent Reading Response: Fight Club-Chuck Palahniuk Essay, Research Paper

First Reaction:

The novel was intentionally confusing and hard to follow due to its nonlinear structure. It was thoroughly enjoyable and upon completion it generated many questions in my mind, as well as thoughts of my own life and the decisions I make.


Fight Club excited me, scared me and even angered me. These emotions were not negative, simply pure and raw. The scenes of fighting and mayhem caused me to become angry and excite, while the interaction between Tyler Durden and the main protagonist (he has no name in the novel) caused me to think about my life and my own social position in it.


The main protagonist is a insomniac, who works a fairly average job as a car wreck analyst for a major motor company. He needs a release which he initially discovers in clinics for those with physical and mental disorders. He meets Marla Singer through these clinics and finds that she can be no part of them if they can still be successful in helping him. It is at this point he meets Tyler Durden, a film projectionist, waiter, and owner of a small soap company, The Paper Street Soap Company. The protagonist loses his apartment in an explosion and moves in w/ Tyler. Together they form Fight Club, a secret after hours boxing club in the basement of a bar. Tyler meets Marla and she becomes a regular resident at the home of the protagonist. Fight Club soon turns into Project Mayhem and works it way out of the basement of the bar and across the nation. The level of mischief increases, the number of members sky rockets, and Tyler becomes a god. The soap company is run by members of Fight Club 24 hours a day and is simply a front for their true operation of Project Mayhem. The novel climaxes when the protagonist realizes that he himself is Tyler Durden, that he as split personalities. Tyler is simply his means of escape, his mental projection of the way he wants to be. It is in his insomnia that Tyler is born, and so he realizes that he must work against time to stop Tyler, because Project Mayhem has gotten out of hand. The story ends with a dramatic battle between the character?s two personalities.

Visual Images:

The most image intensive scene was when Tyler kissed the protagonist?s hand and poured lye on it to produce a chemical burn. Tyler continued with a instense monologue describing his feelings on ultimate freedom from our consumer driven society.


The book reminds me of my lack to which I challenged others as a young child. I was very pacifistic and now I would if I should have taken a stand more often.

Thoughts, Ideas:

Fight Club rose many political and social statements. It dealt with the ideas of our consumer driven society and the oppression the everyday blue collar worker faces. It then proceed to investigate the idea of letting all of that go, ?hitting bottom?, finding real freedom from the pressures of life and capitalism. For the men of Fight Club it became their outlet, their means of escape, a way of life.

Selection of textual elements:

As the book progressed I was drawn into the surprising idea that something as simple and primal as fighting could be such a release for the men in Fight Club. I soon began to connect the characters suffering to events in my life and I realized how something so basic could help these men.

Judgment of importance:

The most important word would be sacrifice. The phrase being ?hitting bottom? is the result of sacrifice and therefore is crucial. To fit hand in hand the most important idea is that of sacrifice and giving up our mental state and physical possessions.

Identification of problems:

There didn?t seem to be any words in the text that confused me. The structure of the novel and scenes of thought that the protagonist has through the book confuse me the most. One scene would jump to the next without notice and hold no real connection to the previous scene. The character?s thoughts were sporadic and obscure. By the end of the novel they began to make sense and became thoroughly enjoyable.


The author seems to be someone with a clear view of the world, the way it works and his role in the big scheme of things. He is probably very laid back and simply makes his political and social statements through his novels and not in a public manner.

Patterns of Response:

My response was both heavily emotional and intellectual. The book challenged me to question my social standing and my emotional state. I was totally immersed in the text, the whole time wondering the outcome and rise questions of the characters, myself and the themes.

Other readings:

I have no partner, therefore leading my to compare this novel to others I have read. It was unlike any other book I have read in its literary structure, but in many ways the content was the same.


I thought this novel was excellent and would recommend it to anyone looking for a new type of book, with a new angle on an old topic. Fight Club challenges you to question yourself and get involved. Any book that can do that is truly a wonderful text.

Literary Associations:

The story is very much a wild nonlinear ride like that of the film Pulp Fiction. The characters are more deeply analyzed and develop in this story, but their actions and surprising plot changes are very similar.


I would most defiantly analyze the themes of the novel, how it draws you in and the intense character development.


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