How The Masculinity In Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club

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Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club relays the account of a painfully average man’s plunge into a world riddled with sex, violence, and mayhem. Through this forceful transformation, he learns the equally harmful and enlightening realties of a life with no fathomable mores. Palahniuk’s narrative is a breeding ground for both masculine insecurity and feminine frailty. While these depictions are inherently negative from nearly every perspective, it is the intent with which they are presented that truly relays their necessity to the plot as a whole. Through the oversimplification of stereotypes, Palahniuk strives to present the toxicity of contemporary society’s views on gender. The scope of the male existence when considered by modern American culture is entirely limited to the prototypically harsh, unemotional man depicted by his label-driven environment. A set of unspoken guidelines is impressed upon the presumably male child from a young age. Sociologist Michael Kimmel describes this phenomenon by declaring: You can never do anything that even remotely hints of femininity. The second rule is to be a big wheel. You know, we measure masculinity by the size of your paycheck, wealth, power,…show more content…
The mechanic summarizes this point by stating, “If you're male and you're Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God. And if you never know your father, if your father bails out or dies or is never at home, what do you believe about God?” (140). While it is apparent that God acts as a metaphor for a paternal presence, he also wholly symbolizes masculinity. Because both Tyler and the narrator lacked a patriarchal youth, they are unsure of how to present themselves in a society that thrives on virility. This in turn causes them to lash out in the most dramatic and violent ways in hopes of projecting the aura of machismo they previously

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