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Chris Landis April 1, 14 Intro to Psychology Dr.

Van Cleave I Am Jacks Psychology Paper Fight Club is a 1999 film starring Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. It follows the experiences of an unnamed narrator (sometimes referred to as Jack) and his battles with insomnia, addiction, terrorism, emasculation by society, and dissociative identity disorder. The movie is based on the eponymous book by American author Chuck Palahniuk. The narrator and his alternate personality, Tyler Durden, seek escape from insomnia and the feelings of emasculation the narrator gets from his white-collar job as an automobile recall coordinator. The narrator attends support groups for various illnesses and, after meeting Tyler, starts an underground boxing club with him in an attempt to help themselves and other men regain their masculinity. Things seem to pick up for the narrator, but the club eventually becomes one of many franchises based around a terrorist organization called Project Mayhem, and eventually, the narrator learns he and Tyler are disassociated identities in the same body. Fight Club is a powerful cocktail of psychological themes: insomnia, emasculation, ID/superego/ego conflicts, and dissociative identity disorder (DID). The narrator suffers from insomnia- a disruption in the bodys natural circadian rhythms. Its name is Latin for No sleep (3). It can be considered a disorder in its own right, or a symptom of another disease- half of the reported cases of insomnia cite stress as a main factor of the issue (2). Its difficult to say what could be the nature in the narrators case.

His life consists of his job, buying furniture, and failing to go to sleep. His travel on account of his job may be partially to blame, as jetlag is sometimes associated with insomnia (3). He spends his money trying to cure his mental disorders by purchasing furniture- What kind of dining room set defines me as a person? he asks himself (1). This represents a form of gender identity confusion and contributes to his emasculation: instead of supporting himself by buying food, the stereotypical male role of providing, he furnishes his apartment, fitting the stereotypical female role of the homemaker. We used to read pornography- now its just the Horchow collection (1). His behavior is no surprise- Were a generation of men raised by women, he laments (1) midway through the film. The narrator attends support groups on the advice of a doctor who refuses to prescribe him insomnia medication or diagnose him with narcolepsy, and here, he experiences an emotional release he cant feel anywhere else. If I dont say anything, he narrates, People just assume the worst (1). His favorite group is for testicular cancer support called Remaining Men Together. The aim of the support groups he attends- for illnesses like sickle cell anemia and testicular cancer- is to provide self-fulfillment and acceptance- traits of the humanistic therapies. The narrator becomes addicted to attending these groups and sharing his release with others, until another faker, Marla Singer, starts attending them as well. Her lie distracts him, and he misses four nights of sleep. The narrators already disturbed existence is shaken again when he meets Tyler Durden on a flight, although hes completely oblivious that Tyler isnt real- only 1/3 of dissociative identity cases actually experience visual hallucinations (4). Tyler, a

travelling soap salesman with an unusually astute knowledge of the history of soap and its chemical composition in explosive settings, is the opposite of the narrator in almost every way- free-spirited, rebellious, and in every sense, a grown man-one seemingly free of materialistic possessions and worldly ties: All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not (1). This is accurate of most DID cases: an individuals alters are very distinct from one another- One example of this is how Tylers plans to start a terrorist cell exist from the beginning, but he keeps the narrator almost completely in the dark about it. Also true of the narrators situation is that he doesnt remember certain time periods he has recently experienced (this is why he consults a doctor and diagnoses himself with narcolepsy), and that the alternate identities grow and change over time into their individual selves. The reason that the narrator doesnt realize whats going on is the amnesia/insomnia blend hes suffering from alongside his depression- Tyler takes over his consciousness when he falls asleep. Is Tyler my bad dream or am I Tylers? Little by little, youre letting yourself become Tyler Durden (1). The movie is wonderfully illustrative of this concept, having whichever ruling character framed in the foreground and the submissive other in the background during many crucial segments, as well as having no other character in the film reference the fact that the two men are actually the same until the twist is revealed and Marla calls the narrator Tyler. It can also be argued that the narrator/Tyler meet the principles of Sigmund Freuds psychoanalytic theory of the ID/superego/ego as well. The narrator represents the ego and superego- conscious (sometimes preconscious), and representative of the reality

and moral principles hes facing. He has a job, he pays his taxes, etc. Tyler represents the narrators ID, his unconsciousness desires: the need to be freed from his white collar, his libido- the way he sees Tylers relationship with Marla instead of his own. Tyler becomes the narrators ID to overcome its suppressor (5). This theory being in play reinforces how opposite the two are from one another: As Jack and Tyler become equally aware of each other, the ego can claim responsibility of bringing a sense of peace to the situations that Tyler sets up: Fighting at Fight Club, and eventually, violent crimes and terrorist acts. All of the psychological themes in the movie collide in a speech Tyler makes at the beginning of one Fight Club session: God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised by television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off (1). This complex and (anti) motivational schlock is laced with all of the narrators disorders, from depression to gender identity and mostly emasculation. The last of these continues and evolves as the fight club does into the terrorist organization Project Mayhem, a group intent to enact their distorted worldview on everyone they can, in any fashion thats violent and grandiose. Making soldiers programmed to the cause out of the fight club members is number one on Tylers action item list. You're not your job. You're not how much money you have in the bank. You're not the car you drive. You're not the contents

of your wallet. You're not your fucking khakis. You're the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing. Like the first monkey shot into space In the world I see - you are stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You'll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You'll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you'll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty carpool lane of some abandoned super-highway. (1). The references to monkeys remove any individuality then men have making them soldiers of their cause, and in a way, imitating the exact humiliation they originally set out to fight: they transform from men fighting for individuality in a corporate, reformed setting into nameless soldiers living only to serve a cause: a complete oxymoron by nature. Sir In Project Mayhem, we have no names. But in death, we have names, and this mans name is Robert Paulsen (1). But by appearance, they have achieved victory over every character flaw of the narrators at the start of the film. Part of what makes Fight Club so unique as a film is its excellent direction and performances, but its easy to see the movie would not be nearly as powerful without its usage of dissociated identity disorder to emphasize its message, revealed in its shocking twist on everything the viewer has witnessed to that point: All the ways you wish you could be, that's me. I look like you wanna look, I fuck like you wanna fuck, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I am free in all the ways that you are not. But without these themes, thered be no movie for us to experience.

Warning: If you are reading this then this warning is for you. Every word you read of this useless fine print is another second off your life. Don't you have other things to do? Is your life so empty that you honestly can't think of a better way to spend these moments? Or are you so impressed with authority that you give respect and credence to all that claim it? Do you read everything you're supposed to read? Do you think every thing you're supposed to think? Buy what you're told to want? Get out of your apartment. Meet a member of the opposite sex. Stop the excessive shopping and masturbation. Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned- Tyler.

Works Cited Fight Club. Dir. David Fincher. Perf. Brad Pitt, Edward Norton. Warner Bros., 1999. Blu-ray.

"Insomnia and Sleep." Insomnia & Sleep. National Sleep Foundation, 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

"Jet Lag and Sleep." Jet Lag & Sleep. National Sleep Foundation, 2013. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

"NAMI - The National Alliance on Mental Illness." NAMI. National Alliance on Mental Illness, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.

Price, Brian R. "A Psychological Analysis of Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club." Yahoo Contributor Network. Yahoo!, 3 May 2007. Web. 31 Mar. 2014.

"psychology2" "Fight Club and Dissociative Identity Disorder." Psychology2s Blog. Wordpress, 30 Apr. 2010. Web. 01 Apr. 2014.