Talk:Fight Club (novel)

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Former good article Fight Club (novel) was one of the Language and literature good articles, but it has been removed from the list. There are suggestions below for improving the article to meet the good article criteria. Once these issues have been addressed, the article can be renominated. Editors may also seek a reassessment of the decision if they believe there was a mistake.
Article milestones
Date Process Result
September 14, 2007 Good article nominee Listed
February 27, 2014 Good article reassessment Delisted
Current status: Delisted good article

  1. October 2004–May 2007
  2. August 2007–December 2009

Assessment -- imaginative politics and deft use of theme[edit]

Restoring this one and I would advise Tea-potterist Jacobs to try his hand at cutting out paper someplace else. Just because you think anything beyond the bare storyline is communist fluff doesn't mean the book hasn't been the subject of critical discussion. It's not required to add a source for statements or thoughts made on a talk page as long as they are _relevant_ to the article and the way its subject might or might not be treated. Though Jackie probably doesn't know, this discussion connects with the ways in which Fight Club has been interpreted by some critics and by readers -- and with the reason it was written in the 1990s and not in, for instance, the fifties.

Note that the second post below was mine, not the first, and I don't agree with a lot of what the first guy posted, but he makes a valid though high-pitrched argument. Anyway user RepublicanJacobite cut the entire section for whatever reasons, ideology and/or ignorance. -Strausszek, Sept.16, 2010.

FIGHT CLUB is a significant novel (and film) even though it shows many signs of being written by someone still learning his craft. There are unclear, or trite, or fumbled phrases or plot elements. These don't seem to matter much in the context of what the author has achieved.

There seems to be a misunderstanding about the book's connection with the literary past - with Edgar Allen Poe, or Steppenwolf, and so on. These connections do not make the book derivative or suggest some kind of plagiarism. They make the book part of a "tradition" (see Leavis or Bloom for more on this idea). The author is paying homage, or incorporating, or reading / misreading what came before him. I find the links with other writers (deliberate or not) - particularly Chesterton and Hesse - part of the fun of the novel.

What captured me is the simple but powerful political vision which drives the story. First, the sense of honor, nobility, masculinity -- and absurdity -- in the whole idea of a "fight club." How are we to take it? As a man, I am drawn to the genuine male need to fight, in one sense or another; to be agressive, to conquer. Sublimated, it is the energy to build. Corrupted - which it may be in this novel - it makes war. (Of course, that energy is human, not just masculine, even though the traditional male was admired for having it and the sterotyped female is imagined to be without it.) But is "fight club" a joke? So over the top that it is a ludicrous parody?

To be a symbol, the 'trope' of "fight club" has to resonate as a kind of truth. That is how it differs from a poke in the eye, however emotionally satisfying that poke might be. And "fight club" - brutal, imaginative, crude - succeeds in matching the main character's utter desolation in his alienated, cold life. His job is equally crude - he determines if it is cost effective to allow people to be killed rather than fix a simple mechanical defect. But perhaps that is ludicrous as well, as is the overused trope of absolute and complete loneliness.

Except - these symbols do resonate, because we know our society can (sometimes) be just that savage, lonely, and desperate. It is crude around here (sometimes). There are actuaries who studied that very problem - the cash value of a life versus a mechanical recall. There are people wandering our streets without a friend in the world. Even drug dealers are competing for jobs. It is possible for 21st century capitalism to produce "successful" men (and women) so emotionally stunted that only the weeping of the fatally ill, or the ferocity of bare-knuckle brawls, have the juice it takes to make them feel alive.

In such a world, which is sometimes our world, the "revolution," if it comes, will take an equally squalid and deformed character. The allegory which dominates the rest of the book is the tale of an appropriately anarchic, violent, and senseless political movement. Senseless above all because there seems to be no content to their political "thinking." 'Trust the leader' and 'don't lie' hardly counts as a social theory - Are they socialists? Anarchists? Fascists? What?

The novel picks up upon a great deal of our unconscious rage, and magnifies it, and symbolizes it in arresting visions. Of course, "magnified." That's the difference between an allegory and a classroom presentation by a political scientist. And that is why this book became a movie when so many novels don't. Because its images resonate. With far too many of us. David46228 21:18, 23 July 2010

I agree on some of your points even if I don't feel half as infatuated with the book (and I still think they're too subjective to fit within the article, if that's the idea). There surely is a link to Hesse's Steppenwolf, another story of a lone man trying to find his way to real individuation in a blunt, alienating, industrial society. And as I read this article I became aware that the book has had a powerful resonance with a lot of folks who "grew up in" the indie pop and internet forum subcultures of the 1990s/early '00s, some of them later becoming full-time critics and participants in those areas. See my comments under "Steppenwolf similarity" above.
The book is pitching some ideas about a troubled masculinity in the era of feminization of work, disentangled families and of the degradation of the traditional trusty father/worker/chum masculine virtues. It more or less gives up the idea that calm overview and control, or even generosity and open-mindedness, have any place by themselves in a "real man". I think that's a depressing view but it conforms with many images of "successful men" in the contemporary media, both real men and in the movies. It's evident that "male honour" in the sense of being dependable, mature and able to provide a stable living and working space for others, has a short sell-by date today. The honour that's seen as enviable is the one that can be marketed as glaring success: garnering a big advance, magazine covers, adulatory news articles, VIp status, golden teeth - even if it's obvious to anyone looking a bit closer that the sheen has been bought with the sweat and blood of millions of other people, or by disregarding the long view. I'm sure lots of men under 30 feel Conrad Black is a hero, precisely because they read his frauds as a raised long finger at a world of frumpy and shady morals (though they're not really interested in any kind of moral critique of that world, that would just be uncool: the fuck-you aspect is all they care about). And then he made a fortune for himself too, didn't he? Or even Tony Hayward: "Ya-ya, that's so cool, walking away with thirty million bucks. He can laugh all the way to the bank, I would too!" Strausszek 08:51, 27 July 2010 (UTC)

~ Section restored by Strausszek (talk) 01:26, 16 September 2010 (UTC)

Robert "Bob" Paulson[edit]

I just finished reading the book and it seems that the "Robert Paulson" section here is based on the movie rather than the novel. The novel never says anything about Bob wearing a shirt during a fight. The narrator never even meets him at fight club, they meet at the Trinity Episcopal and then at the Paper Street house. The section also says "when the narrator explains that the dead man had a name and was a real person, a member of Project Mayhem interprets this as an order to give all those who died names." This never happened in the novel. Hope some Wikipedia editor can fix this =) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Knullputs (talkcontribs) 17:04, 8 January 2011 (UTC)

Move discussion in progress[edit]

There is a move discussion in progress on Talk:Fight Club (film) which affects this page. Please participate on that page and not in this talk page section. Thank you. —RM bot 00:00, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Fight Club Location[edit]

It has been proven that the novel "Fight Club" was based in the city of Wilmington, Delaware. It is evidenced in the narrator's business card including the suburban Wilmington zip code 19808 and the Delaware area code 302, and his apartment building having as its motto "A Place to Be Somebody". Other references include Delaware state flags, Delaware license plates, new fight clubs in New Castle, Delaware City, and Penns Grove (NJ), and the presence of credit card companies. Filming was in L.A., California for the city of Wilmigton prohibited filming in the city. (talk) 20:31, 19 July 2011 (UTC)

I just read the book and although I wasn't looking for area codes or zip codes, I don't remember any. What I do remember is, in Chapter 5, the narrator's luggage is held at Dulles airport because his electric shaver was vibrating, and he speaks of "heading west, asleep at Mach 0.83 or 455 miles per hour", then he makes a connection at "Stapleton" (Denver), arrives home after another flight, sets his watch BACK three hours and discovers that his apartment has blown up. I decided from that the story takes place on the West Coast somewhere. Wilmington is mentioned in the Afterword -- apparently the Avery label company had example labels on their boxes saying "Tyler Durden, 420 Paper St. Wilmington DE 19886." Who proved that the story was set in Wilmington? 04:39, 12 January 2015 (UTC) Eric — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

"Unnamed protagonist"[edit]

The lead sentence of the article current describes the protagonist as unnamed, but is he not called "Joe"? The narrator repeatedly states lines like "I'm Joe's Complete Lack of Surprise". --Oldak Quill 02:55, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

The name "Joe" and that whole motif comes from a section when the protagonist is reading some older Reader's Digest magazines which have medical information presented from the point of view of body organs—"I am Joe's gall bladder..."—so whether or not the character is called Joe, or this is simply repetition of the name seen in these magazines is unanswered. GRAPPLE X 03:01, 16 January 2012 (UTC)

Iambic pentameter[edit]

"Let that which does not matter truly slide." is not iambic pentameter, let alone "perfect iambic pentameter", whatever you mean by that. Iambic pentameter is "perfect" when it goes, da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM, with 5 metric feet, the accent on the second syllable. It does have 5 feet (iambs), but if the sentence cited were iambic pentameter it would sound like, "let THAT which DOES not MATter TRUly SLIDE". Unless this is the way it is pronounced in the book, I suggest deleting quote in the article since it makes the whole thing seem like it was written by breathless fanboys. (talk) 03:44, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

GA Reassessment[edit]

This discussion is transcluded from Talk:Fight Club (novel)/GA1. The edit link for this section can be used to add comments to the reassessment.
Good Article review progress box
Criteria: 1a. prose (Symbol oppose vote.svg) 1b. MoS (Symbol oppose vote.svg) 2a. ref layout (Symbol comment 2.png) 2b. cites WP:RS (Symbol support vote.svg) 2c. no WP:OR (Symbol oppose vote.svg) 3a. broadness (Symbol oppose vote.svg)
3b. focus (Symbol comment 2.png) 4. neutral (Symbol comment 2.png) 5. stable (Symbol support vote.svg) 6a. free or tagged images (Symbol support vote.svg) 6b. pics relevant (Symbol support vote.svg)
Note: this represents where the article stands relative to the Good Article criteria. Criteria marked Symbol comment 2.png are unassessed

Because I respect the integrity of the editor(s) who got this promoted years ago, I take no shame in offering the opinion that it no longer fits the GA criteria. I will remove it if no attempts are made anytime soon to fix it. What needs fixing:

  • The intro is incredibly short and doesn't adequately summarize the article.
  • The prose throughout features a number of short paragraphs, most of them without a topic sentence or equivalent.
  • The prose at times is awkward and ambiguous, particularly in History.
  • Plot contains some poor grammar, e.g. "recruiting fight club's members", inconsistent use of tenses.
  • The article is poorly organized; Characters should come before or after Plot, History should be before Awards.
  • There's essentially no Reception. Find more, split it—along with the sales stuff—into a new section, and merge Awards into it.
  • Motifs and Themes contain a huge amount of original research and weasel-wording that compromises the article's neutral point of view. They look like something that would earn a 3 on the English Literature AP test.
  • Some of the refs are formatted incorrectly or missing information.

It's urgent that you fix this if you want it to remain a GA; this article looks C-class to me and it's a disservice to keep it on the WP:GA list and thereby give readers the pretense that they'll be poring over something of contemporary quality. Please fix this. Tezero (talk) 05:55, 17 February 2014 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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