Friday, February 11, 2011

Fight Club

Yesterday in class, I mentioned that the movie Fight Club was in many ways like Freud's studies of the conscious and subconscious. Freud essentially breaks down the structural model of the life into the id, ego and super-ego and in many ways, the protagonist of Fight Club, Tyler Durden represents all three parts of this physic apparatus. In the movie, Brad Pitt and Ed Norton play different parts of Tyler Durden's consciousness. Brad Pitt represents the id, the subconscious, the part of us that seeks pleasure at all costs and has no morality. Like suggested in Notes From the Underground, Brad Pitt’s character find pleasure in pain and thus develops a fight club in order to achieve this delight. Also, Freud explains that the id is where man’s aggressive nature originates and in Fight Club Durden’s aggressiveness is definitely unleashed. Ed Norton’s character embodies the super ego and ego of Tyler Durden. The ego is responsible a person’s defensive mechanisms, self-control and reasoning and, Norton’s character exemplifies all of these characteristics. In the movie, Brad Pitt and Ed Norton’s characters co-exist and often Norton questions and reprimands Pitt’s destructive behavior. There are many situations where Tyler Durden’s dual personalities (the id and ego) conflict with each other. For example, in one scene, Ed Norton is driving his car with Brad Pitt and they dispute speeding and allowing their car to crash. Norton’s character reasons that he could ruin his car and possibly die while Pitt’s character simply seeks the thrill and pleasure of pain resulting from the car crash. According to Freud, the super-ego strives for perfection and is involved with society’s expectations of values and morals. Tyler Durden demonstrates his super-ego when shopping for Ikea furniture. In the film, Durden yearns for an ideal living space because he wants people to be impressed by his creative style and therefore meticulously searches throughout Ikea catalogs for the perfect furniture. This instance demonstrates Durden’s super ego because he wants to both impress society and strive for perfection.

What do you all think about all this?


C-Sted said...

I actually saw Fight Club this weekend (and recommend it to all that enjoy gritty action and seedy characters). Blaine is absolutely correct when he compares Tyler Durden to the Id. He reviles humanity's consumerism and wishes to feel something, anything (think the Underground Man wishing to be thrown through a bar window). However, unlike Freud's Id, Tyler Durden doesn't need to feel superior to anybody else. In fact, he takes low-level jobs and tries to take as little of a leadership role as possible within his own terrorist organization. Unlike Freud's Id, which desires property, aggression, and sexual relationship simply for the sake of a sense of superiority, Tyler Durden's subconscious desires to be an Everyman and tear down those around him who enjoy a comfortable and superior social position. In other words, though both Tyler Durden and the Id both wish to see the world burn, the Id does it from the viewpoint of a conqueror, whereas Tyler Durden is striking back from amongst the conquered.

chrissy said...

As Blaine and Collin have already said, Tyler Durden is the id. Of all the characters in pop culture that represent the id, the pleasure seeking uncontrollable side of a person, Tyler Durden is the best example. I, like Collin, watched Fight Club on Sunday. When the narrator realizes that he and Tyler Durden are the same person, Durden says "I dress like you want to dress, I talk like you want to talk..." and so on. As Freud says, the id is something that we can't control or change, strives for pleasure, and is based in sexuality (such as Tyler's pursuit of Marla).

Julia said...

I watched Fight Club last night and was amazed at how directly it relates to concepts we have studied in Humanities. Like Blaine, Chrissy, and Collin have already mentioned, Tyler Durden seeks pleasure in pain, which reminds me of the Underground man’s assertion that humans assert their free will by acting irrationally. Tyler desires to feel alive after living in his own version of Hell within his apartment; he seeks pain just so that he can feel something. Tyler is desperate for human connection. In the beginning of the movie, he goes to various support groups, feigning illnesses as to bond with others, such as Bob. The movie also made me think of the Wasteland since the city in which Tyler lives in seems decrepit and hopeless. The anti-materialistic side of Tyler represented by Brad Pitt reminds me of the Fire Sermon we read in class the other day. The entire movie also made me think of “The Destructors” by Graham Greene that we read last year. The Fight Club is very similar to the Wormsley Common Gang and “T”, the protagonist, can be compared to Tyler who leads the members of Fight Club to self-destruction. At one point after beating up one of the members, Tyler states “I felt like destroying something beautiful.” Similarly, the members of this gang destroy a beautiful (though dilapidated) house, created by the established architect Christopher Wren.