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Fight Club: A Critical Illustration of Christianity

Fight Club: A Critical Illustration of Christianity

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Published by hillary_deberry
This essay analyzes the religious imagery in Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club.
This essay analyzes the religious imagery in Chuck Palahniuk's novel Fight Club.

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Published by: hillary_deberry on Dec 05, 2009
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12/08/2012

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DeBerry 1
Hillary DeBerryProfessor Matthew Wilsey-ClevelandWRTG 3020-0444 December 2009Word Count: 1534
Fight Club
: A Critical Illustration of ChristianityReligious imagery is apparent throughout Chuck Palahniuk’s novel
Fight Club.
In the novel, the nameless main character finds redemption fromthe consumerist, corporate society through his alter ego, Tyler Durden. Themain character, along with his “savior” Tyler Durden, forms a fight clubwhere men join together and beat up each other. Through reducingthemselves to a state of 
abjection,
the characters are able to attainsalvation from social constructions and identities. Christopher Deacy, in hisarticle “Integration and Rebirth through Confrontation:
Fight Club
and
 American Beauty 
as Contemporary Religious Parables,” claims that thereligious imagery in
Fight Club
provides an adequate reflection of Christianity.
 
However, the religious imagery presented in
Fight Club
is
transgressive
and critical of Christian tradition rather than venerating it.Although the book
Fight Club
includes religious language, the reversalsof crucial elements of Christian beliefs within the statements create a
parody
of Christianity. Throughout
Fight Club
the narrator and charactersuse language that was spoken by Jesus Christ or that appears in the ChristianBible. The mechanic in
Fight Club
declares “Believe in me and you shall die,
 
DeBerry 2
forever” (Palaniuk 145). This statement reflects conversely the biblicalpassage in the book of John which reads “For God so loved the world, that hegave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should notperish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). The narrator toys with thereversal of everlasting life to eternal death which disrespect a primary belief for Christians. After the main character in
Fight Club
learns that hisapartment was destroyed in an explosion, he calls Tyler Durden and prays“Oh, Tyler, please deliver me… Oh Tyler, please rescue me… Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete” (Palahniuk 46). This languageparodies the Lord’s Prayer, found in the gospel of Matthew, in whichChristians ask to be delivered from evil (Matthew 6:10-14). To Christians,redemption from evil is an essential aspect of their beliefs. In his book JesusOur Redeemer , author Gerald O’ Collins explains the importance of Jesus’ actof salvation involving redemption from evil (117). He asserts that “Jesusknew his redemptive work to involve liberation from sin, evil, and a misuse of the law and to bring the gift of life in abundance” (O’Collins 117). WhereasChristians sincerely desire redemption from an evil world, the main characterprays to be free of perfection, while perfection is usually a goal of humans. This reversal of language mocks prayer. The religious language in
Fight Club
creates a satirical view of Christianity because of the reversal of key facets of belief.
Although
Fight Club
includes images of salvation, redemption,and freedom, it rejects vital aspects of Christianity such as love.
The
 
DeBerry 3
rejection of these aspects of Christianity highlights theproblematicaspectsof Christianity such as denying oneself and submitting to an all-powerfulsavior. Whereas Christianity honors the figure of a loving savior, the saviorfigure in
Fight Club
is destructive. Jesus Christ declares “Come unto me, allthat labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke uponyou, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find restunto your souls. For my yoke [is] easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew11:28-30). This passage illuminates a loving and compassionate savior whodesires to provide for the people of the world. Robin Routledge discusses thepower that sacrifice and
hesed 
, (a Hebrew word relating to kind of love) havein connecting with God in her
text
“Prayer, Sacrifice, and Forgiveness” Sheasserts: “God’s faithful commitment to his people opens the way for thepossibility of a new relationship and a new covenant – based on God’s
hesed 
(love)” (Routledge 21). Routlegde refers to the sacrifice of Jesus Christ whichallows God’s creation to partake in his love, a prominent belief inChristianity. The savior figure, Tyler Durden, in
Fight Club
is destructive andnot loving. He inflicts immense pain on the main character by burning hishand with lye (Palahniuk 74). Even though he is looked to as the savior,Durden rejects the primary loving qualities of the Christian savior whichdishonors Christian beliefs. In
Fight Club
there are no loving relationships. The narrator affirms that Marla loves the main character and that TylerDurden loves Marla, but ambiguity of identities in the novel createsuncertainty about the actual
object
, or even the reality, of their affections

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