For the following analysis, I will be discussing the movie Fight Club’s two main characters. They are “Jack” played by Edward Norton, and Tyler Durden played by Brad Pitt. However the twist to the movie turns out that Jack and Tyler are the same person and Tyler is Jack’s real name. Tyler the character is everything that Jack the character is not. The story narration is provided by the protagonist of “Fight Club,” “Jack. ” The ambivalent protagonist, who only refers to himself as “Jack. ” An ambivalent protagonist, usually the main character, is someone the audience likes, but who possesses character flaws.
The character “Jack” is a character the audience will feel sympathy for and even come to like. However, it is obvious he has serious problems. “Jack’s” main problem, what the audience comes to find out, is his alter ego, Tyler Durden. “Jack” struggles to take control as he sees that Tyler’s acts of vandalism are wrong. However, he cannot stop himself until the very end. However, even before the character of Tyler Durden is introduced it is clear that “Jack” has personal problems; insomnia, discontent for his job, and a dependency on support groups. Jack” is also faced with a moral dilemma as well as constantly being put into danger, another characteristic of the ambivalent protagonist.
“Jack” has the personality of an obedient, yet not very outgoing man. He goes to work, comes home, and wants to simplify his life. He sets up his life as simply as possible. For example, he wears the same white shirt, black pants, and black tie everyday. Jack is a very subservient type of person. For example, he goes to meetings his boss doesn’t want to attend. He hates his job and he hates his life, however he thinks he is ok with the job and his life but is tired of doing the same thing everyday.
It is important to see that “Jack” picks out items that would best represent the type of person he is such as the furniture in his house. He is a gen-xer that has grown to the point of despair. He can not sleep. He has to have every little clever trinket that he sees. The only way he finds happiness is crashing support groups for those with terminal diseases. He says it is amazing how much people care when they think you are dying. Durden on the other hand is a man with little scruples. He is not an evil man.
He just wants to wake people up from the perpetual dream world that they live in and he will go to any lengths to achieve his vision of setting people free. He lives in an old house that was most likely condemned a century ago. It sits in front of an old factory. His nearest neighbor is a mile and half away. Tyler makes and sells soap. He also has other jobs that afford him time to do not so pleasant things such as urinate in soup at high class restaurants and splice objectionable images into family films in major theater chains. Tyler has no rules, no limits, but he gives no breaks either, you either follow him or are against him.
Tyler tries to better people in weird off the wall ways. Whereas Jack is such the sheep that he follows everyone else as compared to Tyler who is the one who tries to change society and Jack follows him because Tyler is the way he is not. Jack is intoxicated by Pitt’s character, Tyler Durden, who lacks inhibition, just as Jack lacks personal freedom. Tyler is not worried about crime, poverty and murder. Instead what worries him is the fact that we are told how to act and live by corporations such as Starbucks, Microsoft, Tommy Hilfiger and Guess. Jack soon realizes that the same things as Tyler also distress him.
And so they create Fight Club. A place for men of every race and age to come together to let out frustration with the world in general by beating each other up. Who you were in Fight Club was not the same as who you were in the real world. It was a place to learn who you really are and what you are made of. When we have no lows to measure against our highs we become disillusioned. It’s always “What’s the next high. ” In this society we never are given lows. We aren’t allowed to have them. Fight Club exists to give a meaning to men who are out of touch with this “high” trip everyone is on.
The two men are exact opposites. Where Jack wonders what sofa he is, Tyler wonders why anyone actually cares about that stuff. When Jack says that he lost all of his belongings that were his identity in an apartment accident, Tyler sympathizes by saying “Ah Shit… and now it’s all gone. ” Tyler subscribes to the theory that you cannot begin to live until you have hit rock bottom. Rock bottom says that you have hit the worst possible place in the human psyche. The only place you can go is up. Rock bottom says that you have to know and accept that you are going to die. You should not fear dying.
However, in the end, “Jack” grew up and took a little bit of “Tyler” with him, but did not let “Tyler” take control. The way he commanded at the end when he shot himself, by giving orders to the members and Marla was not something “Jack” would have done. This lets us know that the character of “Jack” has grown up and evolved on his way to becoming the complete and ideal character he wanted to be. As the story unfolds it brings these two seemingly opposite characters in a unique relationship, which resolves the movie in a very original way. The irony remains subtle, and is missed by most.