Fight Club | Study Guide

Chuck Palahniuk

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Fight Club | Chapter 12 | Summary



The narrator coordinates a recall campaign at work. His insomnia is back. His boss finds a copy of fight club's rules the narrator left in the copy machine. The boss reads the first two rules out loud and giggles. The narrator is enraged to hear "Tyler's words come out of my boss."

The narrator denies the paper with the fight club rules is his. He says it must belong to some dangerous psychotic who is likely to shoot up the office. He speaks about the shooting in precise detail—gun brands, ammunition, carving an X into the tip of the bullets. These details are "Tyler's words coming out of my mouth." The conflict with the boss ends in a stalemate because the narrator knows the business's dirty secrets.

The narrator goes to Remaining Men Together on a Sunday night. Only Bob is there. He says another group has replaced the support group. After some hesitation, Bob tells the narrator about fight club.


The boss, the narrator, and Bob all repeat Tyler's words. At the beginning of the book, the narrator offered to write Tyler's story. But with Tyler's words coming out of everyone's mouth, Tyler seems to be the writer now. It's Tyler's world; Bob and the narrator just live in it. However, the narrator notices and comments on how everyone repeats Tyler. Noticing is a step toward separating himself from Tyler. Bob is blindly committed to fight club; the narrator is ambivalent.

When the boss finds the rules, readers finally learn all the rules of fight club. Palahniuk could have set a scene at a fight club and had Tyler announce the rules. But very few scenes in the book are set in a fight club basement. Sometimes the main importance of fight club is its secrecy, and the narrator has a secret from other people. When the boss accidentally stumbles on his secret, the narrator doubles down, threatening a mass shooting and thinking about blackmail schemes.

Earlier in the book the narrator notices how fight club transforms men from doughy white bread to hard, carved wood. But the narrator's transformation is not so total. His insomnia is back, indicating Tyler's as-yet-unrecognized activity; once again he experiences the world as "a copy of a copy of a copy." So he goes back to his old crutch, the support group. Here too the narrator separates himself from Tyler, trying to return to the life he had before they met. The attempt fails, but it foreshadows their conflict.

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