Fight Club | Study Guide

Chuck Palahniuk

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Course Hero. (2017, May 17). Fight Club Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved July 21, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fight-Club/

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Course Hero. "Fight Club Study Guide." May 17, 2017. Accessed July 21, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fight-Club/.

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Course Hero, "Fight Club Study Guide," May 17, 2017, accessed July 21, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fight-Club/.

Fight Club | Chapter 14 | Summary

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Summary

The narrator says he loved the support groups because "if people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention." The narrator tells the backstory of Marla's cancer scare. She started going to support groups after she found a lump in her breast ("the first lump"). She calls the narrator about her second lump.

On finding the first lump, Marla went to a clinic. The mothers and children in the clinic look sad, damaged, and weird. "This is where you end up if you don't have health insurance," the narrator comments. He also says, "A lot of gay guys" fathered children. "Now the children are sick and the mothers are dying and the fathers are dead."

At the clinic, Marla decided not to see the doctor. "If she was going to die, Marla didn't want to know about it," the narrator says. She then started going to support groups for diseases she didn't have. Marla also got a job selling prepaid funeral plans. She would tell fat women they needed a bigger urn.

A detective starts calling about the condo explosion. Tyler stands intimately close during these phone calls. He tells the narrator what to say, but the narrator doesn't follow Tyler's suggestions.

Analysis

The narrator reveals more about his motivation for attending the support groups. However, he didn't give his full attention to Marla during her cancer scare in Chapter 13; he mainly thought about himself.

At first Marla seemed to mirror the narrator; they were both "fakers" and "liars" in the support groups. But this chapter reveals they might be different; perhaps Marla isn't entirely faking, even though she goes to groups for diseases she doesn't have. This detail about Marla starts to break down the distance between the narrator and the dying people. In a larger sense, he is also dying.

Like a hangover from the previous chapter, the narrator continues ranting inwardly about gay men and AIDS. His account of gay men with AIDS fathering children seems hard to believe, at least in large numbers. The narrator doesn't mention it, but going to the support groups may have had another benefit. It might have reminded him he did not have brain parasites or testicular cancer. The evidence is he can't seem to stop repeating he doesn't have AIDS.

Palahniuk does not always use quotation marks for the narrator. The narrator writes, "I tell the detective, no, I did not leave the gas on." The lack of quotation marks makes it unclear whether the narrator says his next words to the detective or to readers: "I loved my life. I loved that condo." The effect is not just uncertainty. The narrator never seems to encounter the real world; even when he talks to people, he ends up back in his own head, commenting to himself.

At some point the passage definitely switches into being the narrator's thoughts: "It was me that blew up. Couldn't he see that?" Declaring his love for his life, his furniture, and his condo runs counter to Tyler's philosophy of hitting bottom and giving up in order to be transformed. Perhaps the narrator is beginning to resist Tyler; or perhaps the condo explosion was the beginning of his fragmentation into two people.

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