Fight Club | Study Guide

Chuck Palahniuk

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

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

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

Fight Club | Chapter 18 | Summary

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Summary

The narrator falls asleep at work on a Friday night. When he wakes he is unsure whether he is dreaming. He's in trouble at work; his boss has told him to prepare for a review. Tyler calls him on his work phone; he tells the narrator some guys are waiting for him in a car outside.

The narrator's hands smell like gasoline. A mechanic who belongs to fight club has driven up in a stolen luxury car. There is a birthday cake in the car. While the mechanic drives, he and other fight club members recite fight club philosophy, or "Tyler Durden dogma," as the narrator calls it. The narrator learns fight club has a new, leaderless structure. On a two-lane highway, the mechanic repeatedly veers into oncoming traffic, playing chicken. While facing an oncoming car, the mechanic has the passengers yell out their true desires. The narrator wishes he had quit his job. The oncoming cars swerve each time.

A truck clips their car, momentarily sending it out of control. In the chaos, the narrator wants to die. Then the mechanic and the narrator tussle; the mechanic tries to steer the car in the correct lane, and the narrator tries to steer them into traffic, "to ... die." The car again seems on the verge of crashing. They swerve and the cake gets everywhere, but the car does not crash.

Analysis

The narrator's life hasn't changed that much in some ways. He still works in the "Compliance and Liability" department. One synonym for the name of his department is "Obedience and Duty"; he is still trapped in his weary old life. He feels this burden acutely tonight; as a car rushes toward him, he thinks "I am stupid" and "All I do is want and need things" and "Kill me."

Now the narrator has a hard time telling himself and Tyler apart. He says the fight club members spout "Tyler Durden dogma," but some of their words are the narrator's. The mechanic says, "Burn the Louvre ... wipe your ass with the Mona Lisa," just as the narrator had.

The narrator pays close attention to the mechanic. Tyler had told the narrator there were "guys" waiting for him outside, but for several pages only the mechanic is mentioned. When the other space monkeys do speak, it is only to recite dogma or obey the mechanic's demands. The mechanic is described in detail: a rangy, wiry, tireless fighter. It is rare for the narrator to perceive a space monkey as an individual.

The second time the car spins out of control seems erotic for the narrator. He seems to lose consciousness ("The miracle of death ... I am nothing"). When he is conscious again there is something sticky on his face, and his head is in the mechanic's lap. (The sticky substance is cake frosting.) As with the anecdote about the "new cancer," the sexual attraction to men seems linked to a risk of dying.

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