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Course Hero. (2017, May 17). Fight Club Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 15, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fight-Club/

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Course Hero. "Fight Club Study Guide." May 17, 2017. Accessed December 15, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fight-Club/.

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Course Hero, "Fight Club Study Guide," May 17, 2017, accessed December 15, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Fight-Club/.

Fight Club | Symbols

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Scars

In Fight Club scars and similar marks stand for secret or dual identities, as well as symbols of pride or shame. Sometimes the scar is caused deliberately—for example, the burn scar the narrator refers to as "Tyler's kiss," which marks the narrator as Tyler's follower. Sometimes the scar is accidental; the narrator fears his birthmark will be seen as an AIDS symptom and identify him as gay. Sometimes characters can read others' scars; the narrator recognizes fight club members by their bruises. But the bruises on the narrator's face mystify his boss; the marks can only be read by certain people.

The never-healed cut in the narrator's cheek changes with the narrator's deepening involvement with fight club. At first it is only a bite mark on the inside of his cheek; his identity as a member of fight club is not yet visible to anyone else. Later the cut becomes a hole in his cheek, ugly and highly visible, as he grows more enmeshed in fight club. When he masquerades as Tyler in a fight club, the cut rips until it meets his mouth. The scars from fight club are badges of honor; to the narrator, scars show someone has had meaningful, worthwhile experiences in life.

Space Monkeys

Space monkeys (and other space animals) in Fight Club stand for both blind obedience and freedom. From 1948 to 1961 NASA tested space flight with animals, including mice, monkeys, squirrels, and chimpanzees. The Soviet Union did the same, most famously in 1957 with a dog named Laika. The animals were test subjects; they didn't do anything except have their vital signs measured to see whether they survived the flight. But in Fight Club space monkeys and other space animals act like little astronauts; they pull levers and push buttons without knowing why. "You just do your little job," the narrator says about space animals. "You don't really understand any of it." The space animals are often destroyed in the course of rocket flight: "You don't understand any of it, and then you just die."

"Space monkey" is also the narrator's name for Tyler's followers. One of Project Mayhem's rules is "Trust Tyler"; the space monkeys are unthinkingly obedient. However, in obeying Tyler the space monkeys gain freedom from their old lives. In their former lives they were already obedient workers, but their obedience had no point. Now their work and their sacrifice have a purpose, to "break up civilization so we can make something better of the world." When Tyler burns the narrator's hand with lye, he asks the narrator to think of the monkeys shot into space. "Without their death ... we would have nothing." Thus space monkeys symbolize going where man has not gone before; Tyler's space monkeys are carving out a new way to be a man.

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