"Fight Club"- A look at consumerism in America

Essay by wearingheadphonesHigh School, 12th gradeA+, October 2006

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Rules of Fight Club

"You are not your job. You are not how much money you have in the bank. You are not the car you drive. You are not the contents of your wallet. You are not your khakis. You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake" These words are from Chuck Palahniuk's novel and Jim Uhls's screenplay Fight Club. Tyler Durden is the alter ego of the narrator who suffers from Dissociative Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Primary Insomnia, and probably a host of other disorders.

When the narrator is questioned about his devastated condo, he declares, "That condo was my life, okay? I loved every stick of furniture in that place. That was not just a bunch of stuff that got destroyed, that was me!" This attitude of defining self-identity through a consumer culture has become institutionalized in the American society. Consumerism has become the drive shaft of our generation, the fuel that pushes kids through college and hope that one day we can have all the things seen in magazines and on TV.

The film made me aware of the excessive consumerism as a sign of emotional emptiness and as a form of self-distinction. It provided me with a provocative view on American society and it raises valid questions about the values embraced by that society. It also allowed me to realize that too many people get caught up in trying to define their individuality with mass produced goods and that I am at times one of those individuals. Extending from this realization, I must learn to go beyond a world filled with materialism and distractions; As Tyler has said, "The things you own end up owning you."

Too often we are so caught up in the ownership of material possessions that we lose sight...