by Brandon Holtzclaw
|Back to English 1101 essays|
Fight Club is one of my favorite books and is in turn one of my favorite films. It is a humorous and sometimes disturbing social commentary on the dangers of mass consumerism and changes in the state of masculinity. The story revolves around a disgruntled insomniac who has channeled male aggression into a new form of psychotherapy. The narrator is influenced greatly by another interesting character: Tyler Durden, a nihilistic anarchist who performs low-pay jobs as an outlet for his deviant behavior. Though the story and most of the characters are present in both versions, there are several differences. Character roles, omitted scenes, and plot points are mainly what set the book and film apart.
One of the biggest differences in the Fight Club book and film is the character roles. In the movie, Tyler Durden is in the foreground, but in the novel he is mostly mentioned in retrospect. Many of the events undertaken by Tyler Durden in the film were handled by the narrator in the book, such as the confrontation with Raymond K. Hessel. In the book the narrator meets Tyler on a nude beach where Tyler is an artist instead of on the plane as in the film. The President of the Projectionist Union, whom Tyler blackmails in the book, is completely replaced in the film. In the movie Tyler lets a man named Lou beat him senseless, only to then spit and spray his blood all over the hapless wise guy. His motive at first a mystery, we soon realize Tyler Durden allows Lou to beat him up because he wants to blackmail him and because he wants Lou to start coming to fight club.
There are also several minor scenes that are left out of the film. A scene where Tyler brags about making a woman go insane after leaving an anonymous note that he urinated in one of her perfume bottles. A scene is omitted where Tyler murders the narrator’s boss. The method of murder of murder is shown in the film, putting gasoline in a computer monitor. Another scene that was left out of the film was a flashback in which the narrator urinates on the Blarney Stone.
Several plot points were changes from book to film as well. Such as in the book, the paper street soap company isn’t formed until Tyler and the narrator first make soap from Marla's mother's liposuction fat. The first soap-making mission in the book was done to simply get the narrator’s clothes clean, instead of the film subplot about selling the soap to department stores. Another plot point that changes was the purpose of Project Mayhem. In the film the narrator mentions that he believes the goal is to blow up the credit card companies and send the national debt record to zero. In the book it is revealed that the plan is to slow down humanity’s economic advancement by causing another “Dark Age.” They also want to erase history, as the real reason of blowing up the building was to have it fall on the National Museum next door.
Even though it retains several of the same characters and plot points, there are several key differences. Character roles, omitted scenes, and plot points are the main differences in the movie and book versions. Fight Club is an often violent social commentary about the changes in the state of masculinity and consumerism today. I highly suggest reading the book and watching the film.