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The novel Fight Club written by Chuck Palahniuk can be scrutinized from the positions of postcolonial theory with the latter being applied in its extended sense: the role of colonized is given to modern society order on the whole making us slaves of this big and insatiable organism. Such gradation is coming from the very imperialist nature of the American society, and residual effects of this nature are still strong in public mind eating individuals alive and sacrificing the value of personality on the altar of gain and consumerism. The identifier that makes you a slave and makes you a victim is first of all your passiveness and readiness to swallow the bait. Postcolonial theory, as it is, speculates at the goal of our recovering and erasing the cattle brand of the colonized. Coming from these statements, the way out proposed in the novel is dealing with the theory of deconstructionism, and, specifically, we can state that 'decolonization' is seen in 3-step (roughly saying) strategy based on stepping from fission to destruction and then to regeneration.
Fission begins from admitting the details and knowing all the variants you have. This stage is intended for you to learn yourself and learn what you want to be. It's common knowledge that the devil is in the detail. And you should just be courageous enough to deal with the devil face to face: "We have to show these men and women freedom by enslaving them, and show them courage by frightening them" (Palahniuk 121). In the novel, Joe, the main character, alienates his own personality to learn it on the third hand. To know what is beneficial, and was is not, he abases the personality still identified as self and contrasts it to the personality of Tyler Durden: "I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage and his smarts. His nerve. Tyler is funny and charming and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free, and I'm not" (174). Tyler is almost idealized, but at the same time he is negative from the traditional point of view as he is a threat to quiet flow of life, to basic values and everything 'normal' we are used to and thus having that feel safe and comfortable. Tyler is the embodiment of chaos, of ruination and anarchy because he turns everything values into nothing, into garbage and bullshit: he inserts tiny pieces of pornography into family films; he makes expensive soap from the fat sucked out of "the richest thighs in America" (104), he reconfigures everyday consumer products like diet cola into napalm and says that "We are the middle children of history, raised by television to believe that someday we'll be millionaires and movie stars and rock stars, but we won't. And we're just learning this fact." His mission is to remind us what we do need and what was thrust upon us by consumer culture: "You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something. Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don't need. Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don't really need" (121); and further, "Cars that people loved and then dumped. Animals at the pound. Bridesmaid dresses at the Goodwill. With dents and gray or red or black primer quarter panels and rocker panels and lumps of body putty that nobody ever got around to sanding. Plastic wood and plastic leather and plastic chrome interiorsâ€¦" (64). Under the influence of Tyler, Joe blows up his flat where he had so many important things. Important not by their utilitarian function, but by special meaning for him, and of all them are sacrificed to save him: "Everything, including your set of hand-blown green glass dishes with the tiny bubbles and imperfections, little bits of sand, proof they were crafted by the honest, simple, hard-working indigenous aboriginal peoples of wherever, well, these dishes all get blown out by the blast" (30). That flat was the only thing where he expressed himself, mad at accumulating expensive and stylish objects, and when he has lost all that stuff, he receives emptiness to be filled with something truly essential.
Tyler is against order because he doesn't believe in order, and Joe learns that "Under and behind and inside everything the man took for granted, something horrible had been growing. Nothing is static. Everything is falling apart" (112). But the very matter is, Tyler is against the consumer culture, against bourgeois order which is itself destructing personality and integrating it into one smelling slop where are all are equal and same - equally dead inside. "We don't have a great war in our generation, or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit," Palahniuk writes. "We have a great revolution against the culture. The great depression is our lives. We have a spiritual depression" (121). Hence, the way to the highest level is laid through falling as down as possible. The manner of Tyler's behavior is total marginalization: "One morning, there's the dead jellyfish of a used condom floating in the toilet. This is how Tyler meets Marla" (38). Indeed, this is how Tyler meets everyone and first of all how he meets himself: to be utilized and thrown away. To be born by spirit, one should be ready to die physically; this is how Tyler leads the character (and the reader and the society on the whole) to the rebirth. "Every evening, I died, and every evening, I was born," Joe shares about the effect after visiting the support groups which played the role of prefiguration for the fight club itself.
So, the second step is to be broken up, decomposed and split like an atom is when a nuclear bomb is produced. You need to allow the chemical reactions take place and sacrifice your physical membrane tear away and blow up everything around you, everything you believed in and everything you were fixed at. "I'm breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions," Tyler whispered, "because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit" (80) - this is how our inner selves are revealed and how we reach cultural changes through thermodynamic entropy. "Crying is right at hand in the smothering dark, closed inside someone else, when you see how everything you can ever accomplish will end up as trash. Anything you're ever proud of will be thrown away" (11). Now it goes not only about material things, but about your inner world you have been building and protecting for so long. Your task is to throw away your pride, your morals, your affections, and everything what is connected with normal perception of things. The way inside yourself is a way against everyone, because everyone else is ignored and you go away from the society, you betray society and your way is a protest, that's why even the demolishing of cultural values is at the same time their confirmation (one of the members of the Fight Club says that he wants to wipe his ass with the Mona Lisa because "Nothing is static. Even the Mona Lisa is falling apart" (49); "destroy everything beautiful I'd never have" (123)).
Further, when everything has fallen apart and you have only fragments of life in front of you, you need to compare and contrast them as each one is expedient and moving, even if you see nothing but death: "If you know where to look, there are bodies buried everywhere" (96). But the main thing is to learn not to feel fear. When everything is disassembled and focused in details, it is not frightening anymore. Take the style of the author at least - it proves the idea. For example, when a dramatic scene of murder (self-killing) is described, he writes: "With my tongue I can feel the silencer holes we drilled into the barrel of the gun. Most of the noise a gunshot makes is expanding gases, and there's the tiny sonic boom a bullet makes because it travels so fast.Â To make a silencer, you just drill holes in the barrel of the gun, a lot of holes. This lets the gas escape and slows the bullet to below the speed of sound" (5). The scene is presented as something like cleaning teeth in the morning or giving a receipt of an apple pie. Thus, everything is depreciated, emotions and feelings equally to material things.
Then, when you are ready to watch all that chaos with your eyes opened and your hands empty, you need to accept it and then let it go. Joe is dependent on Tyler, but he comes to the readiness to get read of him. He either doesn't take Marla close to his heart, as it is one more tie, that's why he lets her go every time to be able to take her back after rebirth. "The amazing miracle of death, when one second you're walking and talking, and the next second, you're an object. I am nothing, and not even that. Cold. Invisible" (122) - it feels like a Buddhist maxim, but while the Buddhism has the aim to turn you to nothing, here you are to become nothing in order to move further and to become yourself.
As for Marla, she is also a moving factor of the long trip to inner self of the protagonist. She appears like on obstacle to Joe's confident way to degradation and destruction, and she is the one who seems to suffer most of all from everything that is happening inside him. But at the same time they are both given as a test for each other, for Joe to test his readiness to loose her and for Marla to be ready to stay with him after all. It is essential that Marla herself is absolutely marginal too, and from the very beginning she is even more prepared for decolonization than Joe.
Finally, "It's only after you've lost everythingâ€¦that you're free to do anything" (70) - the way to experience "premature enlightenment", and not sarcastically as it in the context, but truly and deeply. The matter is, humanity has gone too far with its sins and negligence, and traditional redemption methods are not working. "Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer", Joe dwells, "Maybe self-destruction is the answer" (49). Self-destruction turns out to be the only way out, because if you stay what you were, you won't free yourself from the chains of the society. It will find you everywhere and subordinate to itself, as great powers did it with their colonies. That's why the decision is to act, not to wait for a miracle that will never occur. And that is the reason why bad actions are also working: "How Tyler saw it was that getting God's attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all. Maybe because God's hate better than His indifference. If you could be either God's worst enemy or nothing, which would you choose?" (141). Tyler Durden calls upon for undermining the very foundations of the world we have found ourselves in as revolution can't be performed in any other way. The conclusion is, if a man is a model of state, it has to be devastated first and then the man is to become the ruler of himself, of territory indivisibly and integrally belonging to him and no one else.