Who is Tyler Durden?


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Who is Tyler Durden?

  1. 1. Tyler Durden is the enigmatic anti- hero, serendipitously born at the end of a century framed by capitalism and corruption, dominated graft and greed, and punctuated by the emasculation, or the second castration, of the working class male..
  2. 2. Tyler Durden represents the every man – he is all the things we wish we could be. He looks like we want to look, he f**ks like we want to f**k, he is smart, capable, and most importantly, he is free in all the ways that we are not.
  3. 3. No matter how mythic or fantastic Tyler Durden seems, the truth remains the same – he represents nothing more than a recycled motif; a throwback to the literary double made famous by 18th century Gothic fiction.
  4. 4. According to Homer, man has dualistic existence, the one in his visible appearance, the other in his invisible image which becomes free only after death – this, and no other, is his soul. In animate man there dwells as a strange guest a more feeble Double – his other Self in the form of his Psyche – whose kingdom is the world of dreams. When the conscious self sleeps, the Double works and watches1.
  5. 5. In its inception, Homer gives the double total dominion through duality. Not only does the double have immortality by being the soul in death but also has a kingdom in the psyche of animate man.
  6. 6. New Soul Belief • Genesis 2:7 – Soul – 1 Part Dust – 1 Part Breath2 Old Soul Belief • Immortality is a right of the Church • Separates Good from Bad • Devil is personification of moralized double3 New Soul Belief vs. Old Soul Belief
  7. 7. The Doppelganger returned to prominence during the 18th century as a manifestation of the conflict between empiricism and religious orthodoxy. The doppelganger, I theorize, is a symbol of that initial internal struggle taking place during this time.
  8. 8. However, the doppelganger was assimilated into the hegemony, losing all political or iconoclastic significance becoming a repetitious trope of Gothic Fiction. Forever associated with the supernatural, the doppelganger eventually became a symbol of parody and farce.
  9. 9. • Twins • Shadows • Sibling empathy and rivalry • Reflections4 • Ghosts • Living Portraits • Statues, dolls, and automatons • Vampires and werewolves • Homunculi and golem • Guardian angels and devils4 Natural Doubles Supernatural Doubles
  10. 10. Sigmund Freud Jacques Lacan
  11. 11. Fight Club establishes a new paradigm for the doppelganger by introducing the doppelgangers double. In other words, Fight Club completely re-envisions the doppelganger, parting from historical precedent in favor of a post-gothic synthesis of historical, psychological, and literary influences in order to establish a post-modern paradigm of the doppelganger.
  12. 12. What makes this double different? • Ontology comes from cinema and not literature • Mortal • Relegated to the unconscious much like the subject, but possesses agency • Is not in binary temporal opposition with the subject, can act while the subject is both asleep and awake • No association with the original stigma of the double, natural or otherwise
  13. 13. The Post-Modern Double owes its existences to the same men who deconstructed the Homeric double, Lacan and Freud. • Lacan provides ontological methodology • Freud provides ontological structure
  14. 14. Lacan’s contribution to the Double in Fight Club: The Mirror Stage Set Theory Extimacy
  15. 15. Freud’s contribution to the Double in Fight Club: The Dream of the Wound The Play of Substitution The Game of Disappearance The Romance of Death The Romance of Life5
  16. 16. The Dream of the Wound • The explosion on the plane marks the double’s entry into to the imaginary. • The apartment explosion marks the double’s entry into the symbolic. • Represents what Julia Kristeva would call a thetic rupture6
  17. 17. The Play of Substitution “I fell down some stairs” “This conversation is over” “Is Tyler my bad dream, or am I Tyler’s?”
  18. 18. The Game of Disappearance “Where did you go psycho-boy?” “And then, Tyler was gone” “Tyler not here, Tyler gone” “Following an invisible man”
  19. 19. The Romance of Death “... is chemical burn.” “Guys, what would you wish you'd done before you died?” “On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.”
  20. 20. The Romance of Life [Tyler points a gun into the Narrator's mouth] Narrator: [voiceover] People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden. Tyler Durden: Three minutes. This is it - ground zero. Would you like to say a few words to mark the occasion? Narrator: ...i... ann... iinn... ff... nnyin... Narrator: [voiceover] With a gun barrel between your teeth, you speak only in vowels. [Tyler removes the gun from the Narrator's mouth] Narrator: I can't think of anything. Narrator: [voiceover] For a second I totally forgot about Tyler's whole controlled demolition thing and I wonder how clean that gun is.
  21. 21. Ultimately, by creating a double of the double, Fight Club resurrects the double, removing it from the stigma of the supernatural, returning it to a symbol of resistance, and making it once again relevant. Through a synthesis of Lacan and Freud, the double has been re-signified as a viable and valuable psychoanalytic tool. While this exposition is limited to Fight Club, it establishes a precedent for the future study post-modern cinematic doubles in hopes of developing a post-modern paradigm of the double or to return significance to the original double.