Psychoanalytic theory and Fight
A Freudian analysis of Fight Club
Dissociative personality disorder
Theory structures the mind into three broadly
interconnected mental fields:
Represents our primal psychic urges.
Babies are ID: unconscious, unrepressed and
When the baby wants to eat the desire to
consume, consumes it.
The ego is home to our rational, conscious mind.
It is the mind we regard as self (eg we call a self
centred person is an egoist)
If we want food we start to work out where it is and
how much it will cost, what kind of food we feel life
eating and so on…
Freud argues that in undeveloped egos, like Jacks,
the ID, (Tyler) can escape it’s social and parentally
enforced repression and perhaps even come to
dominate the ego.
Conflict between Id and Ego
Split/ multiple personality disorder
Without Tyler, Jack would find life unendurable.
Ethical, moralistic world
Hungry human may apply moral decisions to
desire…perhaps they promised doctor they would
Jack’s need to believe in a moral code reflects the
battle between his Ego and Superego. The authority
figures in his life (boss, police) disappoint him so he
is ripe for exploitation by the Id…Tyler who has
uninhibited access to his superego.
Shown in fight clubs. He and the others personify the
animal (the beast in man)
The violence that Tyler unleashes via Project Mayhem
has a destructive, childlike quality- at times akin to a
tantrum rather than well thought out act of political
Tylers love making is bestial
“I look like you want to look…etc”
But- there is more to him than a mere beast- he does
have a belief system that he articulates well
Tyler/ Jack- Superego
• Tyler is a superego fantasy of Jacks. He is someone who is willing to
forge his own value systen in a world dominated by nihilism.
• Values formulated by Tyler are problematic and confused but Tyler’s
emergence from a childish ID to adult superego is literal
maturation. Jack grows up via the fantasy of Tyler. He first unleashes
his repressed ego then moulds his powerful alterego with a
philosophy that enables him to find life fulfilling and meaningful.
• Tyler’s superman and his moral code are rejected by Jack’s newly
• Jack destroys his avatar to become truly himself.
• Jack is secure with an ego that enables him to love both himself
(and Marla) and formulate a positive moral vision of a future of
which both he and Marla will be a part.
Id and Ego
Jack has a weak ego (perhaps due to his fatherless
Jack seems unable to relate in an honest way with adults-
he is fundamentally immature.
His only emotive contact with the world is therapy groups
where he lives a lie to experience truth.
His Condo is a shallow, materialistic shell, like his friends
he now masturbates over the IKEA catalogue.
His loneliness and isolation are so profound that when he
meets a woman he likes, he panics.
Arising from this panic, Tyler (ID) emerges.