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Masculinity in Chuck Palahniuk's Work

In: English and Literature

Submitted By maggiewhitham
Words 7055
Pages 29
Introduction
Mass culture would have most readers and viewers believing that the Post-modern American male is a simple creature. Common stereotypes margin male satisfaction in a minimal setting – a Lazyboy armchair in a lounge with a flat screen TV playing ‘the game’ along with primal banter regarding women. More often than not, this is washed down with a beer. With this array of comfort and leisure we are inclined to believe that male lifestyle has reached its peak on the timeline of satisfaction. This was until David Fincher took Chuck Palahniuk’s novel Fight Club and made it into a big budget Hollywood blockbuster. With the male demographic being the hardest to pinpoint in the literature sense, David Fincher’s adaptation helpfully put Palahniuk’s thoughts into the cinematic forefront. This increased the popularity of Palahniuk’s other works and placed him in the cannon of Post-modern American fiction. It is the issues of modern masculinity that grasps critics’ attention more so than any other Palahniuk themes. It is very apparent that masculinity has changed as a natural progression of modernisation.

This dissertation will analyse masculinity as it is depicted in Palahniuk’s writings and explore Palahniuk’s intentions and beliefs. I will interpret the responses of select critics in order to gain some understanding of what Palahniuk deems to be the ideal model of masculinity in the modern world, beneath his post-modern twists, transgressive characterization and vecernal style. This discussion will attempt to uncover what Palahniuk portrays as the cause of emasculation, if anything at all. To begin I will discuss the excess of recent decades and how it has effected men’s lifestyle, in reference to money, media, consumerism and access to information. Following on from this I will discuss Palahniuk’s exploration of sex and sexuality in order to gain...

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