Fight Club Essays

Introduction for Essay

For this research paper, I have chosen a classic movie of the ’90s known as “Fight Club.” This movie is one of a kind and digs deep into the life of an insomniac protagonist. This movie/book shows you that the normal everyday life that society portrays us to live can have an altered effect when we become so obsessed with just being normal. It shows that our obsessions and phobias, as well as our habits, can manipulate us.

Research Paper on Fight Club Essay: Dissociative Identity Disorder in Focus

The main character of this story has a mental illness known as “Dissociative Identify Disorder,” which is known as a multiple personality disorder or split personality. This illness portrays the patient to have the presence of two or more distinct identities. At least two of these identities or personalities take control of the patient’s behavior. The background of this disorder is said to stem onset from childhood. Once the disorder is established, it usually lasts a lifetime if not treated. In the movie Fight Club, the narrator of the movie develops a secondary personality in which he names “Tyler Durdan.” Edward Norton’s character is never directly addressed by his real name, not even in the credits. That was something that I realized after watching the movie a few times. In the movie, the character “Tyler Durdan” plays Brad Pitt. Tyler Durdan is everything that Edward Norton is not. He’s everything that he ever desired to be in life. Since Edward Norton’s character has insomnia, he attempts to relate to others out of disparity and joins multiple support groups for patients of all disorders, including terminal illnesses. In the movie they have Edward Norton meets Tyler Durdan, who is a soap salesman, on a bus ride home. They end up becoming friends as well as roommates after getting into a physical altercation in a parking lot.

Argumentative Essay Examples on Fight Club

After reading and sifting through the DSM5, I noticed a few comparisons to the movie Fight Club that were used when trying to portray someone with multiple personality disorders. In the DSM5, they state the following, “Negative Affectivity (vs. Emotional Stability): Frequent and intense experiences of high levels of a wide range of negative emotions (e.g., anxiety, depression, guilt/ shame, worry, anger), and their behavioral (e.g., self-harm) and interpersonal (e.g., dependency) manifestations.” This is very similar to some occurrences in the movie and how the main character feels throughout. Edward Norton has a large amount of depression and anxiety due to his insomnia. In the table of the DSM on page 775, they give you a scale of impairment of how the diagnosed person would be either capable or not capable of understanding. Another relation to the diagnoses that I had found was in regards to insomnia, which is what Edward Norton was diagnosed with originally that started everything, “insomnia or hypersomnia nearly every day.”

Titles: Impact of Dissociative Identity Disorder on Relationships in ‘Fight Club’

In terms of how complete the diagnosis would be compared to the character, I would say that it’s minimally compared. It seems to be that there is definitely some aspects there; however not as modernly detailed as what the DSM5 states. If I had to state what Hollywood had gotten right, or if they even did, I would say that it was not portrayed as someone who is diagnosed with multiple personality disorder. However, Hollywood did relate some symptoms that relate or correlate to the actual criteria of the disorder. Some things that Hollywood relates are Edward Norton not able to recall events, him having memory lapses, and also auditory hallucinations. The “primary” personality does not communicate with the alter one, but it can be common. The point of the switch between the alters, most of the time, is instantaneous; however, in the movies as well as on TV, it is overly dramatic and drawn out to something that it isn’t. One aspect of the disorder that the movie had gotten right was that the narrator Edward Norton uses his Tyler Durden personality as a coping mechanism. Tyler was the dominant personality in this case, taking over the narrator who was unable to live happily in life or find a purpose. The narrator and the audience were on the same page that Tyler was inside his head and part of his dissociative identity disorder.

Research Papers: Treatment of DID in ‘Fight Club’ 

There are some specific behaviors shown in certain scenes that illustrate some of the hallmarks of the disorder. This disorder is known to cause violence that can be both self-inflicted as well as out wordily directed, which is demonstrated in a scene where Tyler Durdan pours acid on Edward Norton’s hand, which causes his flesh to be burned so badly that it creates a large rippled scar. Having the altered personality cause pain is not uncommon for someone with this disorder to do. I did, however, really appreciate the quote that was stated in this scene which, was “It only after we lost everything that we are free to do anything” This shortly means that it’s not until you’ve really hit rock bottom that you can actually reach your absolute self. In particular, I spoke in prior paragraphs in regard to personality altering. However, in the movie, they exaggerate it greatly by showing it as if Edward Norton was tripping or hallucinating on drugs in a slow effect which is false as to how the alternate personality comes out. This isn’t something that shows the truth about the disorder. They do, however, show multiple scenes in which Edward Norton has severe insomnia, and they do state in the scene that he has not slept in 6 months which he, in return, goes to visit a doctor to try and get drugs to fix this problem. This is not uncommon with Disassociate Identity Disorder which is stated in the DSM5.


Unfortunately, there are no real medications that can treat this disorder. Certain doctors can prescribe medications such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, or any type of antipsychotic medications that can assist and possibly help the patient with this disorder. It seems that this type of disorder is so far advanced that it is nearly impossible to cure. However, it is always possible that down the line, with the right technology and in the future, we could alter the function of the brain to chemically balance it back to normal. By watching this movie, you’re able to see the struggle the people around Edward Norton actually go through. This is not an easy disorder to understand, in fact, after reading the DSM5 and watching this movie a few times, it seems to be one of the more nerve-wracking and shocking disorders. Until we find a way to fix this disorder, we have to try and sift through and cope with the different personalities that our loved ones subside. 

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