Fight Club (Film) Glossary
Glossary of Terms
"Changeover"The moment at which one projected reel of a motion picture switches over to the next reel. This is done as seamlessly as possible so that the audience does not notice.
"Cigarette burns"A fictitious term for the circular changeover marks that appear in the upper right hand corner of motion picture film prints. They allow the projectionist to time the moment that one projector switches off and the other switches on, allowing the film to play continuously without a break. In reality, this term is not used in the film industry.
"Hitting rock bottom"Generally meaning to reach a point in life where one has lost all possessions, status, or wealth. In the film, Tyler shifts the perception of this term to make it something to aspire to. Hitting rock bottom is equated with reaching a zero point in one's life, allowing that person to rebuild themselves into someone more meaningful. See also "Enlightenment."
"Throwers"A slang term used in the film to refer to airline baggage handlers
"Tiny Life"A term Jack uses to refer to the single-serving portions of everything from soap to airline food that he encounters during his business travels. This single-serving mentality also refers to people that Jack meets on his travels. They are "single-serving friends."
ChakrasA concept originating from Hindu and Yogic texts. Chakras are points on the human body that correspond to centers for receiving and transmitting different energies. Jack encounters the concept while engaging in guided meditation at the group therapy meetings.
CinematographyClosely related to still photography, cinematography is the art of camera, camera angle, lens, and lighting choices as related to motion picture production. Cinematography is handled by a Cinematographer, sometimes called a Director of Photography.
Cue markAlso known as a changeover cue, it is a visual indicator used with motion picture film prints that signals to a projectionist that a reel is about to come to an end. Since films arrive at theaters generally on several reels, this allows the projectionist to change from one reel to the next reel without disrupting the flow of a film. Tyler refers to them as "cigarette burns" though they are not referred to as such in the film industry.
Dark/Black ComedyA story or elements of a story in which the humor comes from situations that are not normally considered humorous.
DemolitionThe act or process of destroying, especially by explosives.
EnlightenmentA spiritual and metaphysical concept applicable in both secular and non-secular settings. Traditionally, enlightenment refers to the comprehension of all things. In a spiritual setting, enlightenment refers to deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things. Many religions suggest that attaining freedom from desire and all worldly passions, as well as the dissolution of the ego, are necessary steps toward reaching enlightenment. Tyler regularly espouses "hitting rock bottom" as an enlightened state.
EuphoricAn elevated or exaggerated sense of happiness or well-being
Fight Choreography/Stage CombatA practice used in theater and film to create the illusion of physical combat involving actors without actually bringing harm to the performers. Fight choreography can be accentuated when combined with various camera angles to heighten the realism of combat.
FlashbackA scene or scenes that momentarily pause the chronology of events in a film to provide a glimpse of a past event or events.
HaikuA short form of Japanese poetry generally characterized by a seasonal reference, the juxtaposition of two images, and 17 morae, viewed as syllables in English, in a 5-7-5 arrangement. Jack composes such haiku poems and emails them to his co-workers.
InsomniaA condition in which the sufferer has difficulty falling or remaining asleep. Insomnia is thought of as a symptom of greater physical, mental, or psychiatric issues and disorders. Insomnia is typically followed by functional difficulties during daytime hours. Jack suffers from insomnia for prolonged periods before he creates Tyler.
LyeSodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, lye is a caustic alkaline substance sometimes referred to as caustic soda. A common industrial ingredient with a variety of uses, lye is hazardous to organic matter and must be handled with extreme care. Tyler utilizes it in the manufacturing of soap and to give Jack/the Narrator a chemical burn on his hand.
NapalmAn incendiary mix of benzene, gasoline, and polystyrene.
NitroglycerinAlso known as trinitroglycerin or glyceryl trinitrate, nitroglycerine is an explosive liquid formed by the nitrating of glycerol. Although nitroglycerin has medical uses as a vasodilator, it was originally used as an explosive for construction and mining purposes.
RenderingA process by which waste animal tissue is converted to useful material. Rendering generally involves drying the material and isolating fat from the other material, generally through the application of heat. The fat obtained can be used in the manufacturing of soap, candles, and grease. In the kitchen, rendering can be used to convert pork fat into lard, or butter into clarified butter.
Tracking ShotA type of camera shot in which the camera moves smoothly through physical space. This shot is so-called because the camera is set up on a dolly which rolls along a length of track.
Unreliable NarratorA narrator in a work of literature, film, or theater whose credibility is compromised. Jack in Fight Club takes us through the events of the novel only to realize that Tyler Durden is not a real person, but a projection of his own imagination. This information then forces the viewer to re-evaluate everything they have seen.
VeterinarianA licensed practitioner of veterinary medicine, specifically the medical care of animals.
Voice-overNarration provided by a character or storyteller that is not spoken by a character while on-screen. Voice-overs can be used to provide information, drive the narrative, or provide humorous or ironic counterpoints.
XanaxKnown non-commercially as Alprazolam, Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders and nausea due to chemotherapy. Marla Singer intentionally overdoses on the drug, which can cause a coma and, in rare cases, death.
Fight Club (Film) Essays and Related Content
- Fight Club (Film): Major Themes
- Fight Club (Film): Essays
- Fight Club (Film): Questions
- Fight Club (Film): Purchase the Novel and Related Material
- David Fincher: Biography
- Fight Club (Film) Summary
- About Fight Club (Film)
- Character List
- Glossary of Terms
- Major Themes
- Quotes and Analysis
- Summary and Analysis of Scenes 1 ("People are always asking me if I know Tyler Durden") to 10 (“She ruined everything”)
- Summary and Analysis of Scenes 11 ("Chloe") to 20 ("After the first month I didn't miss TV")
- Summary and Analysis of Scenes 21 ("Can I be next?") to 30 ("What are you doing in my house?")
- Summary and Analysis of Scenes 31 ("Little Zen center of the universe") to 40 ("You’re going to start a fight with a stranger...and you’re gonna lose”)
- Summary and Analysis of Scene 41 ("We now had corporate sponsorship") to 50 ("His name is Robert Paulson")
- Summary and Analysis of Scenes 51 ("You're Mr. Durden") to 56 ("You met me at a very strange time in my life")
- Fight Club: The Novel vs. The Film
- Related Links on Fight Club (Film)
- Suggested Essay Questions
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 1
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 2
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 3
- Test Yourself! - Quiz 4
- Author of ClassicNote and Sources