Fight Club

Fight Club Fight Club and the "Boomerang Generation"

The success of the novel Fight Club launched the career of Chuck Palahniuk, but it wasn't until the novel was adapted for film that its contents made an impact on mass culture. Surely, the irony of this was not entirely lost on either the filmmakers or Palahniuk. Here, a major studio motion picture, one of the most egregious perpetrators of mass-marketing and consumerism, was spreading ideas that mocked the very hand that fed it.

Palahniuk's ideas, and the specter of Tyler Durden, have spread far and wide since the release of both the book and the film. Echoes of Tyler's philosophy can be seen in everything from an adaptation of his appearance (Tyler Durden clothes, sunglasses, Halloween costumes) to the Occupy Wall Street movement. If not everyone can agree that Tyler Durden's ideas present a viable solution to social issues, his ideas have at least highlighted a social issue. Many parents complain of how their children seem to lack a direction in life in their 20s and early 30s. The term "boomerang children" or "boomerang generation" have become part of the vernacular to describe the phenomenon of children who seem to always return home to live and seem incapable of doing so on their own.

The long-held assumption by older generations has been that this generation of boomerang children lack simple discipline and maturity. While that is almost certainly part of the problem, the ideas presented in both the film and novel present another possibility: these children don't feel like they are a part of the world they are inheriting. They don't identify with its values and don't see a compulsion to simply move up a corporate ladder and succumb to the same drudgery they saw their parents endure.

Fortunately, Tyler Durden's ideas also embrace the knowledge of one's mortality. When Raymond K. Hessel, the convenience store clerk and perhaps the epitomy of the Boomerang Generation, is faced with his own mortality, he is pushed to embrace responsibility for his own life. The Narrator essentially graduates him from childhood to adulthood through a traumatic and painful experience.

Through this action, Durden's philosophy stresses a personal responsibility for every individual. Excuses are not acceptable. Both the Narrator and Tyler Durden share that they essentially grew up without fathers in their lives. The adherence to this idea as a means of self-identifying becomes a hinderance over time. It allows one to become complacent. There is no motivation to change because change doesn't seem like a real possibility.