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In the film Fight Club, Edward Norton plays the role of the Narrator, who is a white–collared insomniac. The main character Edward Norton in the film applied himself the Ego defense mechanism namely displacement and reaction formation. The main character adopted a different character for himself to avoid reality and to live a different easier life in society. The Ego is a defense mechanism in the psychological process that aids a person in overcoming anxiety, unresolved conflict, unresolved desires, and the stressful conflict of society. Freud has divided the human mind into three; ID, SUPER EGO, EGO. When the ego, superego, and id are combined, they describe the interactions and relations between the conscious and unconscious mind. The character Tyler Durden in the film portrays the id, his alter ego as the character Edward Norton in the middle of the film, and his Super Ego as Edward Norton in the end of the firm when he ends the internal conflict in his life. Throughout the film, we see a character shifting between the three levels of the Freudian mind in the actor Tyler Durden which precisely shows that the film has successfully implied the ideas of id, ego, and super-ego.

In the Freudian theory, the Id mainly acts as part of the conscience of an individual that contains the principle of pleasure that is needed to fulfill one’s primal desires and dreams.

“Ideas emerge often in disregard of logic and grammar, following pathways of condensation and displacement to which experience of satisfaction are attached”- (MARTIN WANGH).

The id has a direct relation and correspondence to one’s thoughts and ideas. Tyler Durden is the ID of the narrator in the film Fight Club. In the beginning of the film, the instance at which the narrator first meets his ID Tyler Durden, the narrator is suddenly smitten with his lifestyle and finds everything he wants in his life. Tyler Durden is attractive, cunning, and impulsive, the most important thing that entices the narrator is his current happy lifestyle which is entirely different from his shady and unhappy lifestyle. When the narrator talks to his id his character is very influential to him and says comments like.

“I say never be complete, I say never be perfect, I say let’s evolve”- (Fight Club movie 00:30:14)

At this part of the movie the narrator and Tyler Durden start to evolve into a single character, they evolve as one. Tyler Durden in the film has family issues mainly with his father, Tyler’s father abandoned him and his family many times. so, when the narrator asks Tyler Durden if you are given a chance to fight whom will you fight at this exact moment,

“I would fight my dad”- (Tyler Durden)

The rest of the conversation between them about their parents, the narrator continuously says;

“He is a thirty-year-old boy”- (Narrator)

From this scene, we can infer that both the narrator and his id have a strained and bitter relationship with their father. Their comment is also a reference to the Oedipus Complex as they refer to themselves as “boys” versus “men”.

Tyler also adds a comment

“We are a generation of men raised by women”- (Tyler Durden)

These conversations point to us the repressed and strained relationship, both the characters had towards their parent of the same sex. Oedipus complex is applied here as both of the characters express their ineffective relationships towards their father, it clearly shows us that the animosity a child displays toward their father is purely in the realm of the unconscious mind which lies below the conscious mind. The unconscious mind is ID in its clear sense which happens to be Tyler. Both the narrator and Tyler are one and the unconscious mind has a great effect on him. The bitter, restrained feelings are all repressed in his unconscious mind which he is not conscious about.

The next is the EGO the part of the Freudian mind that is determined to satisfy the Id and it does this by using realistic strategy The ego does this by creating a different realistic character that can be influenced by his traumas or past bitter experiences. The Ego tries to fulfil the unrequited desires of the ID, it is an unconscious self and makes sure the desires are fulfilled in reality.

“Nothing has entered into you from without; a part of the activity of your mind has been withdrawn from your knowledge and the command of your will. That, too, is why you are so weak in your defense; you are using one part of your force to fight the other part and you cannot concentrate the whole of your force as you would against an external enemy. And it is not even the worst or least important part of your mental forces that has thus become antagonistic to you and independent of you”- (Freud-Revue Francoise de psychanalyst)

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The narrator, the alter ego of Tyler Durden is implied in the middle of the film. For the success of the club, the narrator makes personal sacrifices for Tyler Durden. In the film, there is an instance in which the narrator beats his boss in the boss’s office, which provides an effective relationship for the narrator and Tyler Durden to run the fight club.

“A telephone, computer, fax machine, fifty-two weekly paychecks, forty -eight air flight coupons and now corporate sponsorships” – (narrator to the boss)

This comment from the narrator towards his boss shows us that he is stifled and asphyxiated with his job and now the narrator wants to produce everything for the fight club, its effective smooth run. Through this the narrator pleases and satisfies Tyler Durden his other self, the narrator tries to achieve everything through the character Tyler Durden with a means of self-harm and potentially losing his job. As the film progresses, we can see the shift of change from the narrator to Tyler Durden. At the start of the film the narrator never smokes or has any bad habits, he visits the support group for relief, but by the end of the film, the narrator despises the support group and starts to smoke. This clearly shows us that the narrator tries to become like Tyler and his needs are now the needs of the narrator. Tyler is everything that the narrator wishes to be. The narrator also has suppressed feelings for Tyler. The narrator comments on his feelings with hints such as;

“Why do you still waste time with her”- (narrator referring to Tyler’s love interest Marla)

Another member of the fight club Angel’s Face had an intimate relationship with Tyler Durden, He also seems to favor him over the narrator. The narrator could not concede this favoritism of Tyler towards Angel Face over the narrator.

“I am Jack’s inflamed sense of rejection”- (Narrator)

The narrator later beats Angel Face and he is hospitalized, his face is even unrecognizable. The narrator’s animosity towards Marla and Angel comes from a sexual desire for Tyler. From a Freudian analysis, we can call it homoerotic. This sexual desire is special and different because the narrator seldom wants a physical relationship with him but the narrator wants to become Tyler as all the narrator’s feelings, dreams, desires everything is represented as Tyler. The narrator created the character Tyler Durden to fulfill his desires through him.

The Super Ego is the third element of the Freudian mind, the conscience which acts as the amoral self. Similar to the ego past traumas or bitter experiences can cause a superego in an individual’s life. The main aim of the superego is not only to appeal to oneself but also to the safety of others. The conscience level enables a sense of morality and a duty towards society, and the welfare of the people.

The ideals that contribute to the formation of the superego include not just the morals and values that we learn from our parents, but also the ideas of right and wrong that we acquire from society and the culture in which we live. -(Freud)

The narrator’s evolution from ego to superego can be seen at the end of the film as Tyler does not involve the narrator in the project mayhem. A central organization developed to defeat modern civilization. Here we can see the shift of the narrator, he starts to distrust Tyler and understands the illegal and criminal activities of the fight club. The narrator solely understands this as wrong and illegal. The project mayhem results in the death of Bob who is the friend of the narrator from the social group, the entire group of the fight club wants to bury the body behind the headquarters. The narrator detests the plan as he knows it is morally wrong. This act shows the shift of the character to a superego, the narrator starts to show a sense of morality. There is also another example from the movie that shows us the transition when narrator fights Tyler, which is himself. Tyler says

“You are now firing a gun at your imaginary friend”- (Tyler)

The narrator starts to punch Tyler which is himself, to destroy his id, and at last the narrator understands the only way to kill his id is to kill himself by shooting himself in his mouth. Before pulling the trigger, the narrator comments;

“I am doing this; we are doing this”-(narrator)

The narrator killed his id through attempted suicide. This final act shows us that everything was fun for the narrator unless he transition to the super-ego. The superego aroused the realm of conscience, a feeling of morality, and a sense of right and wrong. This enabled him to kill his Id at his last. The destruction of Tyler allowed the narrator to become himself.

The movie Fight Club shows us the difference in the narrator’s conscience as well as his transition through the id, ego, and super-ego.

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