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Layton, L. (2011). Something to Do with a Girl Named Marla Singer: Capitalism, Narcissism, and Therapeutic Discourse in David Fincher's Fight Club. Free Associations, 12(2):111-133.

(2011). Free Associations, 12(2):111-133

Something to Do with a Girl Named Marla Singer: Capitalism, Narcissism, and Therapeutic Discourse in David Fincher's Fight Club

Lynne Layton, Ph.D.

David Fincher's Fight Club well represents the violent effects of capitalism on psychic structure. While offering a critique of the violence wrought by commodity capitalism and technical rationality, and while empathizing with the pain suffered by the narcissistic character structure it fosters, the film simultaneously presents a narrative whose form mimics the damaging effects of capitalism on the male psyche. The film offers two different solutions to the main character's suffering: self-help therapy groups and fight club. The paper argues that the incoherence introduced by a narrative rupture that separates the presentation of the two solutions - a rupture blamed on the film's female protagonist - represents the site of unconscious conflict. Although the film makes it clear that the protagonist's pain is a result of the meaninglessness of his relationships and the immorality of his job, the film yet proffers remasculinization as a solution. In so doing, the film suggests that narcissistic wounds are best treated by shoring up male narcissism.

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