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In Fight Club, The Narrator and Tyler are Grown up Calvin and Hobbes

by Emily Keen

It is being speculated that In Fight Club, the narrator and Tyler are actually adult Calvin and Hobbes from the popular American comic by Bill Watterson. The comic spanned over the period of November 1985 to December 1995. The comic revolves around the humorous antics of Calvin and Hobbes (Hobbes being Calvin’s stuffed Tiger). But like in every comic, the Tiger is anthropomorphic.

Fight Club was based on Chuck Palahniuk’s 1996 novel of the same title. Brad Pitt and Edward Norton star in a feature helmed by David Fincher. The Narrator of the story is bored from his life and his executive job. One fine day he meets Tyle Durden the soap maker along with whom they form the “Fight Club”. As the fight club begins to prosper, the thing starts to turn wild.

Coming back to the theory! It goes like this- Calvin grows up to be the narrator and Hobbes becomes Tyler Durden but now he is fully human. The theory speculates that the bullying Calvin is subjected to in seventh grade makes him unimage Hobbes. But Hobbes’perception still remains unaltered somewhere in the deep corners of Calvin’s mind. Hobbes is not around Calvin but may have been waiting for him to free him. When Calvin grows up he eventually brings Hobbes back as Tyler Durden.

What is the basis for this speculation?

This may sound like we are only trying to find reasons to believe the theory. The hypothesis stems from the belief that Hobbes and Tyler Durden are not real but only an image in their respective stories.

Let us see why this theory makes no sense:

  1. What made Calvin change his name? Also, The Narrators’ name in Fight Club may have been revealed in one particular scene as Jack. So the hypothesis that Calvin is the narrator cannot be effectively proved.
  2. Why did Calvin bring back Hobbes as an aggressive personality? It is possible that our hardships as humans tend to make us want to channel the rage we feel inside through some means. But id Calvin did have a hard life, a more calm and sensible version of Hobbes was a practical answer.
  3. Calvin and Hobbes and The Narrator and Tyler both have their own clubs. GROSS (Get rid of Slimy Girls) is the club that Calvin and Hobbes started. The Narrator and Tyler are the Fight Club. But we cannot ignore the fact that both these clubs are completely different.
  4. And the most significant difference between Hobbes and Tyler is their personalities. Hobbes is a very sensible and composed tiger. Tyler Durden, however, harbors an offbeat personality who loses his calm on many occasions.

 

All the above evidence points towards the fact that this theory does not hold a practical explanation. Although it does account for an interesting story.  What do you think?

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The dark heroism in Taxi Driver, Fight Club and Mr.Robot

by Mishika Goel

The gradual decline of society, unhinged moral compasses, sleazy reality. One man against the rest of the world. Loneliness, the silent killer.

Martin Scorsese’s Taxi Driver paints a world that is sadly not strange to us.

We, like the New York taxi cabs, are trying to find our place, our destination amidst the chaotic reality. Or maybe some of us are like Travis Bickle, the anti heroes in our own stories, trying to recover from our loneliness while losing our minds in the process, believing we can save the world, fix broken lives while letting our own get shattered soundlessly.

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Travis, like Tyler Durden from Fight Club or Elliott Alderson from Mr.Robot is glum with the way things are, media and celebrities making us want to buy things we don’t need, the government and corporations making us pawns in their game of chess, social media advertising us as a product in the market, all of these things destructing our purpose of existence, and making us give in to the bureaucracy.

These anti heroes are drowning in their own forlorn world, convinced that they are destined to change the system. Maybe it’s just the loneliness driving them to prove themselves to the world, to make others acknowledge their existence. The end sequence in Taxi Driver, where Travis is shown being celebrated as a hero, being finally appreciated is a testimony to that fact. Had he succeeded in his attempt to assassinate Palantine, the media would have presented him as a deranged anti-national. After all, the media shows us what it wants us to believe. It sells, we buy. Consumerism is literally consuming us, every hour of every day, trapping us into a chasm while we go on believing that it’s the best for us.

 “What is it about society that disappoints you so much? “
“Oh I don’t know, is it that we collectively thought Steve Jobs was a great man even when we knew he  made billions off the backs of children?
 Or maybe it’s just that it feels like all our heroes are counterfeit; the world itself’s just one big hoax. Or is it that we voted for this?”
 (From Mr.Robot)

Maybe people like Travis get so sick of the world; they start living in a fugue state, like Tyler and Elliott. They detach from reality, thinking that they can change the reality. Ironic, isn’t it?

Travis is aware of the fact that he’s lonely, much like Tyler, who finds his escape in a fight club by venting out his anger and gaining a sense of purpose, or like Elliott, who is just one among the thousands of employees at E Corp, being choked by bureaucracy and political games.

“You talking to me? Then who the hell else are you talking to?

   You talking to me? Well I’m the only one here.”
    (Travis says this as he looks into a mirror)

This scene implies just how lonely he is. It makes us feel sorry for him, but there’s a strange sense of fear too, as we see him descend into madness.

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These complicated characters represent our deteriorating society. They don’t realize the magnitude of their actions, the impending consequences. What is it that drives them to go for it anyway? Is it just sheer will to revive the morality? Is it because they believe they will only be accepted and appreciated in the society
they create? Or is it just because they are lonely and need a change not only in the society but also in their own lives?

These vigilantes’ desire to bring a change does connect to us indeed. We realise that we are living in a similar society, the walls are crashing down and there’s a need for a radical change. But unlike them, maybe we are too afraid of losing our control over the Elliot within us and giving way to Mr.Robot instead. These stories appeal to us not only because we connect to them, but also because these characters do what we aren’t able to, putting on the anti hero mask and bringing down the society, even if it ends up changing their own nature.

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