Fight Club Compared To Siddhartha

Word Count: 645

Since the beginning of time, man
has been on a quest to find his inner self. This topic has
been the theme of many books and researches. This is no
exception, in the 1959 book, Siddhartha by Hermann
Hesse. In this particular story the main character,
Siddhartha, is trying to find his ‘inner self’. He tries to
accomplish this in many ways, one being self denial or
destruction. This is also the case in the 1996 book, Fight
Club by Chuck Palahniuk, in which the main theme
promoted is that destruction leads to purity. These two
works, written almost 40 years apart, which at first glance
seem to be complete opposites, are actually spawns from
the archetypal theme of man’s quest from self knowledge.
Many issues in each of these stories give reason to believe
that the authors had the same idea in mind. It could also be
said that the author of Fight Club may have read
Siddhartha. This is so because of the fact that many quotes
in Fight Club relate to Hinduism, which is the religion of the
heron in Siddhartha. For example, at a point in Fight Club,
a character questions his safety. The reply from the
character, Tyler Durden, is, “You’re as safe as a Hindu
cow”, is a metaphor that since the cow is very respected in
the Hindu religion and is not harmed. This may be mere
coincidence, but other information gives reason to believe
otherwise. Other than just saying that there is a connection
with something that is said in the two books, there is also
connections with the themes and styles of each book. In
Siddhartha the charters often speak in ways the you may
have to think about to understand the full meaning. This is
also true in the case of Fight Club. At one point in
Siddhartha, the character Govinda [Siddhartha’s friend]
says, “He who in contemplation, with purified mind,
immerses himself in Atman, Inexpressible in words is his
heart’s bliss.” These quotes convey the idea of the actually
enlightenment. In Fight Club, it is common to see quotes
like, “You are not a beautiful and unique snow flake” which
tells Tyler Durden’s followers that what they may think they
are is completely false. This type of put down is a major
ingredient in the stew of mayhem which leads to
enlightenment. When you compare the actual meanings of
Fight Club and Siddhartha, you will find that they are very
much alike. Fight Club is a release for people. It helps you
know yourself, know what you can do, and know your
limits. In the book, it would often be used by people with
terminal illnesses in place of a support group. The ultimate
goal of what the people where trying to accomplish in Fight
Club was to gain complete self fulfillment by doing
something that ordinarily would not be considered helpful,
but painful. In Siddharha, the main character is also trying
to find fulfillment to break the cycle of life in which we are
trapped. An idea that is shared in the two works is that
time is an illusion. The main character in Fight Club, who is
referred to as Jack, has insomnia. He pleases him self by
buying things, but later on finds out that, “It is only until
you’ve lost everything, are you free to do anything” which
is also a theory that Siddhartha has. This is expresses in the
line from Siddhartha that states, “May I never be complete,
may I never be content.” These quotes show that this
theory of finding ones ‘self’ is a universal idea shared by
everyone. May it be the style of writing, the well thought
out phrases, or the over all theme of these books, it can be
easily shown that these works are very similar. Many other
people have written books based on the principals that, “In
death we become heroes” and “Disaster is part of
evolution”, showing that only by destruction and pain, will
one find and experience his self. This archetypal theme has
been discussed for as long time has existed and will
continue to be spawned into many other works of
literature, each having common traits and sharing the
common idea of finding a meaning in life.