In the late 20th century, capitalist consumerism flourished the economy. Large corporations were able to profit, but the working and unskilled classes were exploited to accept basic salaries in the competitive markets. In the 1996 satirical novel Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk introduces a nameless narrator, whose monotonous job is to assess whether or not products should be recalled. Unable to find fulfillment in his life, the narrator believes he suffers from insomnia, when in fact, his other identity surfaces. The name of this repressed identity is Tyler Durden, who is arguably the alter ego of the narrator. While the narrator is a weak and passive, Tyler is a strong and aggressive. Through the anarchistic organization of Fight Club, which is meant to undermine social structure, Tyler Durden arranges fights among frustrated men but also proceeds to orchestrate large-scale acts of public destruction. Because both the narrator and Tyler are driven by hatred, they are also obsessed with the idea of death. Specifically, every character is involved one way or another with morbidity: attending cancer support groups, fighting till near death, committing suicide or philosophizing about mortality. Perhaps, the characters are only able to be comforted with the imminence of the end of their lives by confronting it. Moreover, many of them believe that if they can capture the attention of the society with their violent ways, they can create positive change to the economically unjust system.
The novel begins with the grim scene of the narrator placing the barrel of a gun into his own mouth. Readers are not provided with an explanation for the attempted suicide, although we discover in the end that the narrator was attempting to kill Tyler. Incorporating flashbacks and flashforwards, Palahniuk interweaves the motif of death to demonstrate that the narrator has been suffering from discontentment for at least two years.