The study of literature, as we discussed in class, should be relevant to you and enlighten your view of yourself and the world around you. For your research paper, you will pick a topic of your choice – a topic that you find personally enriching and fascinating and relevant to the novel Fight Club – and analyze how your understanding of that topic enhances your reading of Fight Club (and vice versa).
You will choose your own topic, and you will devise your own question for this assignment. This novel deals with many different topics, so you should be able to devise a research question around this novel that draws upon your own interests. For example, sociology majors may want to investigate the role of masculinity in the novel. (What are contemporary definitions of masculinity in American society, and does this novel support these definitions?) Psychology majors may wish to use the DSM IV to learn more about D.I.D. or schizophrenia or some other disorder, then “diagnose” the lead character with one of these illnesses. (From which mental disorder does the main character of Fight Club suffer?) Political science majors may explore the seeming paradox of anarchy and rules, capitalism and communism. (Does Project Mayhem more closely resemble an anarchic group or a communist institution?) English majors may enjoy analyzing the haiku in the novel. (How do the haiku in the novel reinforce or subvert the stated objectives of Project Mayhem and Fight Club?) Philosophy majors may enjoy contemplating the Buddhist or religious allusions or the epistemological considerations of the novel. (How do we know who we are?) Economics majors may analyze the extensive symbolism of supply side economics. Students of architecture can analyze the buildings in the novel. Science majors can think about the ecological considerations of the novel. Biology majors, “This is Jack’s colon!” The list is endless, and these are merely examples of what students may choose.
The best essays provide meaningful, complex analyses that draw upon classroom discussions but are not based upon them. In other words, the best essays do not simply regurgitate information presented in class; superior essays make new connections and devise original interpretations. The best essays are also organized; clearly written; and free of grammatical, syntactical, mechanical, and stylistic errors and inconsistencies. Use MLA style throughout – from paper format to a works cited page. You must use deductive reasoning in at least one body paragraph and underline this portion of your essay.
This interpretive essay will be graded on form and content. I expect these essays to be polished examples of writing, free of grammatical errors, misspellings, and stylistic inconsistencies. They will also be evaluated for clarity. Above all, I expect to see original ideas and compelling analyses here.Think deeply about the parallels between the book and the world around you. (8-10 pages) (200 points)