Fight Club

The Narrator Character Analysis

The narrator of the novel is never referred to by name. At the beginning of the novel, the Narrator is a frustrated corporate slave, living out a dull, emasculated life. The Narrator soon begins to hallucinate Tyler Durden, his powerful, charismatic alter ego, and host weekly fight clubs designed to help members embrace the physical and the visceral (the Narrator doesn’t realize that he and Tyler are the same person until the end of the book). The Narrator struggles to embrace pain and death as eagerly as Tyler, but he’s more cautious about the morality of the fight club, especially after members begin planning terrorist strikes and assassinations. In the end, the Narrator seems to “hit rock bottom” and embrace death by attempting to kill himself: whether he remains the Narrator afterwards, or whether he merges with his alter ego is left for the reader to decide.

The Narrator Quotes in Fight Club

The Fight Club quotes below are all either spoken by The Narrator or refer to The Narrator. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Consumerism, Perfection, and Modernity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the W. W. Norton edition of Fight Club published in 2005.
Chapter 1 Quotes

I know this because Tyler knows this.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tyler Durden
Page Number: 12
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 5 Quotes

My flight back from Dulles, I had everything in that one bag. When you travel a lot, you learn to pack the same for every trip. Six white shirts. Two black trousers. The bare minimum you need to survive.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 41
Explanation and Analysis:

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Then you're trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 44
Explanation and Analysis:

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Tyler said, "I want you to hit me as hard as you can."

Related Characters: Tyler Durden (speaker), The Narrator
Page Number: 46
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 6 Quotes

The first rule about fight club is you don't talk about fight club.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 48
Explanation and Analysis:

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I'm a thirty-year-old boy, and I'm wondering if another woman is really the answer I need.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 51
Explanation and Analysis:

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The first night we fought was a Sunday night, and Tyler hadn't shaved all weekend so my knuckles burned raw from his weekend beard. Lying on our backs in the parking lot, staring up at the one star that came through the streetlights, I asked Tyler what he'd been fighting. Tyler said, his father.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tyler Durden
Page Number: 53
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 9 Quotes

"You have to see," Tyler says, "how the first soap was made of heroes."
Think about the animals used in product testing.
Think about the monkeys shot into space.
"Without their death, their pain, without their sacrifice," Tyler says, "we would have nothing."

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tyler Durden (speaker)
Related Symbols: Soap
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 12 Quotes

New leather multiplied by labor cost multiplied by administration cost would equal more than our first-quarter profits. If anyone ever discovers our mistake, we can still pay off a lot of grieving families before we come close to the cost of retrofitting sixty-five hundred leather interiors.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 96
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 14 Quotes

Marla's philosophy of life, she told me, is that she can die at any moment. The tragedy of her life is that she doesn't.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Marla Singer
Page Number: 108
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 16 Quotes

When Tyler invented Project Mayhem, Tyler said the goal of Project Mayhem had nothing to do with other people. Tyler didn't care if other people got hurt or not. The goal was to teach each man in the project that he had the power to control history. We, each of us, can take control of the world.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tyler Durden
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:

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The applicant has to arrive with the following:
Two black shirts.
Two black pair of trousers.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 127
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 18 Quotes

Up above me, outlined against the stars in the window, the face smiles. "Those birthday candles," he says, "they're the kind that never go out."
In the starlight, my eyes adjust enough to see smoke braiding up from little fires all around us in the carpet.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), The Mechanic (speaker)
Page Number: 147
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 20 Quotes

Raymond K. K. Hessel, your dinner is going to taste better than any meal you've ever eaten, and tomorrow will be the most beautiful day of your entire life.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Raymond Hessel
Page Number: 155
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 22 Quotes

"What it is," Tyler says, "is we have police who come to fight at fight club and really like it. We have newspaper reporters and law clerks and lawyers, and we know everything before it's going to happen."
We were going to be shut down.
"At least in Seattle," Tyler says.
I ask what did Tyler do about it.
"What did we do about it," Tyler says.
We called an Assault Committee meeting.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tyler Durden (speaker)
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 23 Quotes

I love everything about Tyler Durden, his courage and his smarts. His nerve. Tyler is funny and charming and forceful and independent, and men look up to him and expect him to change their world. Tyler is capable and free, and I am not.
I'm not Tyler Durden.
"But you are, Tyler," Marla says.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Marla Singer (speaker)
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 24 Quotes

"His name is Robert Paulson."
And the crowd yells, "His name is Robert Paulson."
The leaders yell, "He is forty-eight years old."
And the crowd yells, "He is forty-eight years old."

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Bob / Robert Paulson
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 26 Quotes

The three ways to make napalm. I knew Tyler was going to kill my boss. The second I smelled gasoline on my hands, when I said I wanted out of my job, I was giving him permission. Be my guest.
Kill my boss.
Oh, Tyler.
I know a computer blew up.
I know this because Tyler knows this.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Tyler Durden, The Narrator’s boss
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 27 Quotes

There's Marla.
Jump over the edge.
There's Marla, and she's in the middle of everything and doesn't know it.
And she loves you.
She loves Tyler.
She doesn't know the difference.
Somebody has to tell her. Get out. Get out. Get out.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Marla Singer
Page Number: 193
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 28 Quotes

His name was Patrick Madden, and he was the mayor's special envoy on recycling. His name was Patrick Madden, and he was an enemy of Project Mayhem.

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker), Patrick Madden
Page Number: 199
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 29 Quotes

Tyler says, "The last thing we have to do is your martyrdom thing. Your big death thing."

Related Characters: Tyler Durden (speaker), The Narrator
Page Number: 203
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chapter 30 Quotes

“Everything's going according to the plan.”
Whispers:
“We're going to break up civilization so we can make something better out of the world.”
Whispers:
“We look forward to getting you back.”

Related Characters: The Narrator (speaker)
Page Number: 208
Explanation and Analysis:

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Get the entire Fight Club LitChart as a printable PDF.
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The Narrator Character Timeline in Fight Club

The timeline below shows where the character The Narrator appears in Fight Club. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
A man name Tyler Durden sticks a gun down the throat of an unnamed Narrator. The narrator contemplates the correct ways of making a silencer or mixing explosives, thinking, “I... (full context)
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
The narrator and Tyler are sitting on the 192nd floor of a skyscraper, and the narrator thinks... (full context)
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
The Narrator thinks back on everything that’s happened between Tyler and himself. It occurs to him that... (full context)
Chapter 2
Consumerism, Perfection, and Modernity Theme Icon
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
The Narrator remembers hugging a man named Bob—a man with “huge sweating tits.” Bob cries and encourages... (full context)
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The Narrator explains that he was attending support group sessions. Bob’s testicles were removed because he had... (full context)
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As the Narrator hugs Bob, he notices a woman in the testicular cancer support group—as they stare into... (full context)
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The Narrator flashes back to explain how he began going to therapy for problems he didn’t have.... (full context)
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The Narrator went to a cancer support group, and indeed, he saw horrible pain. He met a... (full context)
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Then, the Narrator met Bob at a testicular cancer support group. Bob was a former body builder who... (full context)
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
We return to where we were at the beginning of the chapter: the Narrator meeting the other “faker.” She introduces herself to the Narrator as Marla Singer. The Narrator... (full context)
Chapter 3
Consumerism, Perfection, and Modernity Theme Icon
The Narrator now explains how he came to meet Tyler Durden. The Narrator thinks about his old... (full context)
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...naked body. Soon, he had a huge collection of naked frames of famous actresses. The Narrator’s job involved him traveling from airport to airport; he felt that his life was “ending... (full context)
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...there would be single frames of an erection in the middle of a cartoon. The Narrator then contrasts Tyler’s job with his own: the Narrator worked for a major car company.... (full context)
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One day, the Narrator and Tyler met. The Narrator was on vacation, sitting at a nude beach and taking... (full context)
Chapter 4
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The Narrator went to his usual testicular cancer support group and found that Marla was still there.... (full context)
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The Narrator asks Marla why she comes to support groups, and she explains that she loves “the... (full context)
Chapter 5
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The Narrator flies back to his home, only to find that the airline has retained his luggage.... (full context)
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The Narrator arrives back at his condominium to find police officers gathered outside. They tell the Narrator... (full context)
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With nowhere to go, the Narrator calls Tyler Durden and explains what happened to him. Tyler is amused, and agrees to... (full context)
Chapter 6
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The Narrator sits at his computer at work and tastes blood in his mouth. Tomorrow is fight... (full context)
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The Narrator doubles back to explain what fight club means. The world is full of fight club... (full context)
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The Narrator used to get angry all the time. He had no outlet for his frustration. Then,... (full context)
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The Narrator describes attending a meeting of fight club with Tyler. The members meet underneath a bar,... (full context)
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The Narrator has always been confused. When he turned 25, he called his father, long distance, and... (full context)
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The Narrator flashes back to the night that he and Tyler invented fight club—the night Tyler asked... (full context)
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The Narrator flashes forward—fight club has become a popular, secret group, and more people join every week.... (full context)
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Back at his job, the Narrator sits through a meeting, and notices Walter. Walter is young and innocent, with a good... (full context)
Chapter 7
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The Narrator wakes up in Tyler’s dilapidated home, where he’s been crashing lately. He notices a condom... (full context)
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Later, the Narrator reports, Tyler told him what happened: the previous night, while the Narrator was asleep, Marla... (full context)
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...next day, Tyler wakes up to find that Marla has left, and he tells the Narrator what happened. (full context)
Chapter 8
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The Narrator gets sent home from work because he showed up with blood all over his pants.... (full context)
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To wash the Narrator’s bloody pants, Tyler teaches the Narrator how to make soap. From his fridge, he pulls... (full context)
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Tyler asks the Narrator not to mention him to Marla, ever. The Narrator promises not to do so. Tyler... (full context)
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Suddenly, Tyler kisses the back of the Narrator’s hand. Lye (a caustic solution used in making soap), Tyler explains, hurts horribly and will... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Tyler has just poured lye on The Narrator’s wet hand. The pain is excruciating, but Tyler yells at the Narrator to remain calm.... (full context)
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Tyler then pours vinegar over the Narrator’s hand, neutralizing the burn of the lye. The Narrator sees that he has a scar... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The Narrator assists Tyler during his work as a waiter in a hotel. Tyler urinates in a... (full context)
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At another point, the Narrator recalls, Tyler worked as a waiter at a fancy dinner party; afterwards, he left a... (full context)
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The scene returns to the hotel, where Tyler is urinating in soup. Tyler and the Narrator serve the soup to a convention of dermatologists. One of the doctors, very drunk, is... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Over time, the Narrator learns that Tyler makes good money selling his soaps to fancy stores—people say his soap... (full context)
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Tyler and the Narrator sit by a used car lot, surrounded by old vehicles. The Narrator explains that he... (full context)
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The Narrator flashes back to explain what happened. Tyler went to the post office and bluffed his... (full context)
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...package, saying that she wanted to put it in the freezer. She insisted that the Narrator had told her she could—something that the Narrator angrily denies. Marla shows the Narrator what... (full context)
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...looked in the freezer and realized that Tyler had been using Marla’s mother’s collagen. The Narrator explains that he used the collagen to make soap, and Marla is furious—she accuses the... (full context)
Chapter 12
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The Narrator sits at his desk at work. The Narrator realizes that his car company is going... (full context)
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The Narrator’s boss approaches him, holding a copy of the “rules of fight club,” which the Narrator... (full context)
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Over the weekend, the Narrator goes to his testicular cancer support group and finds Bob there—but nobody else. Bob, excited... (full context)
Chapter 13
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The Narrator shows up at Marla’s hotel; Marla has called him there. Marla is calm, despite the... (full context)
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The Narrator continues to examine Marla’s breasts; as he does, he tries to make Marla laugh. He... (full context)
Chapter 14
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With the Narrator’s help, Marla has found two lumps on her breasts, and so she starts going to... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the police begin calling the Narrator at Tyler’s house, asking about his condominium explosion. Over the phone, a detective explains that... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Tyler encourages the Narrator to have a similar conversation with the president of the hotel where the Narrator and... (full context)
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The Narrator describes how the head of the projectionist union chapter punched Tyler in fury—Tyler just laughed... (full context)
Chapter 16
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Tyler invented Project Mayhem at a fight club meeting. The Narrator fought a new member and hit him until his face was “ruined.” Afterwards, he fantasized... (full context)
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In the days following their breakfast, Tyler gets the Narrator to print the “rules of Project Mayhem,” and begins welcoming people into the house—they all... (full context)
Chapter 17
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At the house, the Narrator finds a man waiting outside. Tyler and the Narrator survey the man and Tyler mutters... (full context)
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The Narrator leaves the house to meet with Marla. Together, they talk about their lives—Marla has breast... (full context)
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In the following weeks, the Narrator notices that Project Mayhem members have “Tyler’s kiss” on their hands. Yet Tyler is almost... (full context)
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The Narrator looks for Tyler Durden everywhere, but never finds him. He finds himself walking around late... (full context)
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Marla visits again, and the Narrator walks outside with her. As they walk, the Narrator notices a human jawbone half-buried in... (full context)
Chapter 18
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The Narrator falls asleep at his desk at work. He’s been especially lazy at work, and he’s... (full context)
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The mechanic asks the Narrator what he would have liked to do before dying, and The Narrator, terrified of crashing,... (full context)
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The Narrator, dizzy from hitting his head, rests his head in the mechanic’s lap. The mechanic, still... (full context)
Chapter 19
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After his near-accident, The Narrator is still in the car, driven by the mechanic, with the three other space monkeys... (full context)
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...he’s been running errands for Tyler, picking up fat. He speaks in phrases that the Narrator recognizes hearing from Tyler for the first time. (full context)
Chapter 20
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The Narrator stands over a man called Raymond Hessel, pointing a gun at his head. The Narrator’s... (full context)
Chapter 21
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The Narrator travels across the country, trying to find Tyler Durden. He goes through various airports and... (full context)
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At a bar in Seattle, the Narrator meets a bartender with a broken nose who calls him “Sir.” The Narrator asks the... (full context)
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The Narrator calls Marla from Seattle and asks her if they’ve ever had sex. Marla is confused—of... (full context)
Chapter 22
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The Narrator has just heard from Marla that he is Tyler Durden. He sits in his motel... (full context)
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Tyler continues to tell the Narrator about Project Mayhem—there are chapters all over the country. Tyler has been visiting the same... (full context)
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Tyler continues to tell the Narrator about “their” plans to attack the police. They attacked the Seattle Police commissioner, who’s been... (full context)
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When the Narrator is awake, Tyler explains, he’s in control—but when he’s asleep, Tyler takes over his body.... (full context)
Chapter 23
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The Narrator flies home as quickly as he can. At the house, Marla is sitting inside, and... (full context)
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Hurriedly, the Narrator takes Marla out of the house to the nearest Denny’s. There, the waiter, who looks... (full context)
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The Narrator tries to convince Marla, and himself, that he’s not Tyler Durden, but Marla claims, “Everyone... (full context)
Chapter 24
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The Narrator returns to the house to find that Bob is dead. Bob and other members of... (full context)
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The Narrator, furious, remembers meeting Bob long ago, when he was still going to support groups. He... (full context)
Chapter 25
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The Narrator goes to stay with Marla in her hotel to ensure that he won’t go to... (full context)
Chapter 26
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The Narrator takes the bus to work the next day, and he notices police barricades around the... (full context)
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Instead of getting off the bus at work, the Narrator stays on it. Suddenly, he realizes that everyone on the bus is a member of... (full context)
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...his knife, there’s a siren—it’s the cops. The cops climb aboard the bus, and the Narrator realizes the police are members of Project Mayhem, too. (full context)
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As the members of Project Mayhem crowd over him, the Narrator feels someone cutting away his pants and slipping a rubber band around his testicles. Someone... (full context)
Chapter 27
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The Narrator wakes up in the ruins of his old condo. He “checks,” and finds that he... (full context)
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The Narrator goes downstairs, and the doorman greets him, calling him, “Sir.” The Narrator calls Marla and... (full context)
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Shortly afterwards, the Narrator is standing with Marla in the basement of the First Methodist church, where they first... (full context)
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The Narrator tries to tell Marla the truth: he’s afraid Project Mayhem might try to hurt Marla.... (full context)
Chapter 28
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The man whom the Narrator (Tyler) shot at the hotel was named Patrick Madden, and he was a government official,... (full context)
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The Narrator goes to the basement of a local bar, and inside he finds a fight club... (full context)
Chapter 29
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The Narrator wakes up in Tyler’s house—Tyler is standing over him. Tyler tells the Narrator, “The last... (full context)
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Moments later, Tyler and the Narrator are in the top floor of the skyscraper (exactly where they were at the beginning... (full context)
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The Narrator hears a yell, and suddenly Marla rushes into the room. She’s followed by the people... (full context)
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The Narrator realizes what’s happened: previously, Tyler and his team planned to blow up the building using... (full context)
Chapter 30
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“The Narrator” describes life in Heaven: everything is very white, and there are lots of beautiful angels.... (full context)
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“The Narrator” tells the truth: when he shot himself, the bullet tore through his cheek and out... (full context)