Fight Club

Tyler Durden Character Analysis

Tyler Durden is the Narrator’s imaginary alter ego, the embodiment of his “death drive” and repressed masculinity. In many ways, though, Tyler is more “real” than the Narrator himself, as suggested by the fact that he has a name and the Narrator does not. Tyler is charismatic, cunning, and ambitious, and when “the Narrator” (speaking as Tyler Durden) speaks to the members of fight club, they respect him enormously; indeed, they refer to the Narrator as “Mr. Durden” (since, from their perspective, the Narrator and Tyler are one and the same). Tyler’s lack of inhibition and his desire to be “real” leads him to embrace pain and danger at all times. Eventually, Tyler becomes more powerful than the Narrator, to the point where he takes control of the Narrator’s body for most of the time (when the Narrator is supposedly sleeping), and sends members of fight club and Project Mayhem on increasingly dangerous and destructive missions. In the end, the Narrator seems to “defeat” Tyler by shooting himself in the head—suggesting that the Narrator has embraced his “death drive” and perhaps become one with Tyler.

Tyler Durden Quotes in Fight Club

The Fight Club quotes below are all either spoken by Tyler Durden or refer to Tyler Durden. 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

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 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 15 Quotes

After the union president had slugged Tyler to the floor, after mister president saw Tyler wasn't fighting back, his honor with his big Cadillac body bigger and stronger than he would ever really need, his honor hauled his wingtip back and kicked Tyler in the ribs and Tyler laughed. His honor shot the wingtip into Tyler's kidneys after Tyler curled into a ball, but Tyler was still laughing.
"Get it out," Tyler said. "Trust me. You'll feel a lot better. You'll feel great."

Related Characters: Tyler Durden (speaker)
Page Number: 115
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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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 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 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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Tyler Durden Character Timeline in Fight Club

The timeline below shows where the character Tyler Durden 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... (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 about what... (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 the destruction of the skyscraper is “really about”... (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 job, a job that led him to travel... (full context)
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Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
During his work as a projectionist, Tyler would steal slides from movies—if there was a naked woman shown in the film, Tyler... (full context)
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In secret, Tyler liked to splice single frames from pornographic films into family movies—sometimes, there would be single... (full context)
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
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One day, the Narrator and Tyler met. The Narrator was on vacation, sitting at a nude beach and taking a nap.... (full context)
Chapter 5
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
With nowhere to go, the Narrator calls Tyler Durden and explains what happened to him. Tyler is amused, and agrees to meet the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Consumerism, Perfection, and Modernity Theme Icon
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...go back to their regular lives. Fight club began, the Narrator remembers, when he and Tyler began hitting each other for fun. (full context)
Consumerism, Perfection, and Modernity Theme Icon
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
The Narrator describes attending a meeting of fight club with Tyler. The members meet underneath a bar, and every week more people show up. Tyler barks... (full context)
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
The Narrator flashes back to the night that he and Tyler invented fight club—the night Tyler asked the Narrator to punch him. Neither the Narrator nor... (full context)
Consumerism, Perfection, and Modernity Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...forward—fight club has become a popular, secret group, and more people join every week. As Tyler points out at every meeting, the fight club only has new members because someone broke... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
The Narrator wakes up in Tyler’s dilapidated home, where he’s been crashing lately. He notices a condom floating in the toilet,... (full context)
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Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
Later, the Narrator reports, Tyler told him what happened: the previous night, while the Narrator was asleep, Marla called from... (full context)
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
Instead, Tyler went to the hotel and found Marla looking weak and sleepy. He pulls Marla out... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
...pants. He leaves, thinking about how he’s given up his worldly possessions to live with Tyler and fight. When he’s home, he can hear Tyler and Marla having sex. Over time,... (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 out a big... (full context)
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Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
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Tyler asks the Narrator not to mention him to Marla, ever. The Narrator promises not to... (full context)
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Suddenly, Tyler kisses the back of the Narrator’s hand. Lye (a caustic solution used in making soap),... (full context)
Chapter 9
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Tyler has just poured lye on The Narrator’s wet hand. The pain is excruciating, but Tyler... (full context)
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Tyler then pours vinegar over the Narrator’s hand, neutralizing the burn of the lye. The Narrator... (full context)
Chapter 10
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
The Narrator assists Tyler during his work as a waiter in a hotel. Tyler urinates in a dish of... (full context)
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
At another point, the Narrator recalls, Tyler worked as a waiter at a fancy dinner party; afterwards, he left a note saying,... (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... (full context)
Chapter 11
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Over time, the Narrator learns that Tyler makes good money selling his soaps to fancy stores—people say his soap is the best... (full context)
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
Tyler and the Narrator sit by a used car lot, surrounded by old vehicles. The Narrator... (full context)
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
The Narrator flashes back to explain what happened. Tyler went to the post office and bluffed his way into getting Marla’s mail—“Marla can be... (full context)
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
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...bags full of rendered human fat—collagen. Later that night, the Narrator learns the truth from Tyler: whenever Marla’s mother has a liposuction, she has the fat stored, in case she needs... (full context)
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
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...Marla came to the house that evening, she 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... (full context)
Chapter 12
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
...to talk about it.” The founder of this group, Bob says, is a “great man,” “Tyler Durden.” (full context)
Chapter 13
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Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
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...called him there. Marla is calm, despite the fact that she recently found out what Tyler was doing with her collagen. She says she’ll forgive the Narrator for the collagen incident... (full context)
Chapter 14
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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 a homemade... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Tyler meets with the head of his projectionist union chapter, and learns that he’s being let... (full context)
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Tyler encourages the Narrator to have a similar conversation with the president of the hotel where... (full context)
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The Narrator describes how the head of the projectionist union chapter punched Tyler in fury—Tyler just laughed and encouraged the head of the union to “get it all... (full context)
Chapter 16
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
...papers that people have bombed a skyscraper. This was all a part of Project Mayhem, Tyler’s latest project. The first rule of Project Mayhem is that you don’t talk about Project... (full context)
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Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
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Tyler gives out weekly homework assignments for Project Mayhem, all of which involve creating chaos, anarchy,... (full context)
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Tyler invented Project Mayhem at a fight club meeting. The Narrator fought a new member and... (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... (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 that he’s too young. The Narrator... (full context)
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...cancer, but she wants to talk about flowers. The Narrator is careful not to mention Tyler at all. (full context)
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The Narrator looks for Tyler Durden everywhere, but never finds him. He finds himself walking around late at night, sometimes... (full context)
Chapter 18
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...his hands. Before he can think about this further, he gets a phone call from Tyler, telling him that Project Mayhem is waiting outside for him with a car. The Narrator... (full context)
Chapter 19
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The mechanic goes on to tell Jack that he’s been running errands for Tyler, picking up fat. He speaks in phrases that the Narrator recognizes hearing from Tyler for... (full context)
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...medical waste incinerator, he finds bags of human fat. He’ll take the fat back to Tyler’s house and make it into bars of soap, sold for 20 dollars apiece. The mechanic... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...man called Raymond Hessel, pointing a gun at his head. The Narrator’s homework assignment from Tyler is to make 12 “human sacrifices” and get 12 driver’s licenses to prove it. The... (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 explores bars late at night. Every time, the... (full context)
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Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
...a broken nose who calls him “Sir.” The Narrator asks the bartender if he’s met Tyler Durden before, and the bartender insists, “You stopped in last week, Mr. Durden.” The bartender... (full context)
Masculinity in Modern Society Theme Icon
Rebellion and Sacrifice Theme Icon
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
...making her mother into soap. Stunned, the Narrator asks Marla to say his name—she says, “Tyler Durden,” the person who gave her the scar on her hand. (full context)
Chapter 22
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Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
The Narrator has just heard from Marla that he is Tyler Durden. He sits in his motel room, and eventually falls asleep. Suddenly, he wakes up—Tyler... (full context)
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Tyler continues to tell the Narrator about Project Mayhem—there are chapters all over the country. Tyler... (full context)
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Tyler continues to tell the Narrator about “their” plans to attack the police. They attacked the... (full context)
Repression and the Unconscious Mind Theme Icon
When the Narrator is awake, Tyler explains, he’s in control—but when he’s asleep, Tyler takes over his body. Tyler’s house is... (full context)
Chapter 23
Death, Pain, and the “Real” Theme Icon
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...the waiter, who looks seriously injured, greets the Narrator and calls him “Sir.” He offers Tyler and Marla food, free of charge, which Marla accepts. (full context)
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The Narrator tries to convince Marla, and himself, that he’s not Tyler Durden, but Marla claims, “Everyone knows you’re Tyler Durden.” The Narrator realizes why he started... (full context)
Chapter 24
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...Mayhem march toward the Narrator, chanting, “Prepare to evict the member.” The Narrator shouts, “I’m Tyler Durden,” but the fight club members throw him out and lock the door. (full context)
Chapter 25
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...with Marla in her hotel to ensure that he won’t go to sleep and “become” Tyler. She suggests that they go bowling—they won’t be able to sleep, and therefore, Tyler won’t... (full context)
Chapter 26
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...that his boss is dead from a freak computer explosion. The Narrator knows this, “because Tyler knows this.” The Narrator thinks back to the other night, when Tyler called him on... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...a man at a hotel. The Narrator is horrified, but tells Marla that it was Tyler who committed such a crime. Marla adds, “And you don’t have cancer, either!” Suddenly, everyone... (full context)
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...I like you.” The Narrator leaves the building, thinking, “I have to take care of Tyler Durden.” (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, the... (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 thing we have to... (full context)
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Moments later, Tyler and the Narrator are in the top floor of the skyscraper (exactly where they were... (full context)
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...They shout, “Stop!” and “Let us help you!” The Narrator yells out that he’s killing Tyler, not himself. (full context)
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The Narrator realizes what’s happened: previously, Tyler and his team planned to blow up the building using a bomb made from two... (full context)