Into The Wild - Katelyn Gilmore Pt2          

Fairbanks Bus 142


“The people I know used to sit in the bathroom with pornography, now they sit in the bathroom with their IKEA furniture catalogue. We all have the same Johanneshove armchair in the Strinne green striped pattern…Then the perfect bed. The drapes. The rug. Then you’re trapped in your lovely nest, and the things you used to own, now they own you.” (Palahniuk, 44)

Evidently, Tyler feels the weight of society’s fixation on purchasing; trapping him to majority’s standards of perfection on instrumental value. His IKEA-smeared nest is representative of the newfound world and how these distractions feed it. Possessions are the ultimate goal used to show dominance; they own the masses every dream. Buying the equivalent in order to be the equivalent is now the center of cultures, even broadening outside western civilizations. Communities stand united as a global community run by dominant powerhouses, and what, how, and why people consume remains a clear example of this. Instead of taking this new lifestyle verbatim, perhaps society should be questioning what void they are trying to fill with the latest, fastest, or glamorous toys. The void appears to be personal identity. Ironically, people buy products in line with what is popular in hopes to define themselves on a personal scale. Tyler awoke to this realization, causing him to escape in hopes of truly discovering himself.

With the pressure to conform to the mistaken superior’s message of focussing life around power and vanity from materialistic objects, it should come to no surprise of why citizens yearn for an escape upon realization that objects do not grant happiness. Tyler Durden and his tremendous amount of followers are no different, and emphasize this great misunderstanding society has as a whole. Tyler first begins to seek alternative methods of fulfillment through disease support groups. He feels satisfied by creating non-existent problems through aliases. He blows up his condo; symbolic of wanting to free himself from society. Later, he creates underground fight clubs which become a phenomenon across the nation amongst men seeking difference from their daily routine. Fight Club spirals into Project Mayhem where everyday men find solitude by rebelling against the very system that made them into the Average Joes they hate. All of it made possible by Tyler’s split personality, a mental disorder which completely symbolizes a lack of self and need for escape shown throughout the novel. To further emphasize this message, one can analyze the following quote from Tyler’s space monkeys:

“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile. Our culture has made us all the same. No one is truly white or black or rich, anymore. We all want the same. Individually, we are nothing.” (Palahniuk, 134)

The message is clear; society’s customs are overpowering our own sense of self. From following the leader of the pack, the masses will remain just a part of the herd. Culture has created its people all the same, and humanity will continue to not be ‘unique snowflakes’ unless significant change is brought forth in what is valued. This revolution begins with the remarkable few willing to lead others from the path of conformity. Tyler Durden may have been extreme with his actions, yet true intentions were present. Protagonist Christopher McCandless in the film Into The Wild represents parallel ideologies.

McCandless’ remarkable journey of exploration to reach his goal of Alaska can be made an example of how authority figures and materialism repress individuality, causing one to escape. Throughout his entire life he pushed boundaries in order to explore freely. This urge for freedom was amplified in times of struggle throughout the film, caused by power-driven people. The primary source of ungrounded dominance can be traced back to his parents Walt and Billie. As a wealthy couple, they offered to buy Chris a new car as a graduation gift, which would replace his Datsun B-120. He did not want such as it would not suite his simplistic-oriented personality, yet they insisted. He denied once again, yet the only reason behind their persistence according to Chris would be concern of what the neighbours would think of his rustic vehicle. Once more, the fixation on image in order to resemble everyone else is apparent and revealed to limit personal expression.


Katelyn Gilmore Part 1

Katelyn Gilmore Part 2

Katelyn Gilmore Part 3

Katelyn Gilmore Part 4

 


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