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Fight Club (novel)

by Chuck Palahniuk

            “The first step to eternal life is you have to die.” –11

 

            “Where would Jesus be if no one had written the gospels?” –15

 

            “Crying is right at hand in the smothering dark, closed inside someone else, when you see how everything you can ever accomplish will end up as trash.” –17

 

            “One minute was enough, Tyler said, a person had to work hard for it, but a minute of perfection was worth the effort.  A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.” –33

 

            “All her life, she never saw a dead person.  There was no real sense of life because she had nothing to contrast it with.  OH, but now there was dying and death and loss and grief.  Weeping and shuddering, terror and remorse.  Now that she knows where we’re all going, Marla feels every moment of her life.” –38

 

            “Oh, Tyler please rescue me.

            Deliver me from Swedish furniture.

            Deliver me from clever art.

            May I never be complete.

            May I never be content.

            May I never be perfect.” –46

 

            “If you don’t know what you want, you end up with a lot you don’t” –46

 

            “Nothing was solved when the fight was over, but nothing mattered” –53

 

            “The job [waiter] will stroke your class hatred.” –65

 

            My father always said, “Get married before the sex gets boring or you’ll never get married.”

            My mother said, “Never buy anything with a nylon zipper.”

            My parents never said anything you’d want to embroider on a cushion. –66

 

            “It’s only after you’ve lost everything, that you’re free to do anything.” –70

 

            “Getting fired, is the best thing that could happen to any of us.  That way, we’d quit treading water  and do something with our lives.” –83

 

            “If Marilyn Monroe was alive right now, what would she be doing?”

            “Clawing at the roof of her coffin.” –94

 

          …Marla tells me how in the wild you don’t see old animals because as soon as they age, animals die.  If they get sick or slow down, something stronger kills them.  Animals aren’t meant to get old.

            Marla lies down on the bed and undoes the tie on her bathrobe, and says our culture has made death something wrong.  Old animals should be an unnatural exception.

            Freaks –103

 

            When my grandmother got out of the hospital the last time, my grandfather was carrying her suitcase and it was so heavy he complained that he felt lopsided.  My French-Canadian grandmother was so modest that she never wore a swimming suit in public and she always ran water in the sink to mask any sounds she might make in the bathroom.  Coming out of Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital after a partial mastectomy, she says: “You feel lopsided.” –106

 

              To warm her up, to make her laugh, I tell Marla about the woman in Dear Abby who married a handsome successful mortician and on their wedding night, he made her soak in a tub of ice water until her skin was freezing to the touch, and then he made her lie in bed completely still while he had intercourse with her cold inert body.

            The funny thing is this woman had done this as a newlywed, and gone on to do it for the next ten years of marriage and now she was writing to Dear Abby to ask if Abby thought it meant something. –106

 

              This is why I loved the support groups so much, if people thought you were dying, they gave you their full attention.

            If this might be the last time they saw you, they really saw you.  Everything else about their checkbook balance and radio songs and messy hair went out the window.

            You had their full attention.

            People listened instead of just waiting for their turn to speak.

            And when they spoke, they weren’t telling you a story.  When the two of you talked, you were building something, and afterward you were both different than before. -107

 

            Marla’s philosophy of life, she told me, is that she could die at any moment.  The tragedy of her life is that she doesn’t.  –108

 

              Between the support groups and the clinic, Marla told me, she had met a lot of people who were dead.  These people were dead and on the other side, and at night they called on the telephone.  Marla would go to bars and hear the bartender calling her name, and when she took the call the line was dead. –109

 

            Disaster is a natural part of my evolution toward tragedy and dissolution.

            I’m breaking my attachment to physical power and possessions, because only through destroying myself can I discover the greater power of my spirit.

            The liberator who destroys my property is fighting to save my spirit.  The teacher who clears all possessions from my path will set me free.

                        [combined]-110

 

 

            Nothing is static.

            Everything is falling apart. –112

 

            I am trash.  I am trash and shit and crazy to you and this whole fucking world.  You don’t care where I live or how I feel, or what I eat or how I feed my kids or how I pay the doctor if I get sick, and yes I am stupid and bored and weak, but I am still your responsibility. –115

 

            My boss, at work, he asked me what I was doing about the hole through my cheek that never heals.  When I drink coffee, I told him, I put two fingers over the hole so it won’t leak. –123

 

            If you’re male and you’re Christian and living in America, your father is your model for God.  And if you never know your father, if your father bails out or dies or is never at home, what do you believe about God?

            What you end up doing, is you spend your life searching for a father and God.  What you have to consider is the possibility that God doesn’t like you.  Could be, God hates us.  This is not the worst thing that could happen.  Getting God’s attention for being bad was better than getting no attention at all.  Maybe because God’s hate is better than His indifference.

            If you could be either God’s worst enemy or nothing, which would you choose?

            We are God’s middle children with no special place in history and no special attention.  Unless we get God’s attention, we have no hope for damnation or redemption.

            Which is worse, hell or nothing?

            Only if we’re caught can and punished can we be saved.

            [combined] –141

 

            Believe in me and you shall die forever. –145

           

            My wish right now is for me to die.  I am nothing in the world compared to Tyler.

            I am helpless.

            I am stupid, and all I do is want and need things.

            My tiny life.  My little shit job.  My Swedish furniture.  I never, no, never told anyone this, but before I met Tyler, I was planning to buy a dog and name it “Entourage.”

            This is how bad your life can get.

            Kill me.   –146

 

            You had a near-life experience.  –148

 

            “All a gun does is focus an explosion in on direction.

            “You have a class of young strong men and women, and they want to give their lives to something.  Advertising has these people chasing cars and clothes they don’t need.  Generations have been working in jobs they hate, just so they can buy what they don’t really need.

            “We don’t have a great war in our generation,  or a great depression, but we do, we have a great war of the spirit.  We have a great revolution against the culture.  The great depression is our lives.  We have a spiritual depression.

            “We have to show these men and women freedom by enslaving them, and show them courage by frightening them.

            “Napoleon bragged that he could train men to sacrifice their lives for a scrap of ribbon.

            “Imagine, when we call a strike and everyone refuses to work until we redistribute the wealth of the world.” –149

 

            I was tired and crazy and rushed, and every time I boarded a plane, I wanted the plane to crash.  I envied people dying of cancer.  I hated my life.  I was tired and bored with my job and my furniture, and I couldn’t see any way to change things.

            Only end them.

            I felt trapped.

            I was too complete.

            I was too perfect.

            I wanted a way out of my tiny life.  Single-serving butter and cramped airline seat role in the world. –173

 

            Valley of the Dogs.  Where even if they don’t kill you, if someone loves you enough to take you home, they still castrate you.  –174

 

            How everything you ever love will reject you or die.

            Everything you ever create will be thrown away.

            Everything you’re proud of will end up as trash.

            I am Ozymandias, king of kings.  –201

 

            I’ve met God across his long walnut desk with his diplomas hanging on the wall behind him, and God asks me, “Why?”

            Why did I cause so much pain?

            Didn’t I realize that each of us is a sacred, unique snowflake of special unique specialness?

            Can’t I see how we’re all manifestations of love?

            I look at God behind his desk, taking notes on a pad, but God’s got this all wrong.

            We are not special.

            We are not crap or trash, either.

            We just are.

            We just are, and what happens just happens.

            And God says, “No, that’s not right.”

            Yeah.  Well. Whatever. You can’t teach God anything.  –207