Since the beginning of time, man has been on a quest to find his inner self. This topic has been the theme of many books and researches. This is no exception, in the 1959 book, Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse. In this particular story the main character, Siddhartha, is trying to find his ‘inner self’. He tries to accomplish this in many ways, one being self denial or destruction. This is also the case in the 1996 book, Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk, in which the main theme promoted is that destruction leads to purity. These two works, written almost 40 years apart, which at first glance seem to be complete opposites, are actually spawns from the archetypal theme of man’s quest from self knowledge. Many issues in each of these stories give reason to believe that the authors had the same idea in mind. It could also be said that the author of Fight Club may have read Siddhartha. This is so because of the fact that many quotes in Fight Club relate to Hinduism, which is the religion of the heron in Siddhartha. For example, at a point in Fight Club, a character questions his safety. The reply from the character, Tyler Durden, is, “You’re as safe as a Hindu cow”, is a metaphor that since the cow is very respected in the Hindu religion and is not harmed. This may be mere coincidence, but other information gives reason to believe otherwise. Other than just saying that there is a connection with something that is said in the two books, there is also connections with the themes and styles of each book. In Siddhartha the charters often speak in ways the you may have to think about to understand the full meaning. This is also true in the case of Fight Club. At one point in Siddhartha, the character Govinda [Siddhartha’s friend] says, “He who in contemplation, with purified mind, immerses himself in Atman, Inexpressible in words is his heart’s bliss.” These quotes convey the idea of the actually enlightenment.
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In Fight Club, it is common to see quotes like, “You are not a beautiful and unique snow flake” which tells Tyler Durden’s followers that what they may think they are is completely false. This type of put down is a major ingredient in the stew of mayhem which leads to enlightenment. When you compare the actual meanings of Fight Club and Siddhartha, you will find that they are very much alike. Fight Club is a release for people. It helps you know yourself, know what you can do, and know your limits. In the book, it would often be used by people with terminal illnesses in place of a support group. The ultimate goal of what the people where trying to accomplish in Fight Club was to gain complete self fulfillment by doing something that ordinarily would not be considered helpful, but painful. In Siddharha, the main character is also trying to find fulfillment to break the cycle of life in which we are trapped. An idea that is shared in the two works is that time is an illusion. The main character in Fight Club, who is referred to as Jack, has insomnia. He pleases him self by buying things, but later on finds out that, “It is only until you’ve lost everything, are you free to do anything” which is also a theory that Siddhartha has. This is expresses in the line from Siddhartha that states, “May I never be complete, may I never be content.” These quotes show that this theory of finding ones ‘self’ is a universal idea shared by everyone. May it be the style of writing, the well thought out phrases, or the over all theme of these books, it can be easily shown that these works are very similar. Many other people have written books based on the principals that, “In death we become heroes” and “Disaster is part of evolution”, showing that only by destruction and pain, will one find and experience his self. This archetypal theme has been discussed for as long time has existed and will continue to be spawned into many other works of literature, each having common traits and sharing the common idea of finding a meaning in life.
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