Value on human life and weigh this against the dollar value of cost to the company in the form of bad publicity should a product be recalled or in the form of risk should the company be sued for known flaws in car designs. “You take the population of vehicles in the field (A) and multiply it by the probable rate of failure (B), then multiply the result by the average cost of an out-of-court settlement (C). A times B times C equals X. This is what it will cost if we don’t initiate a recall. If X is greater than the cost of a recall, we recall the cars and no one gets hurt. If X is less than the cost of a recall, then we don’t recall” (Palahniuk 30). This concept is only magnified as Joe must spend long hours alone traveling from place to place, fighting a constant feeling of jetlag and unable to sleep. There is a strong sense of alienation and dissociation caused by this type of lifestyle that eventually extends even to himself as he presents his life in an alternating confusion of his airline trips and Tyler’s nights working as a projectionist at the cinema. For Joe, the world has become something artificial and meaningless as he drifts through an emasculating world of capital gains and risks with little or no true reward. He is unable to find satisfaction in pursuing those objects that his society tells him is important as he discovers that his attempt to define himself by the things he owns is unsatisfactory. He is given the power of decision-making, but understands just how little power he has and yet he still struggles to find within himself the sense of manhood he was taught to emulate.This searching for an identity is so unfilling in its current incarnation that he develops an alter ego that is only able to work at night in much the same way that Joe is only able to work in the day. Prior to the introduction of Tyler, Joe is tremendously dissatisfied with his life and feels empty and completely without energy, but he also cannot sleep at night. To try to fill the void of his life, he attempts to get his doctor to prescribe sleeping pills and begins attending meetings for seriously ill people on his doctor’s recommendation, in order to ‘get an idea of what real suffering is.’ Instead of gaining a sense of real relief and connection to himself, Joe discovers that he is comforted by his proximity to real emotion even as he can’t feel it himself. As he becomes more and more in touch with his emotions, driven by
Works CitedPalahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: W.W. Norton, 1996.
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