Analyzing a novel: fight club


This fourth essay is a literary analysis of Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. For this paper, I expect you to make a sustained argument about some aspect of the novel’s world and its relation to our own. You will need to draw on some sophisticated, higher-level theory or interpretative practice to frame your analysis. You will be expected to integrate at least three secondary sources into your argument, but mostly this is an exercise in close-reading and interpretation. Your paper should demonstrate a solid command of grammar, punctuation, spelling, and syntax. You should probably plan on coming to office hours at least once to chat about what you want to do for this paper, and to make sure you have identified an appropriate framework and thesis statement.

Prompt: What is the novel doing, and why does this matter today? Your thesis should answer both parts of this question, modified as needed to include your preferred focus. Think in terms of the class theme and readings so far

Paper Requirements:

  • Length: 6 -8 FULL PAGES, presented in standard MLA format.
    • Please write in a tone that is appropriate to the academic environment. This may include “I” but should not simply sound like a review, or be based primarily on your unsupported opinions. Be sophisticated academic writers.
  • At least four sources (besides the book itself).
    • At least three should be academic and come from the “Database and our class readings (anything in Canvas” -> “Academic Articles and Books” is fair game).
    • Main focus is the Novel and “moments” from the text. You bring to bear your own research to your reading of the novel. Make sure that every source you use is properly cited (MLA format). Remember the Literary Theory, and Keywords from previous paper.
  • A solid, compelling thesis, outlining your answer to both parts of the prompt, supported by a close reading of the novel and secondary materials.
    • The first sentence of your paper should be your thesis statement. No unnecessary framing. The first paragraph should also introduce the broad theoretical framework you will be using (probably drawing on one of the readings I’ve provided).
    • At least two significant parts (1-2 paragraphs each) of your analysis should be dedicated to close-reading a short passage (usually not more than 2-3 sentences) from the book. Remember: the novel is your primary source for this essay.
    • At least one significant part of your analysis should focus on situating the book in a broader context, be that context historical, literary, cultural, or political.
  • Format: Your paper should use Times New Roman (or similar) 12 point font, 1 inch margins all around, with no extra spaces between paragraphs. Single-sided pages, stapled together.
  • Please have your last name in the header, aligned to the upper right hand corner, with the page number next to it (see this handout for an example of proper formatting)


  1. There are no revisions. 
  2. Make sure you understand the writing prompt and my expectations. 
  3. Submit your WORD formatted essay document through this assignment link.
  4. Make sure that you have conformed to MLA format, which includes a heading, page numbers, double-spaced, Times New Roman size 12 font.

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