Dr. Vernon Cisney, 2004 Eastern philosophy alumni and Gettysburg College assistant professor, presented his paper “Something to do with a girl named Marla: Eros and gender in Fincher’s Fight Club” Tuesday in the Doudna Lecture Hall.
Cisney, who wrote the paper, said it explores the issue of gender through the Taoist lens of Yin-Yang philosophy and argues the character Tyler is expressed energy that the narrator had suppressed for too long and emerges because the narrator had kept him from coming out. Tyler lived a life of pure passivity and the active side comes out against his will. The resolution of the film is when the narrator has to become both active and passive.
“As a teacher, I like to show students that these concepts are not confined to dead texts, that they’re alive in the world around them,” he said. “One of the ways that you can do that is to show it at work in art, and in popular art in particular.”
Following the presentation, those in attendance asked questions about both the film and Cisney’s interpretation of it.