Chuck Palahniuk and the Comic Grotesque

Subversion of Ideology in the Fiction

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About the Book

With the success of Fight Club, his novel-turned-movie, Chuck Palahniuk has become noticed for accurately capturing the exploitation of power in America in the 21st century. With cynicism and skepticism, he satirizes the manipulative aspects of ideologies and beliefs pushing society’s understanding of the norm.
In this work, Palahniuk’s characters are analyzed as people who rebel against the systems in control. Mikhail Bakhtin’s theory is applied to explain Palahniuk’s application of the comic grotesque; theories from Louis Althusser and Slavoj Žižek help reveal aspects of ideology in Palahniuk’s writing.

About the Author(s)

David McCracken is a professor of English at Coker College in Hartsville, South Carolina. His areas of expertise are American literature, contemporary fiction, and rhetoric and composition.

Bibliographic Details

David McCracken
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 286
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7817-7
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4222-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1

One. A Rationale for the Comic Grotesque 3

Two. The Subversive Power of the Comic Grotesque 14

Three. “Another last thing today comes down to is reality”: The Subversion of Sexuality in Snuff 43

Four. “A rude religious revolution”: The Subversion of Heaven and Hell in Damned and Doomed 66

Five. “You’ve become something dangerous: a woman”: The Subversion of Feminism in Beautiful You 93

Six. “The fringe was the future”: The Future of Dirty Realism in Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread 117

Seven. “To embrace the blackness”: The Irony of Content and Form in Bait and Legacy 146

Eight. “Human beings don’t cultivate ideas”: Subverting Fight Club Ideology through Fight Club 2 Mythology 168

Nine. Toward “a structure for communion”: Ideological Carnival in Adjustment Day 200

Ten. Toward a Palahniuk Aesthetic of Comic Grotesque 229

Chapter Notes 235

Works Cited 247

Index 275