Consumerism in Fight Club and Brave New World
Chuck Palahniuk and Aldous Huxley make a vastly fascinating portrayal of the image of consumerism in their works. Miriam Webster, in her dictionary, defines consumerism as “the belief that it is good for people to spend a lot of money on goods and services.” Consumerism has more than one aspect. It can be materialistic, technological, or self-consummation. The industrial revolution was basically the event which set people towards consumerism. Both novels, indirectly, represent a picture of American Capitalist community which is dominated by consumerism and perfection.
In Fight Club, a one sees that characters are fighting one another. However, this is not totally right. Their true motifs and what is fought for transcend the fact that they are only fighting. All characters in the novel are haunted by consumerism. They all adopt the idea of Renewal by all its aspects. In fact, this mechanism results in turning them into victims to their societal customs as if they are locked in unrestrained movement of consumerism. They all try to fulfil their desires by doing so. They seek only joy and nothing more. Nevertheless, they don’t get satisfied. Their appetite for buying and purchasing new things is always at higher rate. “The things you own, end up owning you” (Palahniuk, 1996)
The Novel depicts another dimension of contemporary American growth which is the pursuit of perfection. For them, perfection might be in the body of a human being or in anything else like a house, for example. “A minute of perfection was worth the effort. A moment was the most you could ever expect from perfection.”(Palahniuk, 1996). In modern American community, the phrase “the perfect man” is a man who is rich, stylish and adequate. Moreover, a man who possesses a great part of luxurious furniture; consequently, influences the surrounding people. America’s infatuation with perfection and beauty, and its fascination with consumerism are two sides of the same coin as the novel hints; the two are overwhelmed with the passion to be “perfect”. In other words, the characters in the novel sell themselves in the purpose of seeking perfection. This devastated passion of the figures in the novel consequences in transforming them into “products”, merely like a piece of furniture in an apartment.
In Brave New World, there is a logo which says “Community, Identity, Stability”. The whole system of this World State is established according to those elements. This system is conditioned. The characters are conditioned and systemized to consume. They are learned that when goods get broken and require mending, they have to get rid of them. “Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches “(Huxley 52). People in the World State are acknowledged as inferior and minor beings if they don’t possess the most recent and extreme goods. It is the same case in America; the highest percentage of citizens see substantial properties as stuff that can be simply disposed of and interchanged. A way of identifying people is by what they possess of the finest goods and not frivolous ones.
The social system of Brave New World and the American community, nowadays, share a lot of similarities, but they are different in one critical aspect, knowledge. People in the novel are mechanized; they don’t have control of their actions. They are modified to never ask, but always consume. Citizens lack consciousness and freedom of choice because they even don’t know what independent individuality and freedom mean. In contrast, this is not a regular case in America at the current time. People are conscious for what they do and basically responsible for their actions and decisions. Self-determination and reliance is the primary distinction between America and The World State of Huxley. Huxley’s World State doesn’t give the permission to read any book or even to any connection to knowledge because if it is allowed, this will lead people to think and examine the world around them. ”You can’t consume much if you sit still and read books” (Huxley 60).
Fight Club and Brave New World are both emulations for the modern American society aspects of perfection and consumerism. The image of consumerism and the prosecution of perfection is greatly portrayed throughout the novels. In Palahniuk’s work, consumerism is like a fashion, lifestyle, and a token that distinguishes superior people from inferior ones. In addition, perfection was being sought in each dimension of life. On the other hand, In Huxley’s work, consumerism was an essential part of the conditioning system of the world. People are taught to consume. It’s much like an unconscious consumerism because people are mechanized to do so. In this systemized World State, you are perfect as long as you consume. Perfection was achieved parallely with consumerism and throughout controlling people’s lives and minds.
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