After reading Ham on Rye, Fight Club, and Ghost World, three books that represent contemporary American culture, or for the most part, contemporary western culture, i noticed that they portrayed similiar overall traits of what society has become. In a conformistically adequated society, the non-conformist usually rebels against social norms through the use of violence and sex. These two innate instincts fulfill the need to escape from a world of structure and compliance in order to "fit in." Therefore, people who engage in such activities are usually branded by society as "bad people", unfit to ever achieve the American Dream. These three novels depict the stresses society puts on its members on three different levels. Although each novel is different from the other, they all demonstrate one common denominator,some people choose to not to conform.
The protagonist in Fight Club is a normal every day guy. He does not appear to be a freak.
Yet, he realizes that he is imprisoned by the comodified world that surrounds him. He feels that his material possessions own him. In order, to rebel, he begins a fight club. The members of this club use violence as a means to escape pressure and to build-up the self esteem that society has robbed from them. The author Chuck Palanuk, exemplifies the need to maintain a balance by inventing a fight club for the novel. However, in the end of the novel, the protagonist ends up in a mental institution. This is the place along with prison where people who are not capable of coping with social norms belong. This shows that niether extreme is good. In order to function in society one must realize the mechanical comodites of life and embrace them(without acting crazy).
In Ham on Rye, we see the need to...