English and Modern Languages
Master of Arts (MA)
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, Flannery O'Connor, Invisible Monsters, Redemption, Violence
English Language and Literature | Literature in English, North America
Elliot, Caitlin, "Flannery O'Connor's Redemptive Violence in Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club and Invisible Monsters" (2015). Masters Theses. 366.
Underground fight clubs, transsexuals, shotguns: these are the images that come to mind when one thinks of Chuck Palahniuk’s fiction—for many critics and readers, merely the stuff of pulp fiction. However, many of Palahniuk’s novels use violence to critique American culture while offering hope for the redemption of his characters and society as a whole. Thus, the violence in his works serves a purpose beyond mere shock value. The function of Palahniuk’s violence, I argue, reflects the poetics of Flannery O’Connor. Her works contain culturally-driven narratives with strange and grotesque circumstances that lead her characters to moments of redemption, and she explains these elements of her poetics in Mystery and Manners: Occasional Prose (1961). O’Connor’s essays and speeches describe how she views literature and good writing, and my thesis explores to what lengths Palahniuk’s literary methodology follows her framework, specifically in regards to the element of violent redemption present in his first two novels, Fight Club (1996) and Invisible Monsters (1999).