Story, Narrative, Plot

The distinction between the “story world” and the narrative process it undergoes to become an understandable discourse was confused for me at the end of Tuesday’s class. My confusion stemmed from our in class discussion of  the reality of Fight Club’s “story world” and the reality of its ” plot/ discourse” as a film. The example of Brad Pitt fighting himself in Fight Club’s discourse rather than “story world” remains the central component of discussion confusing me. If what we see in the discourse is not in fact true in the “story world” why do we see it? I understand that in the reality of the Fight Club’s world Brad Pitt’s character is not actually fighting Edward Norton’s character because Brad Pitt is a manifestation of Norton’s mind. Yet, as a manifestation of a character’s mind why is he not real in the story world as well as the discourse? It seems to me that a character’s hallucination is both real and relevant to the story world that Fight Club’s director presents us with. I may be a victim of believing everything I see on screen, but, what more do we have to work with in the medium of film? The images and sounds of a film are the only tools we have in discerning meaning and gaining understanding. While a hallucination may not be real in the sense that others cannot witness it, it is just as relevant and real to the character experiencing it.  The narration of Fight Club, how the director choose to show us the story world, is so based around the existence of this physical embodiment or  hallucination of an ideal man that it would be a disservice to the story world that he pulls from to say that this character does not in fact exist.  It seems within this definition of “story world” those things that are not  physically permanent are considered not real.  Thus, it seems the narration and plot of Fight Club create the physical embodiment of Tyler Durden’s mental creation in order that we may understand his character better. This troubles me though because it seems that without twisting and manipulating the “story world” Norton’s character would not have existed in the same proportion or manner. So why is it relevant to discuss the “story world” as opposed to what actually happens in the plot?

One Response to “Story, Narrative, Plot”

  1. David Ellis says:

    It is funny that you mention this confusion Alex because I was wondering almost the same thing. Just because Brad Pitt’s character is not real in the end shouldn’t mean that he is not apart of the story world. We are told the story through the mind of Edward Norton’s character. So in my opinion I think that one story world is what is in his head, but the real story world is the one that we as the viewer associate with which is the world that Brad Pitt does not exist. But since we are not told that there are two story worlds from the beginning we assume that the mind of Norton is the real story world, only to find out in the end that it is not. The real world is the one that we are supposed to associate with but the director does not give you the real world until the end of the film, leaving us under the false impression that Norton’s mind world is what is really happening.

Leave a Reply