I want out of the labels : how Chuck Palahniuk's characters challenge the dominant discourse [thesis]

Jose Antonio Aparicio
ii DEDICATION To my entire family: While I know they are proud of me, and I know they are glad I finished this, I don't think they know why I keep doing it. Also, I'm sorry for all of the vacations, dinners, and other outings I missed while doing all of this. To my Father, who might have been the one to really understand why I keep doing this. iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS "Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I've ever known." There are many people that I owe much deep
more » ... we much deep gratitude towards that made the completion of this possible. I would like to thank my major professor, Dr. Ana Luszczynska, who always forced me to "step back" and take a look at the material from new eyes and thoughts. I also want to thank her for throwing me into a deep existential crisis of which I spent many nights up reading, drinking, and smoking cigarettes, and many afternoons discussing the implications of my "identity" with fellow grad students and friends'. While I still have no idea "who I am," I now realize that that isn't such a bad thing. I now realize that having a "fixed" identity would be the worse fate. I would also like to thank Dr. Richard Schwartz, who I felt was always over my shoulder looking at my topic sentences and paragraph structure. He has made me a better writer and has forced me to really put in care and thoughtfulness into everything I write (aside from this, this here that you are reading now, this is just words on a page, this is careless vomiting of thoughts and gratitude onto paper, but I feel that in giving thanks, gratitude, appreciation that it is fine to just say what comes to the heart and mind, and after writing this thesis, I just want to write, words, words, words. But words that let those who have helped me know that I know that they have helped me, and I want them to know that I am thankful for their help). I would also like to thank Dr. Schwartz for always telling me, "Well, why don't you try that and see if it works." He has always encouraged creative thought. I would also like to thank Dr. Philip Marcus, who helped me look at literature in a new light and in new ways. Dr. Marcus always reminded his students that there are many ways to look 'I was going to name all of the "fellow grad students and friends," but then that list would be much too long, and I would inevitably remember a name I should have thanked after the fact, and by then it would be too late. Rather, all my "fellow grad students and friends" know who they are, which is why I use the Palahniuk quote to start this section. I have discussed what I am doing here with many people, all who, in their own way, have contributed to my thoughts and ruminations of the subject. And all those people-all my friends: I thank. iv at literature, and like blind men feeling an elephant and having very different experiences of the animal, literature needs to be looked at from many different angles. I have molested many elephants and books thanks to him. It was Dr. Marcus who would always say in the middle of his lectures, "Well, you don't need to know all of this, unless you want to do what I do." And I sat there and thought to myself, "I would love to do what he does. Getting paid to read and talk about what you read." No one told me there would be so much writing. But I don't mind the writing, and I quite enjoy the reading, and I also enjoy my day starting at two in the afternoon. Dr. Marcus has been a wonderful inspiration and has always been encouraging, and I can't thank him enough for all his help during the graduate school application process and in all his kind words. I also want to thank Dr. Maneck Daruwala. When Dr. Milbauer (and thank you too, Dr. Milbauer, for being such a help and encouragement. I hope that I brought the reader to the text, as you always say) was being accepted and asked if I would like an assistance-ship, he informed me how I needed to thank Dr. Daruwala, who praised my genius and potential. I hope I don't let any of them down. I would also like to thank my family. If I were to psychoanalyze myself, I wonder how much of me is doing this because of all those years growing up in which I saw my dad in his office typing away, writing books about Cuban politics and history. I'm only sorry to him for not reading more Cuban authors or knowing more Cuban history. I can only hope that he is in heaven (which means I hope there is a heaven) smiling down. I also want to thank my mom for reading me bedtime stories when I was a child. Also, for all the money, love, and support while I studied. I would write more here about thanking my family, but they got the dedication, so... They should know I love and thank them. And to my brothers who teased me for so many years as I was trying to find my way (they would always ask me, "When are you getting your degree? You've been in school for ten years?") Well, now I have two degrees; you guys should catch up. I want to thank all my friends, who probably worried I was going to end up a general manager at a restaurant. A fine job (in which they would have gotten free food and drinks), but v one they all know I wouldn't be able to stand. There is nothing better than at the end of a long day of "working" than to hang out and argue with them at Fox's. I would also like to thank all the friends I made along the way 2 . I also want to thank Joffery's and all the hard working employees who kept me caffeinated for three years starting with my undergrad and on through two years of grad school. It was at Joffery's where the idea for this thesis was first put down on paper. I am saddened that Joffery's didn't last long enough so that I could have written my last words for this thesis there where it began. And now that no one is reading this anymore, I also want to thank all the women who have turned me down in the last two and half years. Without your indifference towards my awkward advances, I would have never had the time to sit down and finish this thesis. It is hard to believe that this is all coming to an end now, and the thing about it is that these pages will matter little, if at all, in a couple of years (if not weeks after it is all said and done-though it can never "all" be said and done), which is why I had fun with them (these pages). And in acknowledging all these people, I hope to show how intertextuality is not just in books but a part of life. Thank You. The purpose of this study was to explore postmodern identity in the work of Chuck Palahniuk. The characters within Palahniuk's text Invisible Monsters realize the manner in which identity is a construct, and their response is to oppose and redefine it. In my research, I looked at how postmodern identity is defined by some of the leading critical thinkers in the field, and then I applied their thought to Palahniuk's characters. I showed how these characters come to understand the process by which society defines them, and with that realization, they oppose its totalizing definitions. The characters deconstruct the natural attitudes society has towards identity, and they reveal that it is in some way possible to create a unique identity that is not easily definable by the ruling discourse. I concluded that his attention to identity highlights Palahniuk's concern for the place, identity, and influence of his generation. vii
doi:10.25148/etd.fi14032326 fatcat:qa6uzkr6pbev5f6sy7pztodize