For a class of mine, I had to write an alternate ending to Fight Club, which seems pretty daunting because the book is absolutely perfect. That said, I gave it a shot and explained my alternate ending afterwards. Obviously, since I’m talking about alternating the ending of the book, there are spoilers. Fair warning.
Two Dollars and a Jacket
My ending would start after the sentence on page 203 where the narrator mentions they are now on top of the Parker-Morris Building. The narrator has the gun to his mouth, but before the countdown to destruction can commence, he stashes the gun back in his pocket and takes the elevator down to street level. The narrator begins rambling about sacrificing himself to God like Isaac, except he doesn’t have a father to do the offering. He screams to God to liberate him from Tyler, from society, from everything. After his incoherent ramblings, the narrator ducks into an alleyway a few blocks down from the Parker-Morris Building.
The narrator sits down next to a dumpster and removes the gun from his pocket. Unbeknownst to him in the intoxication of his insomnia, he puts the gun next to his leg so that the barrel illuminates in the darkness. He removes another weapon from his pocket, this time an eight inch butcher knife he snatched from his run-down house. He reverts back to his ramblings about sacrificing himself to God and holds the knife to his wrists. The narrator is ready to finish everything.
Before he can slice his wrists, a shadow washes over him. A muffled voice laced with anger says, “Give me your wallet.” The narrator realizes the Parker building and others are still intact. The mugger yells, “Give me your jacket too.” Before the narrator can do anything, the mugger sees the gleam of the barrel next to the narrator and pulls out his own weapon. He shoots the narrator just under his heart. The mugger rips the jacket away from the narrator, finds two dollars in the wallet and flees the scene. The narrator still has some life in him and in death throes he rips open a garbage bag next to the dumpster. His eyes begin to glaze over, but the last image he sees flash before death conquers him is an IKEA catalog.
First, I felt my duty in staying true to the central idea of this story as shown in the book and the film was that regardless of whatever I changed about the ending, the narrator had to be relinquished of Tyler’s influence in some fashion. Then I needed the narrator to be by himself so he can have his ramblings about God and Isaac; hence his dash from the grips of Tyler and the predicament at the Parker-Morris building.
Throughout the book it is mentioned that man’s father had deserted him in the 1990s and had left him to the devices of feminization and a wayward society. To demonstrate not only the liberation of the narrator from Tyler, but the absence of a true father, I had the narrator mention that he is Isaac ready to be sacrificed to God. He doesn’t care about himself anymore. The only problem is he doesn’t have a loving father to offer him up to God. Thus, we move to the part of the ending where he is ready to slice his wrists – something more intimate than a gunshot; a way to truly feel the pain being masked by the numbness of the void in his life. Not to mention that’s the weapon of choice for Abraham.
Before Abraham could sacrifice Isaac to God an angel prevented him from doing so. In juxtaposition, a shadow (representative of darkness) prevents the narrator from killing himself. Also, notice when the random mugger demands the money, the narrator is thinking about the buildings not blowing up: epitomizing the fragmentized thoughts of the narrator as stylized in the book. As mentioned, the mugger is a random person. Not affiliated with Project Mayhem or anything; just another person out for material gratification through force and in the end, doesn’t even gain noteworthy monetary compensation.
This anti-climactic end exemplifies the polar opposite of what Tyler wanted for the narrator: a dramatic death. Throughout the book, Tyler sensationalizes death and here I have the narrator dying an uneventful, arbitrary death. As Tyler says, “You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.” So as they are in life, they are in death.
Ultimately, I thought it was worthwhile to have the narrator’s last image be the gestation of his emasculation: the IKEA catalog. Finally, I have the ending sans an inclusion of Marla. This makes perfect sense: the one thing that may have actually worked in the end for the narrator doesn’t even come to the narrator’s attention. It’s just another wasted drop in the cesspool of life.