::: Galvin P. Chow
Hobbes is reborn as Tyler to save "Jack" (a grown-up Calvin) from the slough of un-comic despair. ::: Click here to read the full text.
Bill Watterson in the 10th Aniversay Book: "I don't think of Hobbes as a doll that miraculously comes to life when Calvin's around. Neither do I think of Hobbes as the product of Calvin's imagination" (22).
Well put, Mr. Highgate, I applaude you! Lovely article, the whole comparison between the comic Calvin and Hobbes (a comic I love) and Fight Club was very well done. My whole thought process on this movie has changed drastically--I mean I loved the movie from the start and always thought that imagining someone you want to be could really happen to anyone (mine would be Marla, b/c I've always wanted to be that way--careless and wanton).
I got the whole father-son relationship between the boss and 'Jack'. The whole time I assumed the boss was his father. I love the part when Tyler insists that 'Jack' blew up his own apartment--you totally think that Tyler's a nutcase until the end.
Wonderful article, quite the thinker ;).
Interesting comment on Jack's boss being his father, but Calvins'a father was a lawyer; he didn't work for an automotive company.
2. Tyler wears a fur coat near the end of the movie. What is the significance of this garment, given his past incarnation as a jungle animal? Discuss.
The fur coat represents the emasculation of Tyler. Throughout the movie Tyler gave Jack many epiphanies with the intention of finally turning Jack into a man in every sense of the word. The coat tells Jack that he had succeded, and was thus being allowed to take back his masculinity.
Also, I think that the fur coat takes on a biblical context as well. Tyler is very much a 21st century Christ, although a very unlikely and postmodern one. We see similarities between Christ and Tyler in the fact that both have genuine compassion for mankind (although the way both men show it is strikingly different; Christ with fish, bread, forgiveness of sins, and children on his lap and Tyler with a gun in an alleyway to provide a better life). Tyler knows that he is to leave Jack's life forever that night. Tyler has fulfilled his job of teaching Jack how to be a man and thus the fur coat states "it is finished".
It definiatly seems that it Hobbes is the Jack personality, but Calvin as well. Let me explain: In the process of growing up, around puberty I would guess, Calvin gradualy stopped manifesting Hobbes as a physical being, a tiger. In doing this, the two fused their personalitys. This might make Calvin an intiresting charecter in highschool. Hm. Anyhow, The world beat him down, so he is all grown up, an adult, and the Hobbes element in him is the fine upstanding citizen that goes to work and pays his bills, whilst the calvin element goes about ordering furniture in effort to form a complete life (searching for the stuffed tiger of comfort?). During all this, when Calvin and Hobbes two full complete personalities fused into one, half of each had to be seperated and cast off into the back of calvins mind. These were the rebeliouse, creative, angry parts of the two, which over the years formed into tyler.
To the point: Tyler and Jack are two halves of the same person.
But, hey, this is disregarding the fact that in the comic strip Hobbes is an actual person, not a figment of Calvins imagination. Why does nobody get that?
just a note on Jack "killing" Tyler . . .I see it as more re-integrating Tyler with his own personality and taking control of the whole person he is. Read _A Wizard of Earthsea_ by Ursula K. Le Guin for a good explaination. In my world this is how the conflict between Smith and Neo ends in the Matrix also, instead of the rather lame "okay, is it over yet?" fight they had.
1. I believe without a doubt that Hobbes/Tyler is the one who grew without Calvin's/Jack's knowledge. It's like Jack realized when he found out about Tyler: when Jack's asleep, Tyler's awake. For the past 15-20 years, Jack has been sleepwalking doing all of the things taht society tells him to do, while inside the far depths of his mind, Hobbes/Tyler has been watching and has been getting sick of it. So, while Jack went on with his bland, meaningless life, Tyler grew up, and grew too big for Jack's mind. He had to come out.
The other questions I'll answer later.
Although the analysis works, it does raise some questions, posted at the bottom of the page, my answers are as follows:
1. this is my foremost problem with the analysis. I see Jack moreso as Hobbes and Tyler as Calvin. It just makes sense. But, if you've got MPD, the personality traits will cross-over in some places, won't they? Besides, society suppresses child-like behaviour so efficiently that Jack involuntarily acted more like Hobbes.
2. Coincidence. He was going for the opulent look as an ironic contravention of the ideals he seeks to undermine. But then again, I've never worn a fur coat. It could make you feel predatory...
3. This question sucks (the fun out of everything. Take it from a Ruiner, I know). Next question.
4. He got too big for his britches, he took Jack out of the game long enough to take over. They're a team, so, his b**** a** had to be smacked-down. Maybe next time, ('cause things are always in 3s) they'll learn to play nice, work together, and co-operate toward a single goal (what EVERYONE has to learn somehow).
I read this analysis with great interest. The parallels between Calvin and "Jack" are outstanding. After reading this, I revisited the film, and discovered something you may find interesting:
Jack's boss is his father. We see this first during the first "who would you most like to fight" discussion. Jack-Boss, Tyler-Father. Jack states that his father left when he was about six, when we stop seeing Calvin and Hobbes publicly together. Perhaps the traumatic event had such an impact on Calvin's psyche that the childhood innocence of the strip was lost, leading to its end. But we learn that Jack still kept contact with his father later in life, especially when trying to find work.
We know that Jack was miserable with his job. During the time period the film was released, it was not uncommon for somebody to seek out new job opportunities when their current position was not satisfying. So why didn't he leave? Was it because Jack only got his job due to nepotism? Was it because his boss represented the only real authority figure in his life?
Jack's boss is the only character in the film who questions Jack's new club and lifestyle. During their confrontations, Jack is constantly given fatherly demands to shape up, improve his appearance, and basically "grow up." A typical boss wouldn't waste so much attention on a poorly performing employee; he would simply fire him.
The fact that neither wants to change the boss/employee relationship suggests that, no matter how emotionally detached it might be, a father/son relationship is present. Even when Jack quits, he is allowed to keep his salary and other assorted benefits. We are led to believe this was due to Jack's threats of blackmail and his self-attack (more of a tantrum for not getting what he wants), but it could be more of Jack's father recognizing he has a deeply troubled son, and so not wanting to leave him with nothing.
Also, consider that Jack's boss is the only other main character in the movie who is not given a name. Personally, I think it makes sense.
—submitted by Patrick Highgate, Modesto, CA
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