Palahniuk has taken much time in building the environment of the story, depending upon the reader to like the protagonist before hitting us with some less likeable characteristics.
What the narrator has done so far, for example, going to all these support groups, becoming friends with Tyler and being drawn into a world so different from his rather normal, responsible self and community, is laid down to his insomnia and the initial concept that his suffering didn’t compare to real pain that others go through. I wonder if perhaps he feels he has missed out on much, needs to go through the pain of the fight club just to feel alive. He certainly has lost much–his beautiful condo and all his possessions, and has placed himself in jeopardy with his boss.
But Palahniuk’s plotting has taken great leaps with each new experience he places in his character’s path. There is the ongoing personal conflict, the fight club, the love triangle with Marla and Tyler, and each contains some potentially explosive opportunities.
Tyler has gotten the narrator a job as a waiter. What they do is something that will bother you for a while whenever you go out to dine.
Tyler makes soap and teaches the narrator the process. Palahniuk has introduced it simply enough, with the same meticulous direction with which he gave us instruction on bomb ingredients. Tyler puts lye on the narrator’s hand and talks him through the sensation of pain. But what we find out about the soap-making process is one of those real eeww moments. Like how you would feel if you found the milk you drink was pumped breast milk. You know, you make a face just reading it.
Paluhniuk wields a gentle shovel. He makes sure we’ve accepted what he’s dealt out before he heaps more on.