Book Analysis - The Columbian Exchange Essay Examples

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Book Review




Book Analysis: The Enigma That Is the Fight Club


The Enigma That Is the Fight Club Fight club is a club in which men have the opportunity to meet and fight, as a form of alleviating stress and troubles of life. The fact that these men, who are part of the fight club, meet secretly in order to fight, shows the great desire for a thrill that these men have. This desire coupled with secretiveness makes the fight club very popular, seeing that it is a reserve of men, and only a few at that. The narrator and his partner Tyler use the fight club as an avenue to help men overcome their troubles. The fight club is an institution that seeks to return the masculinity of men in society. It is an institution that is used solely for the purpose of fully supporting men in society in regaining their masculinity as well as alleviating stresses.

    In the novel Fight Club, the society is portrayed as being very feminist in nature. The fact that many children have to be contented with an absentee or a runaway father leaves many men extremely feminized. While this feminization is neither intentional nor fosters a hidden agenda, it continues to affect the lives of the men in society.

The society finds itself devoid of men who have been taught to grow up as real men. Many men, having been raised by their mothers, end up being men inundated by feminine traits. The persona and character of Tyler Durden appears as a knight, in shining armor, ready to save the male species from further emasculation and feminization. The narrator meets with Tyler Durden and a friendship that yields the fight club ensues. Soon after their meeting, the two men develop the fight club, where men can come and release themselves of their troubles and worries.

    The character of Tyler Durden plays a great role in attracting men to the fight club. The fact that he is able to remain as a ‘true man’, raised by a real father figure, is responsible for his likeability among men. Tyler asserts that he is what every man wants to be when he says “I look like you wanna look, I… like you wanna …, I am smart, capable, and most importantly, I'm free in all the ways that you are not.” (Palahniuk, 63). The fight club serves as a scapegoat on which all men can dump their troubles. The fact that a large number of men are willing to fight each other, not for a specific cause, but instead simply to rid themselves of their anger and troubles portrays the enchanting nature of the fight club.

    Many men are drawn to the fight club primarily because it gives them an opportunity to feel like real men. Appealing to the innate desire of every man to display his masculinity plays a central role in the success of the fight club. When Tyler asks “How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?” he appeals to men to realize their true masculine selves-and the only way to do it is through a fight (Palahniuk, 77).

Many men are willing to join a club where they can easily hurt or injure themselves simply so that they can appear as real men. The desire of every man to engage in activities that enhance their masculinity, however dangerous, appeals greatly to many of the men in the fight club. Fighting for the sake of fighting leads many a man into joining the fight club. The need to engage in a fight that has no particular motive behind it provides enjoyment for the men in the fight club.

    Many men are also drawn to the fight club since it provides an opportunity for them to suppress the femininity instilled in them by the society. Tyler and the narrator can be heard saying “heyyyy u comin to fight club tonight? [it’s] gonna be super fighty…heyhey are u around i need a ride to fight club”(Palahniuk, 45).The fact that men are allowed to fight for their own good alone served as good enough bait for a society of men craving to experience masculinity in its raw form. This opportunity to fight comes with another benefit; the chance to come out on top. Apart from releasing themselves, the men in the fight club have the chance to come out on top of their opponent. Although the fights are not competitive in nature, the nature of men to compete against each other draws many men into the fight club.

    In joining the fight club, many men have the chance to shed off their feminine traits. The character of Tyler serves as a baseline upon which masculinity is judged and the need for men to realize this character drives many of them into the fight club. In joining the fight club, these men have the opportunity to fight for pleasure and to engage in other destructive activity such as Project Mayhem. When the narrator says “I wanted to destroy everything beautiful I'd never have.” many men associate with this and take the opportunity to join Project Mayhem (Palahniuk, 70). Such activities appeal to men as they hope these activities will make them more masculine than they are. Such is the case when Tyler says “Maybe self-improvement isn't the answer, maybe self-destruction is the answer.”(Palahniuk, 67). The narrator believes that engaging in fight that is capable of destroying them is the key to being free from all their worries.

    Many men also learn how to ‘behave’ like men. Following in the footsteps of Tyler, many men believe that following Tyler’s instructions and doing as Tyler commands will eventually make them like Tyler. Although, in actual sense, these men do not learn anything new per se, they view the fight club as an avenue to learning how to be a man. Many of these men are looking for the opportunity to ‘learn’ and to showcase their masculinity to fellow men in the fight club. This showcase of masculinity is primarily responsible for keeping the men as loyal members of the club. It is also responsible for the spectacular growth of the fight club into a national outfit.

An alternative book and character review can be found here

    In joining the fight club, many men are looking for an opportunity to express their masculine nature. They are looking for a window that allows them to be aggressive and raw and violent, and still receive praise for such actions. This desire to be the ‘real men’ that they think they should be is what drives many of these men into participating in the fight club.

    Many men are also looking for a thrill in their lives. As is the case with the narrator, a seemingly boring and lonely life sees him seek solace in support groups of ailments he does not have. This boredom with life plays a key role in the lives that many of the men joining the fight club live. The desire to escape the boredom and have an exciting life attracts many men to the fight club. Tyler says “….Quit your job. Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic. You have been warned.” (Palahniuk, 85). This draws many men into trying to add a thrill to their lives. The pursuit of a thrill similar to none other is very appealing to the men joining the fight club. Furthermore, the opportunity to associate with a paragon of masculinity (Tyler) is too good to forego. This continues to attract many men to the fight club.

    The fight club is an institution that holds high esteem in the lives of many men in the novel. The fact that the club gives men the chance to be themselves in their true forms without regret is responsible for the great liking of the club among men. The chance to alleviate worries and stresses, through a good fight, is responsible for the cult-like following that the club receives from men. The fight club gives men just what they want.

   
Works Cited
Palahniuk, Chuck. Fight Club. New York: W.W. Norton & Co, 1996. Print.




 

Book Review: The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492


This book authored by Alfred Cosby explains the common phrase Columbian Exchange characterized by intercontinental movement of flora and fauna. The authorship of this book illustrates a simple point that the changes brought in the voyages by Columbus, were neither social nor political in nature but rather biological (Crosby 45-47). This book narrates how the year 1492 sparked the movement of organisms across the Atlantic. This movement coined as Columbus exchange led to a sudden change in the history of the planet. This book has changed history as a field. The book is foundational in the new school of environmental history. It remains as a canonical book in the understanding of the world history (Winn 74). Crosby establishes an interactive perspective between ecological and social events. This book is vital and remains to be the inspiration for future considerations.

It is valuable to what happened between people separated by time and space. The exchanges that happened in 1492 were both biological and cultural (Maddox 75). Cultural in the sense that doctrines and religious views were introduced in the New World. Crosby presents both the existence and non-existence of an isthmus between the Old and the New Worlds. A common basis of Crosby arguments and views in his book shows that the cross-migrations had a huge influence to the New World in comparison to the Old. This is due to the latter being larger with a huge variety of life forms in the period of isolation from the rest of the world. The biological sense presented in the book shows uniqueness of long-lived life forms. For instance, the modern camel and horse have a North American origin. These camels migrated to the west to become the dromedaries and the famous Bactrian of both Asia and Africa. They migrated to the south to become the llamas of Peru (Winn 78-82). In the same measure, the horses moved to Asia and then to Europe.

The book presents an ingenious analysis of biological loss of fauna. In page nineteen, the author gives an analysis of how certain animals such as the giant bison and toothed tigers have disappeared in the course of time leaving behind a zoologically impoverished ecology (Crosby 19-37). The six chapter book provides an in depth analysis of the Exchanges happening since 1492. The author has organized his ideas in the book, in a comprehensive and understandable stance. In the same manner, the author has supported the thesis, which puts the contact between the Old and the New World. To support his thesis, the author proves the exchanges between the initial contact between the Old and the New World (Crosby 169-176). Crosby provides the exchange of the diseases, animals and plants and explains how they continue to change life. The only problem surfacing from the book is the repetitive nature in the presentation. This is, however, beneficial as the author attempts to explain and discuss the magnitude of his thesis statement while laying emphasis of set points. Every argument and view presented in the book connects to the thesis statement.

Exchange of diseases, plants, and animals are a matter that has found great examination from the historians. Crosby, however, puts in a practical spin, in his examination. An example of this is the disease. Crosby provides a lengthy explanation of epidemics and their effects on the Indian population. An interesting cross-examination is that relating to the disease of syphilis. There is a huge relationship between theory and facts as the author explains in chapter four. In this chapter, Crosby explains the theories relating to the origin of Syphilis (Crosby 126). The Columbian theory brought by Columbus from West Indies provides an overall support for his thesis in comparison to the Unitarian theory.

Crosby presents objectively the backing of each theory presented in his book. The same chapter presents a mix of historical records, scientific studies and other primary sources. In his analysis, Crosby illustrates how these exchanges not only changed the life of the Indians but also how it affected the rest of the world from deadly disease to a milder sexually transmitted infection.

The exchange of flora and fauna relates to the thesis by Crosby linking it to the fact the number of human beings in the last three centuries has quadrupled. Scientific records showing the exchange of plants between the Old and New World examine the truth behind this fact. The author uses historical records to show the same exchange of food grown in different places. The author gives a reference to help the reader understand the point. For example, the author traces the migration of Irish to America. This was because of potato which a staple food to their diet. This crop was not indigenous to Ireland but thrived in the New World where other crops could not. The exchanges had both positive and negative impact to the people of New World. The epidemics were common following the arrival of the Old World people. The contact, for example, between the Indian and both the European and Africans lead to diminution of their numbers if not their destruction (Maddox 69-75). These phenomena are difficult to explain under the support of a single theory, but it is compatible with the reasoning of little resistance to these diseases.

The author’s arguments are persuasive and find great support from the both scientific and historical records. Crosby for instance draws his arguments from the post-Columbian medical historical record of America (Crosby 212). The author provides quotation to experts who examined the situation in the historical period. For example, the author gives a quote on the seriousness of the pandemic that began in 1519, in Great Antilles, and spreading to Mexico and Central America. The exchange of flora and fauna has found support from the historical records presented in the author’s arguments. For example, the arrival of banana to Antilles from the Canaries in 1516, is described as a fruit with and easily removable skin (Crosby 68-73).

The flesh of this fruit is likened to a marrow from the leg bone of the cow. These quotations from both the scientific records provide the persuasiveness of the arguments in the book and in length supporting the thesis of the author. The revelation in these arguments is rife and shows history of colonial Africa and African American history. Page sixty-eight of the text explains the economic underpinnings of this fact by showing the effects of European settlements in tropical and semitropical zones of America. The conclusion of the book is interesting with the author arguing that long-term effects of biological exchange during this time are not encouraging at all. The author notes that the Columbian exchange lead to an impoverished genetic pool (Crosby 218). Crosby utilizes both scientific and historical data to support his views. This book is invaluable for any reader who would like to understand the history of Latin America. The book sells since the ideas and arguments are a bolster to the thesis statement.


References

Crosby, Alfred W. The Columbian Exchange: Biological and Cultural Consequences of 1492. Princeton, N.J: Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 2006. Print.
Crosby, Alfred W. Germs, Seeds & Animals: Studies in Ecological History. Armonk, N.Y. [etc.: M.E. Sharpe, 1994. Print.
Maddox, Gregory. Sub-saharan Africa: An Environmental History. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Print.
Winn, Peter. Americas: The Changing Face of Latin America and the Caribbean. Berkeley, Calif: University of California Press, 2006. Print.