Chuck Palahniuk Invisible Monsters

This sample paper on Chuck Palahniuk Invisible Monsters offers a framework of relevant facts based on the recent research in the field. Read the introductory part, body and conclusion of the paper below.

The purpose of the first few paragraphs of any novel is to set the basic scene, to introduce main characters, and – most importantly – to make the reader carry on reading!

If one starts reading a book and is not gripped by some aspect of the story or characters within the first few pages, many will abandon it in favour of something more engaging.

The opening of Invisible Monsters does all of these things and more. It is narrated by one of the main characters, and another two are introduced within the first few paragraphs. Here the narrator tells you quite openly, “this is called scene setting: where everybody is, who’s alive, who’s dead.” This sentence in itself prompts one to read on, if only to find out who is dead.

In fact, the first paragraph asks a whole hoard of questions in the reader’s head: who is alive and dead? Who is Evie Cottrell? Who is the narrator? What happened to the rest of Evie’s wedding dress, and why is she holding a rifle?

Invisible Monsters Chuck

The style of Invisible Monsters is not that of your every day novel. The story does not run in one straight chronological line, from beginning to end. In fact it is very jumbles and frequently jumps back and forth between past and present.

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So with the opening of the novel one is left wondering not only what happens next but also what happened before this, how did we get here? This technique is part of what keeps the reader turning the pages – not only for the next part of the story but also the last part.

Palahniuk’s style is unique in that, with only a small amount of words he can evoke a whole scene. In the first paragraph there are few adjectives. The wedding reception is “big” and in a “big” manor house. The staircase is also “big.” However, by the use of the language here the reader is able to grasp not only what the scene looks like but also some detail about the narrator and her somewhat limited vocabulary.

The whole book is written in the style of a person telling the story verbally rather than writing it down, and the syntax and detail (including that which is omitted) are indicative of this. The piece is a collection of deconstructionist, self-referential “stream-of-consciousness” asides which affirm the idea of a person telling a story, adding detail as it occurs to them. This “bits and pieces” exposition builds tension and confusion throughout the book, but especially at the beginning, where information is slowly leaked to the reader. There us a symbiotic relationship between the frenetic style and the wildly unbalanced characters, which fit together perfectly. This allows Palahniuk to breathe more life into his characters than if he had rendered them in a more conventional way.

The first character to be mentioned is Evie Cottrell; the scene is set at her wedding reception, and we meet her standing on a staircase, “naked inside what’s left of her wedding dress, still holding her rifle.” The narrator does not seem at all sympathetic to Evie in her description, and in fact there is a certain amount of distaste in the way, further down the page, we are told, “You can trace everything about Evie Cottrell’s look back to some television commercial for an organic shampoo” – suggesting that Evie is defined more by looks and her outer image than intelligence.

The structure of this novel is very fragmented. Paragraphs are short and choppy – in some cases only a few words – and the non-linear narrative again enforces the superficiality of the characters. The writing is quite plain in its wording and there is little imagistic language (though Brandy is said to be “gushing” her insides out). The vocabulary is colloquial and varies – sometimes using a few simple (“some big West Hills wedding reception”) and sometimes opting for more descriptive, “intelligent” words (“give me rampant intellectualism as a coping mechanism”). The repetition of the word “big ” in the first paragraph is quite telling of the character of the narrator: there are many words that could be used to describe a wedding reception in the West Hills (beautiful, extravagant, luxurious) but all she seems – or chooses – to note is that it is, simply, big. The lack of descriptive detail here, when later on almost an entire paragraph is devoted to the cut and style of Brandy Alexander’s suit is also very telling of the characters. The fact Brandy is bleeding g from a bullet wound is mentioned almost as an aside – the hole in the suit has caused the single-breasted cut to become asymmetrical. This is where Palahniuk is very clever. He does not come out and say that his characters are vacuous and superficial as such, but the narrator’s choice of words and actions show us. For example, as Brandy Alexander is laying bleeding to death at our feet, our narrator remarks, “my first instinct is maybe it’s not too late to dab club soda on the blood stain.” Earlier in the piece, the narrator has also remarked that “Shotgunning anybody in this room would be the moral equivalent of killing a car…. We’re all such products.” A very existential comment in which she places herself in the same category as her two “worst enemies” and is aware that in a sense she is no better than them.

Palahniuk has an interesting and quite original way of conveying his characters’ feelings. He never seems to write, “I feel” or “she felt” and so instead expresses the feelings of his characters in quite abstract ways. So where in Fight Club the narrator exclaimed, “I am Joe’s Enraged, Inflamed sense of Rejection,” in Invisible Monsters feelings are conveyed – in keeping with the “brainless” images of the characters – as calls from a photographer to his model: “Give me malice.” This is effective not only in that it allows the reader to see how the narrator feels without resorting to “I feel…” (Which would be rather out of character for these people”, but it also likens the whole scene to a photo shoot, making it seem that everyone is acting a part – which, of course, they are. It begins the idea that all of these characters are fake and perhaps not what they seem, but rather hiding behind the model’s fa�ade of “Give me…”

In conclusion, this novel opening is very effective. It introduces the characters and scene is such a way that leaves the reader with numerous questions regarding not only the outcome of the present situation, but also how the situation came about. Who are these people? Why is the house on fire? Why is Evie half burned out of her dress and half way down the stairs with a rifle in her hand? Why did she shoot Brandy? And why is the narrator calmly thinking of dabbing club soda on the bloodstains? It certainly makes the reader want to turn the page to find out just what is going on in this rather twisted world we are being drawn into.

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Chuck Palahniuk Invisible Monsters. (2019, Dec 07). Retrieved from

Chuck Palahniuk Invisible Monsters
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