Comparison with The Beach

The novel (and movie) 'The Beach' by Alex Garland presents a 'Lord of the Flies'-type utopia-gone-bad. Like the Narrator, the main character Richard is a young man searching for himself in a materialistic world. Richard, however, chooses travel as his means of escape.

The liberator who realigns Richard's perceptions happens to bear the pseudonym Daffy Duck (above). Richard meets him briefly before Daffy commits suicide, but Daffy returns as either a ghost or a hallucination to haunt Richard. This is one of the biggest similarities between Daffy and Tyler; just as Daffy is unreal to everyone but Richard, Tyler only appears to the Narrator. Also, Daffy serves as a sort of inverted savior to Richard, opening his eyes to the true nature of people and the world. In the same way, Tyler acts as the Narrator's teacher. And, like Tyler, Daffy vanishes at the end of the novel when Richard no longer needs him.

One of the few differences between Daffy and Tyler lies in Daffy's relationship to Richard as compared to Tyler's with the Narrator. Daffy was submissive to Richard and, although Richard looks up to him at first, as their relationship progresses, Daffy strives more and more to win Richard's approval. The Narrator, however, looks up to Tyler until the very end and is completely dominated by him. While Richard is self-sufficient and complete by the time Daffy leaves him, the Narrator is in worse shape post-Tyler than he was before.

For more on Daffy, visit my Beach site Last Chopper Out.