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When the Narrator goes into his cave he encounters a penguin that says, "Slide." What is the meaning of sliding, and why is there a penguin?

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The penguin says "slide," and then does so. However, when the cave is revisited, the penguin is replaced by Marla, who exhales some smoke and says "s'lie." (It's a lie.) –  Jim Apr 29 at 20:19
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2 Answers 2

up vote 21 down vote accepted

The cave and the penguin are the result of therapy where the female voice tells the whole group how to "meditate". Every person has their own interpretation of the cave and an animal that is inside (which represents them); in the narrator's case he sees himself as a penguin.

He probably interpreted himself as a penguin to show himself his inability to let go of his depressing lifestyle, since penguins can't fly away from their "problems" they can merely slide away. Which is what he did he slid to the "new life".

In the movie there is also another quote that references the "sliding" :

Narrator: You had to give it to him: he had a plan. And it started to make sense, in a Tyler sort of way. No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide.

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That's great, you're saying that even if penguins cannot fly they don't take into consideration and just slide. People should now where to stop. Mmm i like it, thank you for your answer:) –  Zeyneb Jul 8 '12 at 13:42
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The penguin was the Narrator's "power animal." As Arremer, it told the Narrator to slide to mean "relax and let go." Further, I think the choice of a penguin was based on it being black-and-white to hint at the duality building within the main character.

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