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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.) – user9342 Apr 29 '14 at 20:19
    
I think you're missing the point. The way I see it Marla becomes his power animal, the penguin isn't important at all, it could be any other animal. – user24387 Aug 28 '15 at 18:25
    
I thought it was a Linux endorsement. Silly me. – user26272 Sep 27 '15 at 2:28
up vote 30 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:) – sergerde Jul 8 '12 at 13:42

"slid could also represent how he slid into a new life each time he went to a different class like how he is Jack outside of the groups then Cornelius in one support group

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According to Native American tradition if you have a Pinguin power animal: "You have the ability to create anything and everything you choose in life. You understand the concept of teamwork and utilize it constantly in order to get what you want. You know exactly where you are going and what you are trying to accomplish at all times. You move easily between the physical and spiritual realms and often have a gift for Lucid Dreaming. You are polite, proper and never forget your manners. You enjoy cultural exchanges and high societal affair. Many of you are diplomats and politicians" It's everything Tyler becomes.

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I do not believe this is accurate. Tyler beating people up is not "polite, proper." His "cultural exchanges" were not the type alluded to in that passage, his were splicing pornography into family movies at the theater. His experience with "high societal affair" involved peeing in the soup at fancy banquets. Just about the only accurate part here is using teamwork (his goons in every major city) to bring Project Mayhem to fruition (which is also against Native American ideals). – Snowman Dec 3 '15 at 21:40

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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