From the movie Fight Club, in the ending scene we can see the narrator shoot himself in the mouth asking Tyler to "really listen to him"...

The question is How/Why did Tyler got shot in the head when the narrator himself shot in the mouth? It could have been somewhere else and not the head, right?

Is this just because the Narrator "really" wanted Tyler to listen to him and die?

Since Tyler is just a hallucination, we know that Tyler dies when narrator mind accepts his death. The narrator can't do this on his own, since he needs Tyler's permission to do so (otherwise why would he ask Tyler to listen to him?). Now, if he really wanted Tyler to die, he could have shot Tyler directly and imagined his death, which would have lead to the end of Tyler.

Is this shooting scene in the significance of "Fight Club" where the narrator wanted to shoot himself just with the spirit of hurting himself? Does this indicate that Narrator and Tyler became one at the end?

Was that shot really needed to kill Tyler? What would have happened if Tyler also got shot in his mouth and was alive instead of getting shot in his head?

I have attempted the plot-explanation, but I watched the movie only once long back... I would be glad if someone can expand this/ explain this even better.

  • The narrator does attempt to shoot Tyler and fails in the attempt. Remember the last fight scene between the two, where the narrator tries to defuse the bomb.
    – Sayan
    Apr 22, 2013 at 6:31
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    You probably didn't read the question. That was not what I was asking for... ;) May 7, 2013 at 11:41
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    I know thats not what you asked, thats why my post is a comment and not an answer. My comment was directed towards this statement in your question he could have shot Tyler directly.......
    – Sayan
    May 7, 2013 at 12:47
  • The Narrator realizes many things about his condition and Tyler at the very end of the movie (when he realizes for instance that the gun is in his hand instead). This means that the Narrator is in the control of his brain now, and not Tyler. During the fight scene, it was clearly under Tyler's control, which is why he couldn't kill Tyler. What I meant in the question was: at the end, when Narrator had the control and wanted Tyler to "really listen to him", he could have shot Tyler directly this time - and it might have worked this time, because his body was under his control. ;) May 8, 2013 at 10:22
  • I believe it is also important to realize that at the beginning of the scene, Tyler was holding the gun in the narrator's mouth, and when the narrator gained control, he was able to choose to put the gun in his mouth instead of having it forced there.
    – user21143
    May 11, 2015 at 5:55

4 Answers 4


The purpose of the end scene of the movie is to have the Narrator finally conquer his 'problems' in the form of killing Tyler.

He cannot simply shoot at him as he is just a hallucination of his own mind and the bullet would just fly off into nothing. While before beating him up would have worked, it was just a physical representation of a mental battle. By bringing in an actual object into the fray, his attempts at Tyler's life are pointless.

We see the Narrator finally realize that he has been in control all along and this is why he is presented able to take the gun from Tyler, because he is the one actually holding the gun.

It is then he realizes that he must follow Tyler's own advice and "hit bottom". Only by doing so, is he able to control his own body and "kill" Tyler. To hit bottom he realizes he must do something life-threatening and plain insane.

Whereas the bullet only blew a hole in his cheek, it was his mental F--- You to Tyler, showing him that he can take care of himself now, which is why the bullet is shown to have gone through the back of Tyler's head, killing him.

  • It seems like Narrator can't control what happens to Tyler throughout the movie. If he could do that he could have killed Tyler by shooting him directly, because Tyler is just his imagination and imagining him to be shot would kill Tyler. Now, hurting himself and showing the spirit was what he should do in order to show his spirit to Tyler and seek his confirmation from him to leave the body. contd. in next comment... Jun 28, 2012 at 21:43
  • This sort of taking confirmation from Tyler was needed to kill him, and the Narrator had to become "someone else" to do this. The cognitive dissonance from which Tyler was born, was beaten back and the death of Tyler came next... Adding this explanation to your answer would make it better TylerDurden... oops! @TylerShads... ;) Jun 28, 2012 at 21:43
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    @ForbiddenOverseer - Tyler was more a split personality than an imaginary friend, albeit sometimes visible to the Narrator. Tyler would take control of the Narrator's body when he slept which started happening more and more often throughout the film. Once he realized this, the Narrator decided that going through the motions of suicide was the only way to kill Tyler. He had already fired the gun at Tyler to no effect. Tyler had to believe he was killing himself. I believe that's the significance of the line "Tyler, I want you to really listen to me." Jul 1, 2012 at 22:01
  • @DavidHarkness: +1 for Tyler was more a split personality than imaginary friend. Nice point of view! Jul 3, 2012 at 1:36

In that scene, Tyler's perspective is as follows:

He sees The Narrator put a gun in his mouth, which means that if The Narrator pulls the trigger, Tyler would believe he would die as he would believe The Narrator would die.

The reason why it works:

Before The Narrator pulls the trigger, he says "Tyler, my eyes are open". The significance of this is that The Narrator sees Tyler watching himself pull the trigger. In The Narrator's eyes, Tyler dies so that Tyler can never return in his mind. He needed to 'see' Tyler die, so that Tyler cannot come back. What Tyler didn't see is that the bullet did not go through his brain allowing The Narrator to survive. This is the only way The Narrator could 'kill' Tyler. By tricking Tyler and his own subconscious, he needed to 'see' it happen, otherwise Tyler wouldn't be dead.

Mind blowingly clever.

  • This feels like a misreading of the situation. This has nothing to do with tricking TYLER, there is no question of what TYLER did or didn't see. The TYLER aspect of the multiple personality breakdown is strong, brave, doesn't give an F, he's a manly man who get's things done. This is the point in the film when the narrator stops begging for help, stops relying upon (and being bullied by) TYLER, he realises he has to be responsible and do something painful in order to move forward. He proves to TYLER that he doesn't want or need him by taking a hard and painful action, rather than being passive Feb 13 at 12:29

The hole in Tyler's head is just showing the narrators total rejection of Tyler. It's less about the actual shooting and more about the fact that he maned up and became what Tyler was there for. He saw Tyler as a problem. The act of him shooting himself is what got rid of Tyler ( his total rejection of Tyler). He no longer had a need for that personality anymore because he was now able to handle his own life.


Even when the Narrator was in control he couldn't have had shot Tyler directly because he would have imagined killing somebody else. He had to imagine he was killing himself in order for Tyler to believe he was dead.

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    Cheers for answering! It's good to have new people contribute to the site, but in this case you've answered a question that already has an accepted answer, and your answer is the same answer but with less detail. You can find a guide to writing good answers at movies.stackexchange.com/help/answering. You might also want to look at some of the unanswered questions if you're looking to build up reputation.
    – toryan
    Jul 17, 2013 at 16:38

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