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1. Junk, Dennis J. Hierarchies in Hell and Leaderless Fight Clubs: Altruism, Narrative, and the Adaptive Appeal of Bad Boys.

Degree: 2012, IPFW

Psychologists have demonstrated that a tendency to favor altruists while wanting to punish selfish actors develops in infants even before they learn to speak. Anthropologists and evolutionary psychologists theorize that an intense desire to see altruists rewarded and exploiters receive their just comeuppance evolved as an emotional adaptation to group living. For a group to enjoy the survival advantages of cooperation, some mechanism must be in place to prevent free-riders from benefitting from the exploitation of trusting others. Strong reciprocity, the urge to punish or reward individuals based on their treatment of others, evolutionary critics theorize, lies at the heart of human interest in narrative. The history of literature, however, is replete with examples of characters who were intended to be bad but who managed to win the favor, even the adoration of readers. This study examines two such characters, Satan from Milton’s Paradise Lost and Tyler Durden from Palahniuk’s Fight Club, and shows that these supposedly bad characters direct most of their bad behavior toward still worse characters and thus win the sympathy and admiration of readers by engaging in an altruistic form of punishment.

Subjects/Keywords: Milton; Paradise Lost; Satan; Palahniuk; Fight Club; Tyler Durden; Evolutionary Criticism; Literary Darwinism; William Flesch; Christopher Boehm; altruism; egalitarianism; narrative interest; Game Theory; English Language and Literature; Literature in English, British Isles; Literature in English, North America

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APA (6th Edition):

Junk, D. J. (2012). Hierarchies in Hell and Leaderless Fight Clubs: Altruism, Narrative, and the Adaptive Appeal of Bad Boys. (Masters Thesis). IPFW. Retrieved from http://opus.ipfw.edu/masters_theses/8

Chicago Manual of Style (16th Edition):

Junk, Dennis J. “Hierarchies in Hell and Leaderless Fight Clubs: Altruism, Narrative, and the Adaptive Appeal of Bad Boys.” 2012. Masters Thesis, IPFW. Accessed December 10, 2019. http://opus.ipfw.edu/masters_theses/8.

MLA Handbook (7th Edition):

Junk, Dennis J. “Hierarchies in Hell and Leaderless Fight Clubs: Altruism, Narrative, and the Adaptive Appeal of Bad Boys.” 2012. Web. 10 Dec 2019.

Vancouver:

Junk DJ. Hierarchies in Hell and Leaderless Fight Clubs: Altruism, Narrative, and the Adaptive Appeal of Bad Boys. [Internet] [Masters thesis]. IPFW; 2012. [cited 2019 Dec 10]. Available from: http://opus.ipfw.edu/masters_theses/8.

Council of Science Editors:

Junk DJ. Hierarchies in Hell and Leaderless Fight Clubs: Altruism, Narrative, and the Adaptive Appeal of Bad Boys. [Masters Thesis]. IPFW; 2012. Available from: http://opus.ipfw.edu/masters_theses/8

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