American Psycho

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uppladdat: 2005-02-10
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Written in 1988 and published in 1991.

Plot: Wake up, various skin treatments, a grapefruit and a san pellegrino, valentino suit, wall street, lunch at Pastel’s, dinner at Nell’s, rent a limo, pick up some prostitute, torture and murder her, then play with her blood –a regular Tuesday. Patrick Bateman, a wealthy, good looking and tanned wall street yuppie, has it all. He has always had it all, and more. Though, it doesn’t really please him, in fact nothing is satisfying enough. Neither is Cocaine, alkohol, prescription drugs, etc. He is simply bored, he has been bored for a very long time. Bored in a more hungry and more demanding way than you can imagine. He needs satisfaction, he needs a rush, some type of thrill, anything. He finds this temporary satisfaction in murdering, torturing and raping. Though it isn’t enough, he eventually has to start outdoing himself. –he is living his own american dream.

“…I say staring at her, quite clearly but muffled by ‘Pump up the volume’. “You are a fucking ugly bitch I want to stab you to death and play around with your blood,” but I’m smiling. I leave the cunt no tip…”

Characters: Patrick Bateman is in many ways the only significant character in the book. Because of his narcissism and the fact that he doesn’t have any real emotional relationships, other characters aren’t important.
Patrick Bateman is a handsome, tanned, intelligent and very wealthy narcissist. Empathy and emotions are the only things that he doesn’t have, except those he really has it all. (Well, except a table at Dorsia and an invitation to Donald Trump’s christmas party). Patrick Bateman is a narcissist and not an egoist. Narcissism and egoism have nothing to do with eachother. Bateman doesn’t really love himself, he loves the image of himself that he has created, he loves his ‘higher-self. And that is the only thing he loves. I believe that Bateman was probably abandonned in someways as a child and that he didn’t get the attention that he wanted and needed. No healthy 14-year old would rape his maid.

“Evelyn hoovers over the chocolate-dipped urinal cake anxiously, poised. ‘I adore Godiva.’…She leans down, smelling the brown oval, and, catching a scent of something (probably disinfectant)… ‘No darling’ I say ‘I want you to eat it’… To me she looks like a big black ant in an original Christian Lacroix – eating a urinal cake and I almost start laughing… no matter how satisfying it was to see Evelyn eat something that I ,and countless others, had pissed on, in the end the displeasure it caused her was at my expense”
/Patrick Bateman and Evelyn in a restaurant

Aim: American Psycho is a satire about people during the most materialistic period of the late 80’s. It describes nacissism and materialism in a casual and every-day like way. In the book, everyone is always mistaken for someone else, thoug no-one really cares. I think that symbolizes that they are all the same, and they sort of are. One thing that you really notice and wonder about during the book is why Bateman never gets caught. He is not careful and he doesn’t get rid of traces or bodyparts. He confesses to others countless of times, no-one listens, no-one bothers. His housekeeper cleans the blood of his walls scilently and without any reaction, his drycleaners clean his blood drenched sheets without saying anything, his friends are too caught up with themselves to wonder about his unusual intrest for serial killers and they simply don’t listen when he tells them that he likes to dissect women. There is a lot of symbolism in the book, like when Bateman gives a chocolate-dipped urinal cake in a Godiva box to Evelyn and she eats half of it, though it tastes awful, just because it’s Godiva. And you really see how silly it all is when Bateman has a nervous breakdown at a lunch because one of his co-worker’s business card is in a nicer shade of white and has a better looking font than his.

“There wasn’t a clear, identifiable emotion within me, except for, greed and, possibly total disgust. I had all the characteristics of a human being –flesh, blood, skin, hair- but my depersonalization was so intense, had gone so deep, that the normal ability to feel compassion hade been eradicated, the victim of a slow, purposeful erasure. I was simply imatating reality, a rough resemblance reality, a rough resemblance of a human being, with only a dim corner of my mind functioning. Something horrible was happeing and yet I couldn’t figure out why-I couldn’t put my finger on it”
/Patrick Bateman

Style: What makes this book unique is the way that it is written. It is written in first person, from the killers perspective in present form. It is written in such detail and with such depth that the characters, the story and the life of Patrick Bateman almost become reality. In fact it feels like you are Bateman, his life is yours and his actions make sense. Scary in someways, wonderful in others.

“. . . there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, though I can hide my cold gaze and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable: I simply am not there. It is hard for me to make sense on any given level. Myself is fabricated, an abberation. I am a noncontingent human. My personality is sketchy and unformed, my heartlessness goes deep and is persistent. My conscience, my pity, my hopes disappeared a long time ago (probably at Harvard) if they ever did exist. There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it, I have now surpassed. I still, though, hold on to one single bleak truth: no one is safe, nothing is redeemed. Yet I am blameless. Each model of human behaviour must be assumed to have some validity. Is evil something you are? Or is it something you do? My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone. In fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape. But even after admitting this – and I have, countless times, in just about every act I’ve committed- and coming face-to-face with these truths, there is no catharsis. I gain no deeper knowledge about myself, no new understanding can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing. . .”
/Patrick Bateman

Opinion: I do not share the opinion of those critics who say this book is about violence and pornography, in my opinion they have no clue what so ever of what they are talking about. It is mainly about narcissism and materialism. It is definitely the type of book that you either love or hate. I absolutely love it. I believe that those who do not, do not understand the message or what the book is saying. It is so much...

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Inactive member [2005-02-10]   American Psycho
Mimers Brunn [Online]. https://mimersbrunn.se/article?id=3523 [2020-03-30]

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