American Psycho

American Psycho

Sep 03, 2021

This week I read a story called American Psycho written by Brett Easton Ellis. I found the story oddly entertaining. Also, the 80’s setting was somewhat familiar to me, being an 80’s kid.

The main character, Bateman is a shallow, self absorbed, psychopath who obliviously flaunts his horrific escapades. He has a prestigious job in finance where is does nothing accept sit in his office and read magazines and watch television. 

Throughout the story, Bateman shows his superficial personality and is overly concerned with his social status and what others think of him. His surface veneer is polished and handsome and well kept. His morning routine of brushing his teeth multiple times with different toothbrushes os over the top. Also, his facial cleansing routing was pathologically complicated.

Under his social facade, Bateman shows us that he is not a nice person. In fact he is a very bad person and has distain for all people around him, especially women. 

Bateman's need to prove himself to others is constant throughout the story. His need to be better is almost pathological. He cannot handle the idea of someone being better than him or possessing something that is better than what he has. A couple of examples of this are with the quality of his business card and his stereo system.

Bateman shows us that he is completely self-unaware and oblivious. This is shown in his interactions with the dry cleaner. Specifically, when the has a yells at the dry cleaner for being unable to remove blood stains from one of his jackets and his blood stained sheets. 

He repeatedly brings blood stained sheets to the dry cleaner, but the dry cleaner has done nothing about it. The dry cleaners are kind of covering for him by washing away evidence of a crime. The could turn him in but they do not. The keep taking his business. I think this reflects how society cannot be bothered to step up when a crime is committed.

Another part of the story that I found interesting was the interaction with Paul Owen. Owen works with Bateman, and mixes up Bateman with another person from the office named Marcus Halberstam. Bateman does not correct him and he plays along. We find out that he is playing along to get close to Owen because Bateman wants an important business account that Owen is working. Then Bateman has lunch with Owen and Owen get’s drunk. Bateman invites Owen over to his apartment and kills him in his living room with an ax. Bateman takes Owen out of his apartment in a sleeping bag.

Overall I enjoyed this story. I did find it slow and tedious at times but I was drawn in by how the characters were written and I also enjoyed seeing how setting was used. The 80s setting in Wall Street was good for establishing the characters. Also, the use of emerging technologies of the 80’s was familiar to me having grown up in the 80’s.