Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho Essay

1067 words - 5 pages

American Psycho Essay

‘’You are a fucking ugly bitch, I want to stab you to death and play around with your blood’’ .
Bret Easton Ellis wrote in 1991 the rather controversial and contentious piece of literature, American Psycho, in which the aforementioned, disturbing quote exists. The novel has, as of its astounding amount of filth, gore and incomprehensible evil, been at the core of countless controversies, where the boundaries of literature(and whether or not these exist) have been discussed. However, Bret Easton Ellis has formerly written other novels similar to American Psycho in which satire is utilized to implement bits and pieces of constructive social criticism through very well written and darkly humoured plots and characters . This is, of course, no different for American Psycho, as the novel delivers a disturbing depiction of the 1980’s society(1987) where heavy consumerism, moral decay and superficiality prosper. It is about this exact, so-called yuppie-lifestyle of materialism, narcissism, emotional detachment and extensive illicitness that the novel is written. Altogether, we must interpret it as a transgressive fiction, inasmuch as it comprises many of the characteristics such as nihilism, drug addiction and outright mutilation(yet to be read).

My analysis will primarily cover some of the conspicuous and significant quotes and how these appear to hint of Patrick’s perpetual dissatisfaction and growing misguidance in his search for acknowledgement and pleasure. It is to be hoped, this will facilitate my attempt to understand and familiarize with the mind of Patrick Bateman.

‘’Abandon all hope, ye who enters here’’ - this rather peculiar and frightening phrase is what the reader initially encounters when commencing one’s perusal of the novel. This is, of course, a reference to Dante Alighieri’s epic poem ‘’Divine Comedy’’, in which this exact inscription(though in Latin) is written above the gates of hell. It seems therefore quite fitting considering the fictional world, one is about to enter.

The narrator, Patrick Bateman, lives within a world build upon wealth, etiquettes and social interactions, which, ironically, seem both psychologically and physically repulsive to him. His entire existence is constructed around this pervasive animosity and exasperation and regards thus himself intellectually superior to his surroundings .

Bateman’s life is heavily afflicted by an enslaving and constant fear of imperfection as he, and the world around him, grows increasingly superficial and shallow. A fear that necessitate an immense attention to details, designer clothes, obsessive dieting and various attempts to, through partaking in luxurious activities, demonstrate the abundance of his lavish lifestyle and hereby impress the people with whom he associates .

However, this anxiety is not limited to Patrick alone, but lives within Bateman’s entire circle of acquaintances as well - ‘’Evelyn is addicted to Parnate, an...

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