Patrick Bateman In American Psycho

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Introduction “...there is an idea of a Patrick Bateman, some kind of abstraction, but there is no real me, only an entity, something illusory, …I simply am not there.” -Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho (1991) How and why does Bret Easton Ellis conflate the characterisation of serial consumerist and serial killer in Patrick Bateman from American Psycho? American Psycho is a 1991 Bret Easton Ellis novel focusing around the antihero Patrick Bateman. Patrick Bateman is a Wall Street investment banker leading a double life as a serial killer. Of central importance to the novel, is how Bret Easton Ellis manages to inflate the characterisation of consumer citizen and criminal, in order to create a nihilistic symbol of the world we live…show more content…
This is identity is used for Patrick Bateman to exist in the Wall Street society he exists in. This world is comprised of consumerist, sexist, misogynistic values, where without the same suit, haircut, apartment, name card, and restaurant reservations, you are deemed inferior to others. The descriptive language portraying this world, labeled as “boring” by critics, stating “the jerky, plotless narrative is boring, … in which brand names replace most nouns and adjectives.” (1991, Plate). This assists in creating the empty culture Bateman is immersed in. The obsession with fashion labels is ironised by Ellis: “Price is wearing a six-button wool and silk suit by Ermenegildo Zegna, a cotton shirt with French cuffs by Behar, a Ralph Lauren silk tie and a leather wing tips by Fratelli Rossetti.” (Ellis 1991, p.5) This establishes the level of detail Bateman goes into when he is describing others around him. This demonstrates Bateman’s obsession with appearance, a huge element in the construction of Bateman’s identity. All those who exist in this world value materialism over authenticity. This empty culture filled with Wall Street clones is merely created as a world of illusions that Bateman has successfully mirrored. Every time he dissects someone’s appearance, he reflects it; he is always wearing very similar clothing, the same haircut, the same ‘horn-rimmed glasses’, he even lives in a similar apartment. This reflected identity extends to his mannerisms and dialog. When Bateman and the other Wall Street yuppies converse, they have a distinct idioms and colloquialisms. Their original speech patterns aid in the representation of the narcissism of the 1980. They speak frantically, jumping from topic to topic as though they are only speaking with themselves. It comes across as an almost scripted interaction. This is demonstrated in the chapter Harry’s where their their
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