Personality in Bret Ellis American Psycho In American Psycho, the antihero and of course main character Patrick Bateman shows complete signs of insanity. In reality he is mentally unstable and lacks ability to control his blood-thirst desires. He is deceitful, dishonest and disloyal to his fellow co-workers (whom are almost on the same level as himself), his fiancee and of course his victims. His world as we view it depicts him as an intelligent manipulating serial killer, in which all his victims are murdered because of value in Bateman’s eyes.
Unlike ordinary serial killers however; Patrick’s outward appearance displays him as a handsome, well educated Harvard Grad who works as a successful financial advisor in Wall Street during the bull market of the 1980’s New York City. His world as we know it; is moving in at a fast alarming rate but will his sadistic urges exceed total insanity as his past delusions take reality into utterly heinous acts. Behind the narration in the novel we can’t help but convey the present setting of Bateman’s world. The novel describes it as yuppie greed trying to emphasize the fact that every character uses judgement by status and style.
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We can get a clear picture of the lifestyle during the 80’s as very hip. Sex, Drugs and Wealth all take part in the fast lifestyle of Patrick and his main social group whom enjoy proper etiquette and the fine night life of New York City. Bateman is obsessed with appearance, usually judging others by what they wear or where they live. In about every scene whether it is in a new night club in Soho or having a drink with a client; he takes the time to literally go into detail about each and every designer made clothing he is wearing and where it was purchased.
As American Psycho begins we can’t help but imagine how luxurious Patrick has it. Ranging from his net-worth in the millions to his Park Ave apartment a few doors down from Tom Cruise only one can imagine a personality disorder so vast. However as the novel goes into depth we start to see how unreliable Bateman really is. “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” (Ellis, 1991, p. 3) those words simply explains the hell that Bateman will fulfill. Anti-Social Personality disorder categorizes a person who has the urge to isolate themselves from society because of anxiety attacks, erratic thinking and odd behavior.
We see in various scenes where Bateman shows signs of panic because of his inability to cope with certain social situations. “Im on the verge of tears by the time we arrive at Pastels since I’m positive we won’t get seated but the table is good, and relief that is almost tidal in scope washes over me in an awesome wave”. (Ellis, 1991, p. 97) This is one of the events where Patrick shows a personality disorder because everything has to be his way. He follows a strict daily routine which involves personal grooming, shopping in high-end retail stores and dining at the finest.
If there is a inconvience in his day that will affect his routine we see a quick mood-swing to violent outbursts of anger. In order to control his sick appetite and sometime violent bursts he takes drugs and we see his is a frequent cocaine user which gives him more of an urge to kill. Patrick is extremely insecure about himself and lacks of ego which is hard to believe because he has everything he wants. But Patrick believes everything was handed to him on a silver platter and is a product of financially breeding from his father.
From being a Harvard Grad and working at a major financial institution owned by his father, Patrick shows signs that he hates his job even though he is financially secure for life. When asked by his finance Evelyn why he just doesn’t quit he explains “BECAUSE I WANT TO FIT IN” (Ellis, 1991, p. 237). This simply indicates his insecurity of life which kind of sets off his motive to killing because he feels nobody acknowledges or cares for him. In one scene while dismembering a prostitute he met at a night club he begins to cry historically saying (“Nobody loves me,, I just want to be loved”) (Ellis, 1991 p. 57). This explains himself having panic attacks and feeling abandoned. The shady loveless relationship that Patrick shares with Evelyn is so meaningless that two often cant stand each other but stay together for the sake of their social click. Patrick more then often cheats on Evelyn with her best friend Courtney because in the end we see how nobody cares ones feelings. Everything is based on greed and status, there is no love or respect but instead manipulation. Bateman’s victims include homosexuals, homeless individuals, prostitutes, animals, co-workers and his ex-girlfriend.
The narrator gives us the distinct feeling that while Bateman commits his crimes and even during his daily activity’s he appears emotion less. Bateman kills for a number of reasons but most importantly the same way which is because they do not live up to his hierarchy expectations in society. He often categorizes his homeless victims and prostitutes on the same level. The need to kill off hopeless and meaningless lives that society has abandoned. Basically saying they are the scum of the earth and a detriment to the world.
Homosexuals because they violate his sexual orientation in which he finds them repulsive and his co worker Paul Owen in which he despises. Bateman even described Paul Owen as himself but better which is the reason why he killed him. Another unusual victim for Bateman was his ex-girlfriend and this killing progressed his murders into even more insane forms of killing. Bethany was murdered by Bateman for dating the head chef at Dorsia which was the number one restaurant in New York City that Patrick was never able to get reservations to because you have to either be a celebrity or possess billions.
From his first killing to his last he used all variety’s of torture, rape, mutilation and even cannibalism because we seen his urges and fantasies reach a climax point where he couldn’t control himself. Besides the murders, his antisocial personality disorder turns into schizophrenic symptoms in which he starts to hallucinate. In the end of the novel we don’t know if his personality is reality or his mind is in a frenzy fantasy. Patrick’s visions become so vivid that he kills a SWAT team that chases him threw Central Park after Bateman was spotted with one of his silenced pistols with him because of paranoia.
Rage and Agony is the only way to describe him for certain periods in the novel where he sleeps in his office to avoid being arrested by the NYPD. He even calls his lawyer in complete disarray confessing to murdering over 30 victims and going into complete detail about each crime. The following day when Bateman approaches his lawyer to see if he received his message he startled and laughed asked Patrick whom he was. This comes back to the point that nobody cares about one another and only greed. Patrick endures so much pain in his life from eeling lonely that he seeks pleasure from his murders especially that of woman in which he promotes the most horrific acts instead of males. His lack of ego and confidence on that particular night determines the method of killing. During Paul Owen’s murder he uses an axe because even though he despised Paul Owen, Owen had a mutual friendship with Patrick. He tortures his ex girlfriend and the homeless to the most gruesome extent of reality because simply things weren’t planned as usual that day.
The reason he uses extreme torture on his victims is to not only express his darkest pleasures but to share his pain with them which in his sense is also pleasure. However, his feelings of lack of ego, low self-esteem and personality disorder is all but a fantasy in his mind. Since he was brought up basically in a perfect life with everything handed to him he doesn’t feel any real emotions or love nor pain. This is why Patrick is so cynical in a sense that since he has everything he wants he feels he can do what ever he pleases. Works Cited Ellis, Brett. American Psycho. 1991. New York