American Psycho - review and some questions:

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I can't believe we don't have a thread on this yet...

Anyways, here is my review with some questions. What is your opinion on the book and answer to those questions?

(It's a Wall of Text, I warned ya!)
"We have done the impossible and that makes us mighty." - Malcolm Reynolds
2 Esteban00930th Dec 2010 11:47:56 AM from Practically Atlantis
Bitter Hateful Cynic
1. Does Ellis try to make a point with the repetitiveness and boredom of the book?

Yes, it's the mindset of that particular era. It's meant as satire, a parody on being a young urban professional in the 80s.

2. Why doesnít Patrickís character show any kind of progression? Is it intentional?

He does show progression. Patrick slides further and further into madness, and he gets more and more involved in his own little world. He becomes increasingly more detached from reality as the story goes on.

3. Whatís more important in this story: Patrick or the society he is in?

Both. Patrick represents the society he is part of, and is a direct comment on the state of the world he lives in.

4. Whatís the point of the implausible things in the book? The police must be the stupidest police ever if they canít make any connection between the horrible murders and PatrickÖ

Again, satire, and there's the whole bit you might have overlooked where all of this is merely a product of Patrick's imagination. Littered throughout the novel there are clues that none of this is real and that it's just one lengthy masturbatory power-fantasy of Bateman.

5. Why is that, that only Patrick goes mad? Is yuppie life maddening for the human soul in general, or is Patrick insane by nature? Will his other friends go mad and murder people left and right in this world?

See above, and as an added bonus I'll say this: the yuppies in the novel are all the same character. They represent a mindset, a social phenomenon. They're not supposed to be rounded characters you should sympathize with, they're presented in a very negative light because the novel is a direct attack on that particular lifestyle.

6. Whatís the point of the line in which Patrick says that he just wants to feel loved? Is he completely deprived of human connections? Oh, but he isnít, itís the world around him, whatís so naive and shallow. Is this a flaw in the book, or does Ellis do this intentionally?

It's intentional.

7. Why is Ellis reluctant to give us a real story, which takes place in the real world? Is he unable to write on a different level or is this intentional?

It's a satirical take on the yuppie-lifestyle, or the vapid 80s brand-loving mindset... so there is a real story, but I'm affraid you only looked at the novel from the perspective of the plot. It's sort of ironic to hear someone call the novel shallow.
I only saw the movie. Ain't read the book. Am very very confused. Kept looking for evidence that it was all imaginary. Didn't find them. In the movie, it seems plausible that he actually did those things and got away with them. Except for the night in which he randomly killed people and blew up a police car. That was more than a little absurd. And the throwing of the chainsaw not mising? Plausible, but highly improbable. The rest, though, seems perfectly believable.

His internal monologues, besides being incredibly pedantic, make no sense whatsoever.

But the bit that completely threw me off was his lawyer not believing him, especially since he seemed pretty certain he was not Bateman, even given the incredible tendency these guys have to confuse each other, but then as soon as he sits with the other folks they repeatedly call him Bateman.

And of course I look at it from the plot, a plot is supposed to make sense or at least explain why it doesn't. What's the point otherwise?

And why do people keep saying this is the mindset of the eighties? The guys from Mad Men don't seem different at all! And how about the people who accomplish the same functions nowadays? What has changed, exactly?
An action is not virtuous merely because it is unpleasant to do.
I have a question that's always been nagging at me about this story. Is American Psycho and Patrick Bateman related to, inspired from, or connected to Psycho and Norman Bates in any way, or is that just a coincidence?
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5 Dekunobo24th Sep 2011 07:08:32 PM from underground bunker
Yes, the name "Bateman" is a direct nod to Psycho. But that's about it as far as a connection goes.

@ Jesus Saves: There's no direct proof that the entire thing was or wasn't imaginary. You could view Patrick's story from two angles:

1) He made it all up. His stories are simply the insane ramblings of a man alienated but also consumed by vapid consumer culture, a product of what was called the "Me generation" of the 80's. He wishes to break free (albeit in dark and disturbing ways) but is ultimatedly trapped in his head, unable to take action. He is condemned to existential despair.

2) The murders really happened but society is so ugly and vapid that the murders are just swept under the rug. Yes, the apartment really was blood-soaked and the closets full of bodies on meat-hooks, but hey, that's some valuable real estate there so we'll just splash on some paint and pretend we didn't see anything. Patrick is condemned to existential despair, but in the sense that society refuses to acknowledge him.

Note that taking this viewpoint leads the brand satire to become very...extreme and absurd. I tend to go with the former theory, just because I find the idea more intriguing.

edited 24th Sep '11 7:22:18 PM by Dekunobo

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