American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho At Another New Restaurant Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bateman is out to dinner with Evelyn. The week before, they’d attended an office Halloween party, and Bateman dressed as a serial killer. Their dinner conversation is, as usual, shallow and tense. Evelyn mentions a shirt she’s been seeing everywhere that says “Silkience Equals Death.” Bateman corrects her: it’s “Science Equals Death.” Across the room, Bateman sees a man he hardly recognizes and waves to him enthusiastically. Evelyn is annoyed and argumentative, until she spots someone she knows, Robert Farrell. She tells Bateman how handsome she thinks Farrell is, though she hopes she isn’t making Bateman jealous. The two then argue over Bateman’s hair and workout routine and Evelyn sees that she’s upset him.
Bateman’s cheeky Halloween costume displays a growth in his flippancy towards his crimes; instead of just casually mentioning that he’s a murderer, he dresses up for a party flaunting it, and, of course, no one seems to notice or care. Ironically, both Evelyn and Bateman are incorrect about the shirt: it must have said “Silence Equals Death,” which was the motto of the famous 1980s AIDS prevention and action group Act Up (a cause Bateman and Evelyn wouldn’t care about at all, of course). At dinner, Bateman and Evelyn are as unconnected as ever, but she goes so far as to taunt Bateman by suggesting that there is a man more attractive than he is; it works.
Themes
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Evelyn attempts to change the subject, telling Bateman a story about two friends of hers, but he is hardly listening, just staring at her breasts and interrupting to ask the waiter for a scotch. Bateman muses to himself about the “lack of carnality” that he used to love about Evelyn and now dislikes, and remembers a recent therapy session where he was asked what kind of contraception he and Evelyn use and what their favorite sexual positions are. Evelyn keeps talking, they argue over the prices on the menu, and when their food arrives Bateman gets into an argument with a waiter offering them fresh ground pepper, and Evelyn is embarrassed.
Bateman, typically interested in Evelyn on only a shallow level, has a revelation about his attraction to her. Before, he enjoyed the fact that she “lacked carnality” – a quality he himself has in abundance – but now he wishes that weren’t the case. This change in “appetite” is linked to the changes in his habits with sex and violence – everything about his life has become more carnal, and this is now part of what he is looking for in a woman. From the outside, Bateman and Evelyn’s dinner continues as usual.
Themes
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Bateman has planned something special for dessert. Earlier that day, he’d stolen a used urinal cake, taken it home, covered it in chocolate, froze it, and popped it in a Godiva box (Evelyn’s favorite). He’s brought the box with them to dinner and asked the waiter to surprise Evelyn with it at the end of their meal. She is delighted when it arrives and offers to share the treat with Bateman. He refuses and allows Evelyn to dig in. He watches her take a big bite and observes her face as she tries to process what it is she’s tasting. It’s “minty,” she tells him, unaware of what it is she’s actually eating. As Bateman watches her, he has a realization. Even this act isn’t pleasurable or fulfilling to him. It’s merely something he feels he must do in order to even put up with Evelyn for three hours.
Bateman’s “prank” on Evelyn in disgusting, cruel, and humiliating—but it’s also an ironic take on the “consumption” all the novel’s characters are obsessed with, and their preoccupation with food as a status symbol (i.e., the Godiva box) rather than as something to actually enjoy. While Bateman mistreating Evelyn is nothing new, this is the first time we see him go out of his way to do something terrible to her. Perhaps he is not only getting pleasure from this cruel act, but also trying to get a reaction out of Evelyn—trying to get Evelyn to act “carnally” in response. It doesn’t work, however, and the whole prank is in no way pleasurable for him.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
At the end of the meal, Evelyn tells Bateman that she wants “a firm commitment.” At this point, he isn’t too fazed. Bateman tells Evelyn that things between the two of them are over, citing in part his love for murder. She doesn’t seem to understand, and calls the waiter over to order coffee. Bateman continues, telling her that, at 27, he can’t get trapped with the burden of a commitment. She asks if he’s still seeing his shrink, and he tells her that at the end of their last session his therapist asked Bateman if he could get him into a nightclub.
Bateman’s immediate response to Evelyn’s asking for “a firm commitment” is to break up with her. Earlier in their relationship, when she had talked about marriage, he either ignored her desires or played along to get something he wanted from her. Evelyn isn’t even able to comprehend what is happening to her and acts as if it isn’t happening at all.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
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Evelyn tries to reason with Bateman, calling him “honey,” which he detests, and telling him how their breaking up would make their friend group a mess and asking him “what about the past?” Bateman isn’t moved. He tells Evelyn that she’s just not important to him. Evelyn becomes hysterical, first telling Bateman that he’s pathological and then pleading with him, asking what she can do to change his mind. He tells her she could, maybe, wear erotic underwear, know more about cars, and say his name less often, but eventually just tells her to give it up.
Evelyn tries to redirect, to plead, and to aggressively shame Bateman into changing his mind, but it is no use – he mocks her offer to “do anything” and he is only more cruel to her. This interaction is not unlike Bateman’s previous actions with Luis Carruthers: a person begging and pleading with him over their affection, and Bateman cruelly rebuffing and dismissing them.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
After much spectacle, Bateman finally gets up to leave Evelyn sitting at the table. She asks him where he’s going, and he enters his own mind, lost in a maze of business and violence – he sees the image of Evelyn’s skeleton, twisted and crumbling. When he comes to, he tells her he’s going to Pago Pago, and that, because of her outburst, he won’t be paying for the meal.
Bateman’s cutting of ties with Evelyn is an example of him isolating himself; the more he descends into his spiral of drugs, sex, and violence, the more he retreats into his own mind, becoming isolated from all those around him. Even at the end of this interaction with Evelyn, Bateman disappears inside his mind.
Themes
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon