American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Chase, Manhattan Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The paragraphs of this chapter seem to fade in and out of one another, each beginning and ending with ellipses (“…”). First, Bateman find himself out to dinner with his usual group. He tells them that his life is a living hell, but they all ignore him, talking about their usual subjects: women, work, alcohol. He tells the reader that this morning’s episode of “The Patty Winters Show” was about a man who lit his daughter on fire while giving birth, and that, for dinner, he and all his friends ate shark.
The writing style of this chapter, with paragraphs flowing into and out of one another without transition, along with the strangeness of the topic on “The Patty Winters Show” and Bateman’s dinner, are all huge tip-offs to the reader that Bateman’s mind is not in the right place as he’s giving this information. He is either delusional, hallucinating, or being completely facetious—so the reader must remember to take everything Bateman says in this chapter with a huge grain of salt.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Walking alone through the streets of New York, Bateman comes across a man playing the saxophone in a doorway. He walks over to him, takes his gun out of its holster, and screws a silencer on. The man sees the gun and stops, but Bateman encourages him to continue playing, and just as he does, shoots him dead in the face. He’s failed to notice, however, a police car on the street behind him. After the shooting, the police car begins to chase Bateman through the streets, as he ducks and weave in and out of alley, trying to lose the car.
Bateman’s killing is becoming more and more reckless. While earlier in the novel, he would kill prostitutes or beggars in dark alleys or the privacy of his own home, his thirst for killing has now led him to murdering street performers in plain view – not just of other civilians, but of the police.
Themes
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Bateman jumps into a cab, frantically waving his gun at the terrified driver. He shoots the driver, pushes his body out of the car, and attempts to drive off. Swerving like a madman, Bateman drives the car into a Korean deli. He gets out, now referring to himself in the third-person. He tells the reader how “Patrick” attacks a police officer who is approaching him and then shoots him. “Patrick” tries to take off running, and then another squad car appears, leading to a shootout between “Patrick” and the police officers. One of his bullets hits the gas tank of the police car, which explodes into flames.
The details of Bateman’s murder of the saxophone player and the ensuing police chase seem increasingly unrealistic—like something happening in an action movie. While it’s not totally out of the scope of believability for Bateman (who’s grown increasingly violent and reckless) even to shoot a police officer during the chase, the car exploding from a single bullet seems overly sensational and impossible. Furthermore, remembering the introduction to the chapter and knowing that, later in the novel, Bateman never tells us of any consequences for these actions (murdering a police officer in plain view, blowing up a police car), the whole scene is difficult to believe. Finally, his transition to referring to himself in the third person shows a level of dissociation that supports the idea of a hallucination.
Themes
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Patrick” starts running. At first he’s looking for a car, but then he just keeps running and running as fast as he can. He approaches the building his office is in and tries to get inside. In the confusion, he realizes he’s run into the wrong building. He’s trying to get to the elevator when a doorman stops him, calling him “Mr. Smith” and telling him he forgot to sign in. “Patrick” shoots the man and runs across the street to his correct office building.
Still referring to himself in the third person, Bateman describes how the chase continues – still unrealistically. Bateman’s mistaking one building for another is an additional sign that he isn’t in his right mind.
Themes
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
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Patrick” nods politely at his own doorman and heads up to his office. When he gets inside his office, “Patrick” grabs the phone and hurls himself to the ground. Shaking, he calls his lawyer, Harold Carnes, and admits every single one of his crimes. Meanwhile, the building has been surrounded by cop cars, SWAT teams, and helicopters. “Patrick,” sobbing, continues his phone call, now telling his lawyer that he may show up for drinks later, and watching the sun rise over Manhattan.
There is an interesting juxtaposition between Bateman’s questionably hallucinated chase and his lengthy and crazed voicemails for his lawyer: a confession is an act of truth telling, and yet, this rare moment of truth telling comes in the moment in the novel when it is most difficult to discern the truth. The final words of this climactic chapter – Bateman staying hidden in his office, surrounded by helicopters and police, the sun rising – are strikingly peaceful. That being said, time has passed in an unclear way, Bateman’s sanity is highly questionable, and these events have no known consequences and are (almost) never spoken of again.
Themes
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon