American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Christmas Party Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bateman is out to drinks with a man names Charles Murphy, who is complaining about the Japanese – how they’re buying more and more American businesses and property. After drinks, while walking alone through the streets of New York, Bateman stops to attack and kill a Japanese food delivery boy riding on his bike. He continues along nonchalantly, passing a bum who he gives the bloodstained fortune cookies to, and arriving at Evelyn’s brownstone (townhouse). He’s late and the party is in full swing.
Once again, someone in Bateman’s circle shows an attitude of racism, and this time the conversation inspires a random act of violence from Bateman. Again, this person he kills is someone who has no value to him – a regular worker going about his business. It is, however, someone who may be missed, and again Bateman recklessly kills in public and makes no attempt to hide his actions.
Themes
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Inside the party, Evelyn has spared no expense – there are waiters in tuxedos serving champagne, Tiffany candleholders, fine food spread all throughout the home, and even dwarves hired to be elves. Bateman is greeted briefly by a man who mistakes him for someone else, before Evelyn rushes over to grab him. She teases him, calling him “a Grinch” and asks obsessively about the Waldorf salad. They look around the party, trying to figure out who is who – Evelyn still mostly concerned about the salad – and tease one another with fake gifts. Across the room, Bateman spots Owen, who eventually makes his way over to him, greeting “Marcus Halberstam” warmly. Owen’s girlfriend runs to fetch Evelyn, who Owen refers to as “Cecilia” (the name of the real Halberstam’s girlfriend) – Bateman silently encourages her to go along with it.
Evelyn’s obsessive behavior comes out again – this time focusing on the Waldorf salad as she did with the sushi in the first chapter. Evelyn is obsessed with this party being the most perfect and lavish of the season because she wants to be considered the best. This attitude is much like Bateman’s, with a comic perfectionism related to mundane details. Once again, Paul Owen mistakes Bateman for Halberstam, this time expanding the confusion to the respective girlfriends.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Bateman pulls Evelyn into the kitchen and tells her he wants to leave and bring her with him. She says she can’t leave – it’s her party! She’s worried he didn’t like the Waldorf salad. Evelyn is very reluctant to leave, even citing her duties watching over the cleanup, but Bateman is able to win her over with the one tactic he knows will win, calling her “Mrs. Bateman,” and just like that, the two are sneaking out the door.
Evelyn is convinced that she must be the perfect hostess in every way, but Bateman is trying to encourage some spontaneity in her. This is slightly uncharacteristic of him; he’s usually only spontaneous in his acts of violence, and he’s never shown this kind of happy-go-lucky candor with Evelyn.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Outside, Bateman rushes Evelyn into a limo – she’s delighted. He goes over to the driver and introduces himself, telling him Paul Owen told him it was all right for him to have his ride. Unfortunately, this isn’t Owen’s limo, so Bateman drags Evelyn – already drinking the champagne – to another limo and tries the whole tactic again, this time correcting himself and telling the driver his name is actually Marcus Halberstam. The driver refuses to let Bateman take the car (it is completely against regulation) but Bateman is able to buy his way around that.
The limousine confusion is yet another example of mistaken and confused identity, though this time it is a bit comical and involves Bateman again using his money to get what he wants. Additionally, though it is a small (and certainly not violent) act, the stealing of the limo is the first time Bateman does something cruel to Paul Owen and uses his “false identity” (Marcus Halberstam) to cover his tracks. What has been annoying to him now becomes useful!
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
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Inside the limo, Bateman finds Evelyn crying. He’s concerned, and tells her that the Waldorf salad was delicious, when she reveals a gift she has found in the limo and assumed to be for her: a Tiffany diamond necklace. Evelyn pounces on Bateman affectionately, ultimately pulling from his pocket another bloody fortune cookie. Bateman orders the driver, much to Evelyn’s dismay and argument, to drive them to a club called Chernoble. She wants to go to the Rainbow Room, but he hates it there and can’t score drugs there. Evelyn starts to get on Bateman’s nerves, so he brings out the big guns: telling her he didn’t like the Waldorf salad. Expectedly, she is distraught.
Evelyn’s first large display of emotion is, unsurprisingly, upon the receipt of an expensive gift – even one that isn’t technically her gift. She wasn’t even this emotional when talking to Bateman about getting married, though her talk of marriage was also completely materialistic and superficial. Their argument over which club to go to is, for Bateman, an attack on his dominance in the relationship: he should be able to get what he wants. Being the master of manipulation he is, he knows just what to say in order to upset Evelyn into submission.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
There is a huge crowd at the club, but when the doorman asks if they’re the two who arrived in the limo, Bateman and Evelyn are invited right in. Bateman goes to grab them each a glass of champagne and to score some drugs, through Evelyn is entirely displeased and wants to leave. They go to find the club’s single unisex bathroom and are in line with another couple. After a long wait, the other couple in line leaves just as the couple in the stall exit, wiping their noses. Bateman moves for the stall as the other couple returns, trying to get in first.
Bateman and Evelyn’s limousine arrival gets them special treatment; in their world, the flaunting of money goes a very long way. As soon as drugs become involved, though, they become Bateman’s only interest.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
A big argument ensues between Bateman and the other couple, which leads to him calling the other man’s girlfriend a “bitch” and leaving Evelyn standing in the bathroom a wreck. The other couple begin to argue amongst themselves – the man didn’t even defend his girlfriend – and leaves. Bateman then turns to Evelyn, who is still a wreck, and screams at her to leave before slamming the stall door and doing all of the cocaine at once.
Though anger and fighting are not entirely out of character for Bateman, this is the first time he becomes aggressive over his need for drugs; clear evidence that his addiction to them is growing and having strong effects on his behavior. Yet even while Bateman’s aggressiveness is over-the-top, the novel is quick to point out how the other couple ends up fighting because the other man wasn’t aggressive enough. It can be difficult to pin down what the book is and isn’t mocking in terms of masculine behavior, where its satire ends, if anywhere.
Themes
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When he’s finished, Bateman peeks to see if Evelyn is really gone (she is) and imagines her having a threesome with the other couple. Back in the club, the vibe has changed and Bateman sticks out like a sore thumb. A man approaches him and calls him a “fucking yuppie,” but he’s not even able to defend himself. He tries to save face by shouting “Rasta Man!” at a passing black man with dreads, but just makes a fool of myself. He finishes his drink and approaches a nearby “hardbody.”
While on drugs, and after such an eventful and exhausting night, Bateman starts to act strangely. He is out of place in a space that he usually feels like he owns, and is even directly mocked for being a Wall Street “yuppie,” something he is incredibly proud of. Bateman compensates for this, typically, by being racist— trying to show others that he can be the dominant one in any situation and with any group of people. His attempt backfires embarrassingly.
Themes
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon