American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Deck Chairs Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Courtney has invited Bateman out to dinner with friends of hers, Scott and Anne Smiley (both Camden graduates), at a new restaurant called Deck Chairs. On the cab ride over, Courtney tells Bateman about her day – shopping, a facial. She tells Bateman to be on his best behavior, and he retorts that she should just take some more Lithium. While at dinner, the two couples discuss the current pop culture highlights of the day. Bateman mentions that he and Anne have a mutual acquaintance: a woman he sexually assaulted at a ski resort. Their conversation turns towards the restaurant’s style of cuisine, “California classic.” Though Bateman isn’t quite sure what that even means, he launches into a speech about “post-California cuisine,” impressing Anne greatly.
Courtney’s life is mundane and monotonous, like Bateman’s, and her monotony is definitely exaggerated by her habit for “downers” (although Lithium is mostly used as a treatment for bipolar disorder, perhaps offering a brief glimpse into Courtney’s own psychology). This is the second pair of Camden graduates Bateman has had dinner with; the first was Stash and Vanden, and he gets along with the Smileys just about as well as he got along with them. In another parallel to that first dinner, Bateman’s speech about “post-California cuisine” is another display of superiority through lying and performance, just like his political speech in the first chapter or his false Dorsia reservation with Patricia.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Courtney is slumping over, having nearly fallen asleep just reading her menu. Bateman props her up and continues the conversation while their food arrives. A waiter appears, asking to take a drink order, and Scott and Anne have an extended, loving fluster over what kind of wine they’ll drink, whether or not Anne even wants a drink, and the benefits of Pepsi vs. Coke.
There is a funny comparison here: while the Smileys are having an adorable scuffle over whether or not to have a glass of wine with dinner, Courtney has taken so many pills that she can’t even sit up straight. This demonstrates the attitude towards drugs (and, seemingly, emotion and experience itself) in the two couples’ different worlds.
Themes
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Bateman’s mind wanders, as he starts thinking about (and describing in detail) the porn he watched the other night. Conversation at the table turns to a recent exhibit by artist David Onica. Courtney, who has been drinking heavily in addition to her pill-taking, mentions that Bateman owns a piece of his, citing the price. Bateman aggressively tells her it was even more expensive. Still, Anne suspiciously remarks that this price is surely far too low. She seems not to trust Bateman, especially when Courtney is in such a condition, and Anne brings up Courtney’s boyfriend, Luis Carruthers. Bateman continues to daze in and out, thinking that “no sex is worth this dinner.” Conversation turns to the latest in stereo equipment and music. While Bateman and Scott are talking, Courtney excuses herself to go to the bathroom, only to be found asleep in the coat check room thirty minutes later.
Bateman can’t keep his mind off of sex and pornography. That is, of course, except when it’s time for a discussion of his lavish material possessions. It’s very important to Bateman that the Smileys know just how much money he is able to spend, and he’s likely even a bit embarrassed to find that he’s underpaid (or underestimated his memory of the payment). Anne’s mention of Luis is an attempt to take some power away from Bateman, though he is unaffected, displaying to the reader how little he cares about the whole situation. It’s just for sex, and if he doesn’t get it, he’ll be just fine – though that is, we know, probably not the case.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Back at her apartment, however, Courtney is in an entirely different mood. She and Bateman are having sex, and she is egging him on to be more and more passionate. Suddenly, Bateman stops short. He runs to the bathroom, shouting to Courtney that they’ve forgotten to use a spermicidal lubricant. He scours the bathroom for it, shouting to Courtney for assistance, and eventually finds a tube behind a giant bottle of Xanax. Back in bed, the mood has left Courtney. As they resume having sex, she stops Bateman and mentions her boyfriend, Luis Carruthers. Bateman has, however, misheard her; she’s actually asking about the condom they’re using, which she now insists they turn on the light to examine. Bateman gets angry, insisting she take another Lithium. Courtney then becomes upset, sobbing into her pillow and eventually telling Bateman to “get it over with.” He does; they finish having sex and are both unpleased.
Even during his favorite activity, sex with a beautiful woman, Bateman obsesses about cleanliness; he cannot leave a trace (his sperm) on Courtney, or she could get pregnant. This is a stark contrast to the way he treats the prostitutes and other women he has sex with. He could care less about them or their bodies, but because Courtney is connected to his social circle he feels he must maintain his image. This sexual encounter goes sour, though, and ends with Bateman having sex with a crying woman on a lot of drugs; it’s not a consensual act, but he’ll do it anyway because he believes himself entitled to his climax.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
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