American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Office Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Riding the elevator up to his office, Bateman encounters a colleague named Frederick Dibble, who asks if he’s read a Page Six article about Ivana Trump. He hasn’t. Bateman asks him if he watched this morning’s episode of “The Patty Winters Show,” which, today, was about Autism. While they ride, Bateman notices that the music playing in the elevator sounds like “Sympathy for the Devil.”
This short conversation includes two of Bateman’s favorite things: Donald Trump and “The Patty Winters Show.” The appearance of devil imagery upon the novel’s first depiction of Bateman actually at work on Wall Street draws a connection between this capitalist world and the evil and suffering that pervades the novel.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Bateman enters his office and is greeted by his secretary, Jean, “who is in love with me and who I will probably end up marrying.” She tells him his only work appointment today has been cancelled, and he tells her to cancel the only personal appointment he had scheduled. Jean hasn’t seen today’s “The Patty Winters Show” either, but smiles at his obsession with the show. Bateman settles in his office, asking Jean to make two sets of reservations for him and taking in the décor of the room. Like his apartment, it is expensive, including a George Stubbs painting, a stereo, and vintage magazines. He pages Jean, asking her to keep her eyes out for a tanning bed and remind him to return some videotapes. Moments later, she comes in the room to confirm his lunch reservation. Bateman stops her, asking if she thinks he’s crazy (she doesn’t) and telling her to never wear the outfit she’s wearing again. He tells her, “You’re prettier than that,” and instructs her to wear high heels. He likes high heels.
Jean is the only character in the novel who displays any kind of honest affection for Bateman – even the affection Evelyn shows seems forced or based on shallow feelings. Jean dotes on Bateman and enjoys his “personality quirks,” but is still incredibly subservient to him. When Bateman tells her to dress in a certain way (a demonstration of his shallow objectification of women, as well as his understanding of Jean as someone assigned to be under his specific control) she complies. Bateman asking Jean is she thinks he’s crazy, however, reveals what may be a small glimmer of interest, honest connection, or concern under Bateman’s sleek exterior.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
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