American Psycho

American Psycho


Bret Easton Ellis

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American Psycho: Paul Smith Summary & Analysis

Bateman is at Paul Smith, a designer store, talking to another Wall Street couple. While they talk, he describes in detail the fine clothes they’re all wearing. He interrupts to tell the couple how much he loves to torture and murder other people, but is completely ignored. From behind, Luis Carruthers approaches the group. The man Bateman’s speaking to begins to introduce him incorrectly, but Bateman corrects him and quickly excuses himself to look at ties.
Bateman’s typical activity of discussing expensive clothing—and being ignored when he tells people the gruesome things he enjoys doing—is interrupted by Luis. Though Bateman is normally unfazed by being introduced incorrectly, in front of Luis he insists on correcting his misidentification; could it be that he is self-conscious around Luis, feeling the need to assert his dominance by being correctly identified?
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Luis follows Bateman mercilessly, asking him what he’s doing (buying a tie for his brother’s birthday) and begging him to speak with him. Bateman keeps trying to ignore Luis and lose him as he moves through the store, but it’s no use. Even at the checkout counter, Bateman tries to make small talk with the cashier (he reports that a bum is outside and the police should be called). Luis follows Bateman onto the street, where Bateman turns and pulls a switchblade on him, threatening him with aggressive jabs. Even this doesn’t do the trick; Bateman only loses Luis when he jumps into his cab and is whisked away.
Luis is relentless, humiliatingly following Bateman around and expressing his feelings for him. We thus see a great contrast between the two: while Bateman never shows affection for anyone and is always sure to keep up a collected and perfect appearance at all times, Luis shows his affection passionately (though secretly) and is not afraid to make a fool of himself in the process.
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