American Psycho

American Psycho

The Devil and Hell Symbol Analysis

The Devil and Hell Symbol Icon

The novel both begins and ends with quotes from famous works of literature involving the Devil and Hell. The red graffiti described in the opening line of the novel (“Abandon all hope ye who enter here”) is a quote from Dante’s Inferno, the first part of his epic poem, in which the poet Virgil guides Dante through Hell, and the text on the sign Bateman sees at the end of the novel, and the novel’s final words, (“This is not an exit”) is an allusion to Jean Paul Sartre’s existentialist play No Exit, which depicts deceased people locked in a room together for eternity. Furthermore, not only can Bateman’s actions be seen as satanic, but the devil himself appears in the form of Bono during a hallucination Bateman has while at a U2 concert. By including this imagery, Ellis is drawing a comparison between Bateman’s world and hell, thus critiquing the dark underbelly of the shiny, elite Wall Street world.

The Devil and Hell Quotes in American Psycho

The American Psycho quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Devil and Hell. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage edition of American Psycho published in 1991.
April Fools Quotes

ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE is scrawled in blood red lettering on the side of the Chemical Bank near the corner of Eleventh and First and is in print large enough to be seen from the backseat of the cab as it lurches forward in the traffic leaving Wall Street and just as Timothy Price notices the words a bus pulls up, the advertisement for Les Misérables on its side blocking his view…

Related Characters: Patrick Bateman (speaker), Timothy Price
Related Symbols: The Devil and Hell, Les Misérables
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:

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Concert Quotes

It hits me that we have something in common, that we share a bond… the audience disappears and the music slows down… everything getting clearer, my body alive and burning, on fire, and from nowhere a flash of white and blinding light envelopes me and I hear it, can actually feel, can even make out the letters of the message hovering above Bono’s head in orange wavy letters: “I … am … the … devil … and I am … just … like … you …”

Related Characters: Patrick Bateman (speaker), Bono
Related Symbols: The Devil and Hell
Page Number: 142
Explanation and Analysis:

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Chase, Manhattan Quotes

…and the sun, a planet on fire, gradually rises over Manhattan, another sunrise, and soon the night turns into day so fast it’s like some kind of optical illusion…

Related Characters: Patrick Bateman (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Devil and Hell
Page Number: 352
Explanation and Analysis:

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At Harry’s Quotes

“Well, though I know I should have done that instead of not doing it, I’m twenty-seven for Christ sakes and this is, uh, how life presents itself in a bar or in a club in New York, maybe anywhere, at the end of the century and how people, you know, me, behave, and this is what being Patrick means to me, I guess, so, well, yup, uh…” and this is followed by a sigh, then a slight shrug and another sigh, and above one of the doors covered by red velvet drapes in Harry’s is a sign and on the sign in letters that match the drapes’ color are the words THIS IS NOT AN EXIT.

Related Characters: Patrick Bateman (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Devil and Hell
Page Number: 399
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

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The Devil and Hell Symbol Timeline in American Psycho

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Devil and Hell appears in American Psycho. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
April Fools
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The novel begins with a quote from Dante’s Inferno, “ Abandon all hope ye who enter here ”, seen scrawled along the side of a bank in red graffiti letters. Suddenly, a... (full context)
Office
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
...While they ride, Bateman notices that the music playing in the elevator sounds like “ Sympathy for the Devil .” (full context)
Lunch
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
...starts interjecting to tell Armstrong he’s an “asshole” and that his life “is a living hell,” but Armstrong doesn’t even notice. This continues until the chapter ends abruptly in the middle... (full context)
Concert
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
...Bateman’s senses, as a message appears, written in space above Bono’s head: “I… am… the… devil… and I am… just… like…you.” (full context)
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
...normal, though Bateman still feels that he has received this important, personal message from the devil and finds that he has a pulsing erection. He tries to pick up a conversation... (full context)
Birthday, Brothers
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
...from his apartment or if he should go purchase more. He’s interrupted by Sean saying, “Damien,” but he’s misheard; Sean is really complementing his tan. Bateman pays the bill and the... (full context)
Smith & Wollensky
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
...first time the brightly painted walls and listening intently to the sounds of Frank Sinatra’s “Witchcraft” floating through the restaurant. (full context)
At Harry’s
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
...Just as he’s leaving, Bateman spots a sign hanging on the wall. It reads: “ This is not an exit .” (full context)