American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho The Best City for Business Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bateman decides to stop into Paul Owen’s place, since he hasn’t been there since the night he spent with the two escorts. It’s strange, he thinks, how there have been no rumors or reports of the bodies being found, and the investigation into Owen’s “disappearance” seems all but dried up. When he gets to the building, the keys he has don’t work. The doorman lets him in and tells a confused Bateman that Mrs. Wolfe, the realtor, is already upstairs. Bateman wonders how much Owen’s apartment is worth.
Bateman is right to find it strange that there have been no investigations or rumors regarding his murders or the rotting corpses sitting in Paul Owen’s mysteriously deserted apartment, however it’s no more strange than there having been no consequences for his helicopter police chase. Again, we’re entering territory where truth, reality, and consequences are incredibly murky. Bateman is surprised to find the locks changed and to hear of a realtor upstairs, but it doesn’t deter him from checking out the situation and sizing up the wealth of his former rival.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
When Bateman gets upstairs, a woman greets him, asking if he’s her eleven o’clock appointment. He tells her he isn’t and walks around the apartment, looking at the other couple who is viewing the property. Bateman can’t stop thinking about and picturing the horrible things he did to those girls in this apartment. The realtor approaches him, unnerved, and asks if she can help him. Bateman asks her if Paul Owen lives in the apartment, and she assures him that he doesn’t. Bateman is distracted by a commercial on the television, in which a woman tells her husband, “you’re right, this margarine really does taste better than shit.”
Clearly something strange is happening: Paul Owen’s apartment has been cleaned of the dead bodies Bateman had left behind and is now being shown for sale. Is Paul Owen alive, and has he decided to sell? Has the landlord taken over the sale of the property because Owen stopped paying or living there? Who discovered and removed the bodies, and why wasn’t there any news surrounding them—or were there never any bodies in the first place? All this is unclear. Bateman catching the glimpse of the strange television commercial (as with “The Patty Winters Show”) may be used to make the case that he is currently hallucinating, even further clouding the truth.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon
The realtor asks if Bateman is here because he saw the ad in the Times. He tells her yes, and she tells him there was no ad in the Times. Bateman starts to panic, as the realtor urges him to leave the apartment immediately and not make any trouble. His head is spinning and he wants to cry out, but he is unable to do a thing. The realtor forces him out of the apartment and glares at him until the elevator doors close.
The realtor is suspicious of Bateman, likely because he asked about Paul Owen by name earlier. Her terrified and insistent response might suggest that she knows about Paul Owen and the bodies, and is afraid of the perpetrator of the terrible crimes returning to the scene—or just doesn’t want knowledge of the murders interfering with her ability to make money. Does this mean that Bateman definitely committed those murders and left those bodies? But what if he’s hallucinating this entire scene? Were the locks to Owen’s building changed or did Bateman just never have a set of keys in the first place? All these questions and more remain open.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
The Truth Theme Icon