American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Tuesday Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bateman finds himself at a black-tie party. He’s wandering around, miserable, thinking that maybe he’ll try to find some cocaine, when he bumps into Courtney. She takes a moment to warn him to stay away from Luis; he “suspects something.” Bateman brushes this off and tells her he’s leaving; the champagne and food and music are terrible. She tries to convince him to stay, but he won’t yield.
Even a fine, luxurious party is a boring, monotonous event for Bateman, especially if he can’t be using drugs. Courtney’s revelation about Luis comes as no real surprise to Bateman.
Themes
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Outside, a number of his Wall Street colleagues spot Bateman and invite him to dinner. Though he suspects they might have drugs, he waves them off and continues walking through the moonlit city. He spots a torn playbill for “Les Misérables” blowing down the sidewalk. Eventually he comes across a homeless man and his dog, lying in a doorway. After looking him over for quite a while, Bateman stretches out his hand and introduces himself to the bum, who tells him he’s incredibly hungry and in need of money or food.
There’s something different about this encounter than the ones Bateman’s had with homeless people before. Maybe it’s just because he’s been so bored by the party he was at, or maybe he’s still shaken up in some way by Evelyn’s marriage proposal, but he stops to talk to this man, eventually even asking his name – an act which inevitably humanizes him.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Bateman dangles a dollar in front of the homeless man, asking him why he doesn’t just get a job, and if he’s been drinking. The man becomes very upset, and Bateman begins to scold him for trying to take money from people who do have jobs. Bateman asks the bum his name; “Al,” he replies. Bateman reassures Al that he’s going to help him, though he goes on to ridicule Al for his stench and for crying like a “faggot.”
Bateman does his usual trick of dangling money, but takes it a step further to really be cruel to and berate this man, mocking his joblessness and likely reliance on alcohol (not that Bateman has any problems with drugs himself…). Bateman’s specific insults also show how he equates weakness with a lack of what he sees as “manliness.”
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
Bateman reaches into his pocket while Al hopefully looks on. He takes from it a serrated knife and begins to drive it into Al’s eye. Al is in complete shock. Bateman plays with the blade in his eye, before undressing him and stabbing him several times in the stomach and then going in to slowly puncture Al’s second eye with the blade. When he’s finished with him, Bateman throws a quarter at Al’s slumped-over body. When Al’s dog begins to bark, Bateman stomps on its legs, breaking them, and heads off. He finds himself sitting in the Union Square McDonalds, covered in Al’s blood, as others look on.
This is the first time we see Bateman actually attacking another person, though he’s referenced and fantasized about events many times in the novel so far. What’s more, this is attack is committed in public, right on the side of the road. While he could quickly kill Al, Bateman is more interested in torturing him and causing him pain, showing that he gets a true satisfaction from his sense of domination and others’ suffering. Surreally, Bateman is then able to casually go about in public without repercussions, even while covered in blood—a type of scene that will continue to recur throughout the book, which can be read as indicating that Bateman actually imagined the whole event or as satirically pointing out how society doesn’t notice or care about injustice done to the poor.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
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