American Psycho

American Psycho

American Psycho Yale Club Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Bateman is out to lunch with McDermott and Van Patten, and they’re discussing usual topics: sweater vests and serial killers. On this morning’s “The Patty Winters Show,” the topic was Nazis, and Bateman found it quite entertaining, especially when one of them began juggling grapefruit. The three men are all dressed well and have been siting at their table for some time drinking. Luis Carruthers is sitting a few tables away and keeps looking over at Bateman, who ignores him. Meanwhile, Van Patten is complaining about his girlfriend again. Bateman zones out, wondering if Courtney would like him more if Luis were dead, and if she only is interested in him in the first place because of the size of his muscles and penis.
Though the topic of “The Patty Winters Show” today was not so strange, the fact that the Nazis were juggling grapefruit definitely is – the show is growing stranger as Bateman begins his spiral into more drugs and violence. Bateman ignores his usual conversation to compare himself and Luis in Courtney’s eyes – could he be feeling a bit insecure in his superiority to Luis?
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Monotony and Desensitization Theme Icon
Without transition, Bateman finds himself in the men’s room. Only one stall is in use, and he hears Luis whistling a song from “Les Misérables.” He approaches the stall and comes up behind Luis. Slowly, he raises his hands to his throat and closes his grip around him, strangling him. He loosens his grip to let Luis turn around, allowing him to see the fluttering of his eyelids as his breathing is cut off. Bateman looks him in the eyes and tells him he’s been sleeping with Courtney. He squeezes harder and harder, waiting for the climax of the kill, but it never comes.
Bateman goes in for his second “on-screen” attack here. Something about this moment has led him to finally try to kill Luis. Likely, he’s beginning to sense the deterioration of his perfect and superior affront, and needs to make himself feel powerful by causing harm to someone who he views as less than him. If successful, this would be his ”biggest” kill yet; the first time he kills someone right in his own social circle.
Themes
Identity and Isolation Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon
All of a sudden, Luis looks down at Bateman’s wrists, leans down to kiss one of them, and begins to caress his face, asking him, “Why here?” Bateman is paralyzed, as Luis continues to talk to him, telling how long he’s waited for this moment and attempting to kiss him. Bateman escapes the stall, but Luis follows him, telling him, “I want you, too.” Bateman storms out of the bathroom and attempts to compose himself to return to lunch, but just before he can, Luis stops him. He tells Bateman to call him and says that his “secret” is “safe.”
Bateman’s plans are foiled by Luis’ admissions of love for Bateman (which are more likely surprising to Bateman than to the reader). Bateman himself is completely overwhelmed by Luis’ assumption that he is gay., and the fact that Luis so easily slips out of Bateman’s choke hold and his certainty that Bateman is gay raises the question of whether Bateman is, in fact, attracted to Luis and at the same time so closeted/disgusted that he can’t distinguish between whether he is trying to kill or kiss Luis. The novel delights in raising these sorts of possibilities and then, instead of resolving them, letting them linger as Bateman’s sanity seems to become less and less stable.
Themes
Materialism and Consumption Theme Icon
Vice and Violence Theme Icon