Literature Study GuidesAmerican PsychoConfronted By Faggot Girls Summary

American Psycho | Study Guide

Bret Easton Ellis

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American Psycho | Confronted by Faggot–Girls | Summary

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Summary

Confronted by Faggot

It is a Sunday afternoon in autumn, and Bateman is shopping. He recalls brunch earlier and dinner last night. He recalls watching a recorded episode of The Patty Winters Show, found on a video he thought contained the torture and killing of two prostitutes. He begins to feel uneasy, as if he's being followed. It turns out to be Luis Carruthers. Carruthers tells Bateman he's in love with him. When Bateman rejects him rudely, Carruthers falls to the ground, clutches at him, and sobs. Bateman threatens him, telling him to "face reality." Carruthers eventually gets himself under control.

Killing Child at the Zoo

Days pass, and Bateman is having difficulty sleeping. He feels unable to maintain his "public persona," so one day, instead of socializing, he walks around the Central Park Zoo. He stares into the eyes of a snowy owl, which seems to trigger something inside him. He sees a boy of about five and quickly stabs the child in the neck. He shoves the body behind a trash can and waits to see the mother discover her son. Bateman claims to be a doctor and pretends to help, holding the boy as he dies. He walks away, feeling the spell of the owl's eyes break, with no one the wiser.

Girls

Bateman's apartment smells terrible because he has rotting parts of Christine's body in various places. He decides to use Paul Owen's apartment for a "tryst." Evidently Detective Kimball is looking for Owen in London, where he's been seen a few times. Bateman hires two prostitutes. One tells him about a previous "business acquaintance" who had a pet monkey that always watched The Oprah Winfrey Show. Then he has sex with them, which quickly turns violent. He mutilates them and videotapes it. He uses their blood to write "I am back" on the wall as he makes plans for a workout and dinner.

Analysis

The scene with Luis Carruthers in the store is so ridiculous that it is difficult to believe it is real. There is a strong argument in favor of Carruthers being a hallucination—a manifestation of Bateman's own insecurities. First, he appears just as Bateman has an uneasy feeling. It is likely his own mind creates Carruthers in answer to this feeling. The presence of Carruthers makes the feeling concrete. Instead of Bateman's deep and inconsolable worry that he is insignificant, a more concrete threat emerges that can be dealt with. Second, Carruthers is wearing a very strange ensemble, like a bizarre secret agent: "jaguar-print silk evening jacket, deerskin gloves, a felt hat, aviator sunglasses." He is hiding behind a column and then emerges with a motion that seems physically impossible, "slinking and jumping at the same time." He proceeds to whine and weep, expressing his love for Bateman in a way that would draw an enormous amount of attention. The scene plays out like a caricature of a terrible soap opera. Third, all the things Bateman says to him readers recognize as ironically applicable to Bateman. He says Carruthers has "distorted this obsession of yours way out of proportion" and is "obviously unsound." He tells Carruthers to "face ... reality." Finally, there are clues that Luis is a figment of Bateman's mind, meant to cover up an uncomfortable reality. Phrases like "Luis blotting out reality" and "a level of confusion that I'm incapable of registering" suggest that a great deal of the chapter occurs in Bateman's mind.

The next two chapters return to more of Bateman's daily routine. He goes about his business and social life while thinking about and—perhaps—acting on his "homicidal compulsion." However, it is obvious that the violence in Bateman's life, whether real or imagined, is beginning to be the only thing that matters to him. He describes one dinner in lackluster terms: "a watery Bellini, soggy arugula salad, a sullen waitress."

In some ways, killing is beginning to be less of a rush for Bateman. He says his impulse to kill "surfaces, disappears, surfaces, leaves again" and sometimes he acts on it. But there are indications that acting on these impulses has become mandatory, not simply enjoyable. In fact, he hates other people for their enjoyment of life—he considers killing the seals because the visitors to the zoo enjoy watching them. After killing the child at the zoo, he is filled with "mournful despair" because it is not very fun to kill a child. After all, a child is only mourned by a few people, while an adult will be mourned by more people. Bateman does get some satisfaction from watching the mother suffer. Killing is a compulsion, but cruelty still provides pleasure.

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