The scathing social satire that is Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho uses a unique stream-of consciousness narrative that draws the reader into the text by way of a fascination with the narrator. Patrick Bateman, a wealthy and powerful Wall Street elite who divides his time between giving fashion advice and frequenting New York’s trendiest restaurants and clubs, also happens to be a delusional psychotic and ostensibly a serial killer. Shifting between a narrative that sounds like a schizophrenic’s journal of descent into madness and occasionally addressing the reader directly, Ellis has created a voice for the main character that is at once full of hostility, self-aware of his insanity, and his compulsive need to judge himself and others by their material wealth and fashion, “Yet the assumed style was evidently a deliberate aesthetic choice, one which satirized ‘the absolute banality’ of the yuppie culture Bateman represents” (Eldridge 22). The protagonist’s obsessive materialism, combined with a depravity of social connectivity and the acts of horrific violence, psychosis and rejection of morality places his character beyond the possibility of receiving empathy from the reader. Ellis’ authorial intent is for the audience to be disgusted with Bateman and the yuppie Wall Street subculture that allows such a monster to thrive in 1980’s Manhattan. Ellis’ novel reaches beyond a social satire of the Reagan-Era Wall Street to comment on a particular moment in American history.
Stanley, Michael A..
"The Monster of Wall Street."
The Downtown Review.
Available at: http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/tdr/vol1/iss2/4