Critical Portfolio

Literature Text

American Psycho


Throughout Brett Easton Ellis’ ‘American Psycho’ the main idea seems to be a thirst for power and/or fame. We see protagonist Patrick Batemen decent into psychopathy and conducting the worst of deeds such as tearing a homeless man’s eyes out, raping young women or “thirty, forty, a hundred murders”. The book seems particularly reflective of New York’s society and ‘the American Dream’ being one’s consuming nightmare. The novel lends itself to the issues of fame, pedophilia and pornography, and ideology within the American society.

Bateman desires complete adoration. He also seems to cast other characters into an oblivious state: often approaching him in the street following “hello…” with a different name; a colleague Paul Owen believes Bateman is a completely different person until his death. Additionally, the real psychopath Bateman is remains a secret.

It would seem Bateman has already achieved the American dream though there seems a sense of dissatisfaction and boredom with his life. What now?

Chapter 19, titled ‘Girls’ demonstrates this power and adoration desire as it follows Bateman’s sexual dominance over a teenage girl – “she stares up at me with the seventeen-year-old’s gaze” – and later intercourse under Bateman’s dominance between the two and another woman (who “is not blonde” – his ideal). Firstly he does not learn the teenagers name but decides to call her Christie and tells he only to respond to that. Perhaps he begins to notice the evil empowering him: “my mind becomes flooded with impurities” though at the same time discusses the perks of crushing her head. ‘Girls’ evaluates youth, violence and fame entailing us to the issue of the desire of celebrity adoration denying all boundaries. Our principle understanding of childhood and social reality are identified whilst reading this text.

Something I believe is apparent and important to a time period is sexuality. Perhaps I could explore this within my Mughal Empire period and manipulate it to represent corruption of society. Additionally, I can look at societal ideology and subverting it. I believe desire for fame has not changed but what fame is now has changed. Perhaps I should portray good celebrity status. As for pedophilia, I think it will alway remain a taboo topic in any story.


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