Perspectives and Functions
Ryszard W. Wolny - Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (1991): A Study in Consumerist Void of Emotions
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Ryszard W. Wolny
University of Opole
Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho (1991): A Study in Consumerist Void of Emotions
Since the times of the success of the non-fiction novel of 1966, Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, American literature has been trying to examine, dissect and anatomise crime as an apotheosis of capitalism, consumer culture and the sick minds of the criminals. While Capote has been proclaimed the pioneer of the true crime genre, Ellis’s attempt to portray the mind of the serial killer raises doubts as to the reality of the demonstrated acts of murder, torture, sadism, mutilation, rape, cannibalism and necrophilia. American Psycho (1991) took the world by storm with its explicit presentation of premeditated crimes to such an extent as to make them unbelievable, unrealistic, imaginary and occurring just in the sick mind of the middle-class protagonist. The fact that Patrick Bateman, the main character, coolly confesses to manslaughter over the phone (“I just had to kill a lot of people”) proves to be a sign of our times – the times of unrestrained consumption, desires, urges, manias and mental emotionlessness that result in a variety of transgressions such as group sex, drug abuse or serial killings.
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