"Never Use Cologne on Your Face, Since the High Alcohol Content Dries Your Face Out and Makes You Look Older."

'American Psycho' - Chapter Two

"Never Use Cologne on Your Face, Since the High Alcohol Content Dries Your Face Out and Makes You Look Older."
Bateman's masque (herb-mint)

This was the most solid block of text across four pages that I've ever laid eyes on, with almost no direct quotes or dialogue. This chapter is nothing more than an extremely fine-tuned description of Patrick Bateman's highly eccentric apartment and his typically eccentric daily routine. The specificity as well as the ease with which he is able to recall such a lengthy process is frightening. To give an idea of some of the description, my personal favourite of this chapter was...

'The shower has a universal all-directional shower head that adjusts within a thirty-inch vertical range. It's made from Australian gold-black brass and covered with a white enamel finish."

Amid the continued designer brand name-dropping from the first chapter, there were a number of interesting aspects that give us more of an idea of what a Patrick Bateman is.

"Thin white Venetian blinds cover all eight floor-to-ceiling windows."

To me, this suggests that Bateman wants to be seen. The extensive amount of windows seem to offer little to no privacy, as well as the blinds being 'thin' and 'white,' which don't exactly convey a suit of armour around his home.

Harkening back to the first chapter, which included many an instance where Bateman and his fellow Wall Street-ites were caught losing their train of thought at the sight of their own reflection, I think that Bateman will use his apartment as a sort of stage for his indulgences, whatever they may be. Who knows?

Throughout the chapter, the abundance of the colour white became very apparent to me. Within literature, the colour white connotes purity, cleanliness, and new avenues. However, as is common so far in this book, the presence of an aspect so innocuous as the colour white can have eerie undertones of a psychotic nature when it is used in extreme excess. It almost seems like overcompensation for a desire to come across as normal or conventional. See also the awkwardly placed reference to MTV being on Bateman's TV. A symbol for the pop-culture of the time being placed on his 'chaise lounge' almost seems like a desperate attempt to be seen as 'with the times'.

The chapter continues on this thoroughly descriptive pathway until its dying moments, when Bateman's attention is drawn to The Patty Winters Show which is playing on his TV. This particular episode is about 'women with multiple personalities.' In comparison to the primary themes of this chapter, this seems like an odd inclusion. Nothing in this book is by accident and I think a theme as important to a narrative as multiple personality disorder is bound to be brought up again. Some individual quotes from the show's guests are picked out such as, "Multiple personalities are not schizophrenics," and, "We are not dangerous."

I think it is odd that a chapter that contains no intimacy between character and reader takes the time out to touch upon a topic that can thoroughly change the dynamic between the two. Ellis is throwing us the idea that Bateman may suffer from either multiple personality disorder or schizophrenia by doing this. Ellis does this by flooding our heads with seemingly empty information and all of a sudden giving us this heavy topic out of nowhere. I think that this very small nod has drastically changed readers' view of Patrick Bateman.

I think it's fucking genius.

book reviews
Sam Cheesman
Sam Cheesman
Read next: Run Necromancer
Sam Cheesman

First year university student.

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