American Psycho: Obsession comes from the inability to accept oneself

Topics: Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho, Patrick Bateman Pages: 2 (917 words) Published: June 10, 2014
To be successful and functional members of society, we must always be evolving with its changes. But once we grow negligent towards other aspects of our lives, and focus on one only, negative effects inevitably follow. Obsession renders us dysfunctional citizens due to our inability to maintain balance in our lives, and to accept understand ourselves as we are. In the novel, American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis, Patrick Bateman, a Manhattan socialite, is a caricature by which the horrors of obsession are demonstrated. These fixations demonstrate that obsession comes from the inability to accept oneself. In the following paragraphs, we support our argument by considering the fixations of Bateman with physical beauty, success and jealousy, and murder and gore.

Bateman's fixation with physical beauty are clearly seen when he is engaged in bragging and putting his wealth on display for the audience and later, for emphasis, cleansing with expensive products. Bateman spends his days in indulgence of wealth; he snorts cocaine, goes to clubs, and feeds his addiction to expensive labels.

“I take the ice-pack mask off and use a deep-pore cleanser lotion, then an herb-mint facial masque… I use the Probright tooth polisher and next the Interplak tooth polisher… In the shower I use first a water-activated gel cleanser, then a honey-almond body scrub...I always use an aftershave lotion with little or alcohol, because alcohol dries your face out, and makes you look older." (26-27)

He is motivated by his need for physical beauty to spend hours of every day fulfilling extensive cosmetic and exercise rituals. He is very specific about his products, settling for no less than “a deep-pore cleanser lotion,” and “an herb-mint facial masque.” His routines are detailed carefully so as to avoid any damage to his beauty, such as using alcohol, which “dries your face out, and makes you look older.” This obsession is born from his insecurity about his physical...
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