Patrick Bateman

From Academic Kids

Patrick Bateman is a fictional character, the protagonist of the novel American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis.

Bateman works at the Wall Street firm of Pierce & Pierce (also Sherman McCoy's firm in The Bonfire of the Vanities) and lives on the Upper West Side in the American Gardens Building (where Tom Cruise also lives). At first appearance, Bateman is a handsome, well-groomed, and intelligent young man. He is also a serial killer who murders a variety of people, from colleague(s) to several prostitutes. His methods of killing, including torture murder and cannibalism, are described in graphic detail in the novel.

Bateman comes from a wealthy family. His parents have a home on Long Island, and he mentions a summer home in Newport. His mother now resides at a sanitarium. His father grew up on an estate in Connecticut, and now owns an apartment in a New York Hotel. His younger brother is Sean, who attended Camden College. Bateman graduated from Harvard in 1984.

When not nightclubbing or eating at trendy restaurants, Bateman watches The Patty Winters Show or listens to music, usually pop and pop-rock. His favorite musical group is Talking Heads, but Bateman discusses at length Genesis, Huey Lewis & the News, and Whitney Houston. He also listens to jazz (Dizzy Gillespie and Bix Beiderbecke) but loathes rap, which he derides as "too niggerish" (he is not only shallow, but also virulently racist, misogynist, antisemitic and homophobic.) </p>.

Bateman made his first appearance in Ellis' episodic 1987 novel The Rules of Attraction (in which Sean, his brother, is the main character.) No indication is given that he is a serial killer. Bateman also appears in Ellis's 1998 novel Glamorama.

As written by Ellis, Bateman is the ultimate stereotype of yuppie greed: rich, shallow, and mindlessly acquisitive. All of his friends look alike to him (to the point that he often confuses one for another) but he obsessively details every single feature of his clothes, stereo, car, and workout routine. He is engaged to an equally rich, shallow woman named Evelyn. They can't stand each other, but stay together for the sake of their social lives. He has a mistress on the side (the fiancee of a colleague he hates) and has regular liaisons with prostitutes, many of whom end up being his victims. The one woman in his life he has anything approaching feelings for is his secretary, Jean, whom he just can't bring himself to seduce and/or kill.

Bateman does not fit the "typical" profile of a serial killer, as he kills more or less indiscriminately, with no preferred type of victim to prey on; throughout the novel, he kills men, women, and one child. He kills women mostly for sadistic sexual pleasure, often during or just after sex, and is also a prolific rapist. He kills men because they anger or annoy him, and the child just to see if he would enjoy it (which he didn't.)

Periodically, he matter-of-factly confesses his crimes to his friends, coworkers, and even complete strangers ("I like to dissect girls—do you know I'm utterly insane?") just to see if they're actually listening to him. They either aren't, or think he's joking.

Bateman talks about killing with the same emotionless, clinical detail he applies to his clothes, apartment, friends, and record collection; he seems to be incapable of any real emotion save that of homicidal rage. In his own words: "I am simply not there." Toward the end of the novel, not even killing can arouse feeling in him.

Bateman was never arrested or even suspected of the enormous number of murders he committed.

Bateman in Film

The best-known portrayal of Bateman is Christian Bale's in Mary Harron's 2000 film adaptation. However, Bateman was also portrayed by Dechen Thurman (brother of Uma) in the 2000 documentary This Is Not an Exit: The Fictional World of Bret Easton Ellis. Michael Kremko played Bateman in the opening scene of American Psycho 2: All American Girl, the 2002 direct-to-video sequel to American Psycho. In AP2, Bateman was promptly killed by the young girl who saw him kill her babysitter, who took her along to his apartment in an attempt to apprehend him.

Chronology of Bateman's Life

ca. 1962: Patrick Bateman born (deduced from a passage in American Psycho where Patrick tells the detective Donald Kimball that he and Paul Owen were both seven in 1969).

1980: Bateman graduates from Exeter Preparatory school.

1984: Bateman graduates from Harvard University.

1986: Bateman graduated from Harvard Business School.

From the time of his graduation, through the end of American Psycho, Bateman works at Pierce & Pierce.

ca. 1996: Bateman shows up at Victor's club in Glamorama.

ca. 1996: Bateman is killed (only in American Psycho 2), deduced from the following. The movie is set in the present (i.e., 2001/2002), and its protagonist, an eighteen-year-old student, killed Bateman when she was twelve, forever changing her life; she herself becomes a serial killer. This may not be considered canon as it was not written by Ellis.


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