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Money Makes the World Go Around

Essay by   •  April 2, 2018  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,420 Words (6 Pages)  •  269 Views

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“Money makes the world go around” is a well known saying; but is this assertion merely telling us what’s wrong with the world? For as long as our knowledge of time reaches, the success and importance of a human being is measured in things, property and money. Almost everyone on this earth is driven by the possibility of gaining money; and why wouldn't they? without them we die. On one hand we got the people who do not possess large quantities of money. For these people, it’s a never ending circle of gain and consumption, because once they gain it they are forced to use at least some of it to live, eventually leaving them back where they started. On the other hand we got the people who have so much money, that they don’t even think twice before using it. Not even these people, are free from the greed money leads to. They are consumed by consumption and materialism. Why is that, one might ask? According to “Psychology today” it is suggested that people who live in more affluent areas, are vulnerable to a social comparison of wealth. They see other people spend money, and they feel a need to live up to this.

This might indeed be the case in the life of Patrick Bateman, a serial killer, Manhattan businessman, main character and narrator in the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis, “American Psycho”. The story is set in Manhattan during the Wall Street boom of the late 1980’s. During this time business has taken over, causing the United states to focus more on themselves and greed. Furthermore the United states has become an indifferent, and uncaring society. Every single person in this novel possess narcissistic traits, and are highly self-involved unpleasant people. This self-involved behaviour is very easy to spot in the novel, since no one pays attention to anything Patrick Bateman says, not even when he tells them about the murders he have committed. He is even mistaken for someone else, several times throughout the novel. One of Bateman’s colleagues, Paul Owen, is described as a close representation of Bateman, as both of them have similar tastes in music, clothes, and when Owen is introduced for the first time, Bateman jokingly says that they even go to the same barber. Even Bateman’s girlfriend Evelyn, possess the same kind of selfish behaviour as the rest of the world. Near the end of the novel, Bateman tells Evelyn about the murders and about his urges to brutally murder people, yet she ignores it and is focused on her friends entering the restaurant. The novel portrays the indifference to others, that a lot of Americans have, therefore given the title “American psycho”.

As mentioned before the story is told in first person, by the main character Patrick Bateman. Bateman describes his daily life, through a present tense stream-of-consciousness narrative. Even though Bateman is the narrator, many things throughout the novel suggests the that he is in fact an unreliable narrator. Many characters are consistently presented, as other people than who they are. Furthermore the “figuring out the identities of others” is often a conversation subject for Bateman and his colleagues, when they are at parties or at a restaurant. Is it build up by the Hollywood model due to its long build up, climax and then resolution.

In the novel Patrick Bateman talks about depersonalization. He says that he has all the physical characteristics of a human being, but that his depersonalization is so deep and intense, that his ability to feel compassion has been eradicated. He is merely walking around imitating reality, and a human being with only a dim corner of his mind functioning. Bateman is born rich and works in his father's company. Every time Bateman is in his office at work, he does not talk about doing anything work related; as a matter of fact you never hear him talk about actually doing any work in this period of time we follow him. Is Batemans feeling of depersonalization caused by the fact that he has no characteristics OTHER than “his” money? You never really hear anything about Bateman's character traits, other than the ones surrounding his appearance. What do we really know about Bateman? Who is he? The things we DO know, is that he is the typical image of a high society American. He is greedy, selfish and vicious, and exploits people when he gets the chance. Throughout the story, we hear Bateman examining the people he meet; not by their personality or by actually talking to them, he judges them based on the clothes they wear. He does not try to understand people, instead he thinks he has them all figured out based on consumerism. He can't even remember his “friends” faces and names, which he admits to several times throughout this novel. These character traits does not really separate him, from the rest of the egocentric business men in this environment. We hear the daily life of THE Patrick Bateman, but is he merely a replication of how every American was in this exact period of time?

“You’re a dead man, Abdullah,” I repeat, no joke. “Count on it.”

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