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AMERICAN PSYCHO In such a world art becomes the remaining link to the unknown In his satirical novel American Psycho Bret Easton Ellis provides the framework for his readers moralise on a level unobtainable through traditional narrative Through his protagonist Patrick Bateman the author parodies 80s America to a point beyond comfort concerned more with cultural exploration and exaggeration than moral positioning Bateman takes us to a heightened moral and emotional void decaying with indifference Violence is entertainment rather than reality and sex is a process of consumption and material exchange Our insight into every aspect of Batemans shallow world provides the ultimate voyeuristic viewpoint for a society unable to see itself yet in the nature of satire Ellis never condemns it He forces not only his readers but those involved in the censorship debate over the novel to question their own values When asked what shocks him the most Ellis replies the mediocrity of the culture - of popular culture and peoples blind acceptance of it This is exactly what Ellis explores in American Psycho though not at a level that is comfortable for the reader The role of the satirist is to parody its subject therefore exaggeration is the key to the style Accordingly Patrick Bateman is painted as the personification of societys values contradictions and attitudes He is a disturbingly shallow character living in world where people can only consume When he hires a prostitute he explains I dont know her real name I havent asked but I told her to respond only when I call her Christie Bateman feels that his money gives him the power to possess and use anything or anyone as he wants even if it means skinning them alive His voice often reads like a fashion or music magazine and a conversation about Evian water can go on for pages Ellis himself concedes the novel is in many ways an unendurable book A lot
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