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In proposing that the use of violence as allegory in Bret Easton Ellis’s American Psycho is warranted, this essay challenges a popular reading of the text, one found in many critical articles, that proposes otherwise. Specifically, this essay will break the novel’s cast into three factions, with each faction having a biologically definable origin: representations of the past, representations of the present, and representation of an ambiguous territory in between. Jean serves to depict a time when people communicated on a level beyond that which is comprehensible to most Generation Xrs. She has been transplanted into the novel’s present from the past, to serve as a scientific control. Patrick’s colleagues and Wall Street competitors depict the novel’s present. They are fully evolved, fully invested in their contemporary capitalistic endeavors. Patrick exists as a mutant, stuck between generations. He retains vestiges of the past, alongside his otherwise insatiable desire for capitalistic success. It is his uncomfortable position that causes Patrick’s angst, and his murderous tendencies.


Russell Allen

ENG 502

Dr. Courtney Wooten

30 Nov. 2014



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