Murders, Executions, and ‘Decapitated Iced Coffees’: The Black Humor of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho
Keywords:black humor, Bret Easton Ellis, American Psycho, 1980s
Bret Easton Ellis’s 1991 novel American Psycho satirizes 1980s American culture, showcasing the harmful results of selfishness and mass consumption. This controversial novel follows the life of Patrick Bateman, a murderous psychopathic yuppie obsessed with the latest trends. In one notable scene, Bateman removes a victim’s body parts from his freezer to cook for dinner, only to become frustrated when he realizes he does not even know how to cook. Ellis’s content and humor may not be appealing to all, but a point of black humor is to leave readers wondering how to respond. In American Psycho, Ellis uses black humor to heighten his views on the shallowness of the Reagan Era through the use of the grotesque, his deadpan narrator, and the disruption of conventional plot. With Bateman’s sarcastic tone, the reader is introduced to a merciless 80s Manhattan which lacks any sort of moral code.