American Psycho

Abject Addictions: A Neoliberal Nightmare in American Psycho and Trainspotting College

Consumerist culture of the latter half of the twentieth-century has had profound impacts on the mental and spiritual well being of the world population, and a lack of such moral grounding rears its head in the shape of excessive consumption. The texts American Psycho and Trainspotting highlight the ways in which we celebrate and even idolize the human qualities that eventually lead to violence and degradation of selfhood. The protagonists of American Psycho and Trainspotting, Patrick Bateman and Mark Renton are the anti-heroes exemplifying the shift of degraded cultural values and the consequences of such moral failings. The protagonists reflect the extreme end of the value spectrum in their usage of drugs and in enacting violence upon others. In this way they represent a warped Bildungsroman characterized by a value system upheld by cultural system reliant on capitalism and greed.

M. H. Abrams defines the Bildungsroman as “the development of the protagonist’s mind and character, in the passage from childhood through varied experiences - and often through a spiritual crisis - into maturity, which usually involves recognition of one’s identity and role in the world” (Adatiya 48). By this definition, Bateman and Renton can be...

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