Comparison – Rendezvous and American Psycho Essay
Comparison – Rendezvous and American Psycho
Rendezvous and American Psycho both have an antihero – a narcissistic psychopath, but do they at all have more in common? And are the two antiheroes comparable? American Psycho is a psychological thriller with satire, black comedy and horror. Rendezvous is a psychological short story. The American Psycho takes place in New York in the mid-eighties. Patrick Bateman is the main character, a young, good looking man who works at an investment firm called Pierce and Pierce. He spends his leisure time among his extremely wealthy friends and colleagues from the yuppie class.
In the yuppie culture, which started under the boom in the eighties, the stereotype is a greedy antithetical well-paid man in the financial sector with a conspicuous personal consumption. A stereotype which could as well be a description of Patrick Bateman. He is successful, rich and engaged, seemingly a good life. He eats at the right places, wears the right designer clothes, drinks the right drinks and listens to the right pop music on the right stereo. But Payton is simply empty, he does not have a self.
In his search for identity and need for social integration in the yuppie class he get obsessed with the images narrated incessantly by pop music, advertising, movies and the television. He tries to find his identity through consumer products, or more the product narratives. In his battle for identity his self becomes commercial, his whole identity and conception of reality gets composed by mass medias narratives – I consume, therefore I am. He believes in the rewards implicitly promised in advertising and he has undertaken from his culture the belief that consumption somehow will satisfy him.
But Bateman does not feel the satisfaction, and the rewards are never as promised. Therefore Bateman has to get the satisfaction otherwise, which results in him killing and torturing people – from prostitutes and homeless to models and colleagues. Even when he murders, he have to find his identity elsewhere. When he murders his colleague, Paul Allen, he find inspiration in axe-murders. Afterwards he uses Paul Allens name to commit crimes – he tortures i. a. Christie and Sabrina in Pauls apartment. He also adopts identity from the chainsaw-massacre in one of his murders.
It is possible that the murders also are the result of attempts to live his life after cinematic ideals, because he as mentioned builds his identity of narratives, among the cinema. The murders does not seem to have any rational reason – he is neither advantaged nor protected by them. Bateman is best characterized as immoral, extremely narcissistic and, as he says himself in the monologue at the start, greedy. A funny detail which underline Batemans narcissism is that he have reflective surfaces all over his house, for instance his kitchen, made in high-reflective materials, and the big mirrors in his bedroom.
Many times through the movie Bateman is asked about his line of work. “I’m into, uh, murders and executions, mostly. ” At last he confesses all his murders on his lawyers answering machine. When Bateman next day confronts him with it, he thinks it is a joke but with “…one fatal flaw. Bateman is such a dork. Such a boring, spineless lightweight. Now, if you’d said Bryce…” and when Bateman tries to convince him he says that it cannot be true “because I had dinner with Paul Allen twice in London just ten days ago. ” It is a funny, equivocal statement. Everyone in his social circle looks like him.
No one listens to him, since everyone around him are just as empty and self-absorbed as him. Through the movie he becomes more insane and kills more and more people. At the end-monologue he confesses that “there are no more barriers to cross” He wants his pain to be inflicted on others, and even after admitting this he feels no catharsis. His confession has meant nothing. Bateman is not just a psycho – he is an American psycho. He is a consumer which does not feel satisfied by consuming and he builds his identity on impossible narratives by mass media and in his hunting for satisfaction and identity kills.
Bateman is actually a victim of narratives, he is in a state of chaos because “inside doesn? t matter”, the perception by others define ones identity and not the actual actions and thoughts. He is in a world of narratives where everything which cannot have a price mark is worthless – and he believes it, and form his identity subsequently. Bateman’s search for identity through consumer goods, does not make him more satisfied, his consumer lust transforms into bloodlust. Rendezvous have two main characters, Payton and Kim, it takes place on an interstate in USA.
Kim is a 15-year-old girl in tenth grade, doing a little youth rebellion – or the way she sees it, proving a point. She regrets a little that she is not at home, eating dinner, instead of being out in the cold, but tries to stay cool. At least she has a great story to tell her friends. She is almost a stereotypical runaway. Payton is selfish and have – as Patrick Bateman – some narcissistic traits. It is implicitly told that he has murdered five people ,“the priest wasn? t even sympathetic about him sending the flowers and visiting the funeral home, which he had done three out of five times after he d gone out on the Interstate.
We must assume that Payton have killed people, even though it is not definitely. The same applies to Bateman, where the clean apartment, his many drawings of murders, and the lawyer who says he had lunch in London ten days ago, may indicate that all the murders was Batemans fantasy. Since the story ends with the rendezvous between Payton and Kim, where Kim hitch a lift, opens a door and hears loud drums, we must suppose that the five killings Payton have committed are on hitchhikers.
Even though he does not seem to understand the priest, he have sense of guilt for his murders, but tries to entitle them or play them down. Payton properly hope to get some “indulgence” by sending the flowers and tell the priest – why else would he meet and tell the priest? When the priest says it is wrong and he should tell the police, he tries to convince himself that the priest is senseless and forget what the he have said, by speeding up. He has a cobra tattoo which tells us something about his personality, a cobra symbolizes something bad, sneaky and dangerous.
Maybe it could also symbolize temptation referring to Adam and Eve, where the snake coaxed Eve into sinning, which explains why he have killed several people. He is fixed at the outer assets, he have the two ultimate male status symbols, a Firebird and a Budweiser. The firebird is an expensive car with high status and self-promotion build in. His mood changes after the music, indicating that he is spontaneous and impulsive. Rendezvous and American Psycho have not much in common, except for the two narcissistic psychopathic antiheroes, Payton and Bateman.
Their murders have no rational reason and they both attach importance to the outer assets. Apart from that they do not have much in common. Payton is cynic, but Bateman even more and also clarified. I do not think Payton? s murders are a fight for identity. American Psycho handles some completely other subjects than Rendezvous. As I see it, the American Psycho questions the consumer mindset and the narratives in the mass media. I see no obvious subject in Rendezvous. It could be a search for excitement and new adventures, which both Payton and Kim does.