Here’s why Patrick Bateman doesn’t want to marry Evelyn Williams:
He doesn’t marry her because she exhibits a lot of his same character flaws when it comes to shallow materialism.
She is a constant reminder of all of the things he has come to hate about his life.
On top of that, Bateman is not a stable character, and marriage to anyone at all seems unlikely for him.
So if you want to learn all about why Patrick Bateman doesn’t want to marry Evelyn Williams, then this article is for you.
Let’s get right into it!
Who Is Patrick Bateman?
Patrick Bateman is the main character in American Psycho.
If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a movie that was released in 2000.
The movie was based on a book of the same name, and while the two are extremely similar, I’m going to focus on everything from the perspective of the movie today.
In the movie, Patrick Bateman is an investment banker.
He’s a power-suit kind of businessman, with a lot of money and big ego problems.
In short, he’s a yuppie.
If you aren’t familiar with that term, it’s because it went out of style by the end of the 80s.
In the 80s, “yuppie” was a word that was often used to describe young people with inordinate wealth.
Yuppie culture usually involved materialistic arms races, where everyone competed to have the most expensive stuff.
It was not a celebrated aspect of culture, and American Psycho is a book that was written specifically to criticize yuppie culture.
Patrick Bateman starts out as a stereotypical yuppie, and not a good person.
He goes on a journey where he tests the limits of his psyche, but before I can get into all of that, I need to issue a spoiler warning.
I can’t explain his relationship with Evelyn Williams unless I get into a lot of major plot points.
A Quick Breakdown of American Psycho
Ok. This is where we’ll cover most of the major spoilers, but these events will be referenced multiple times in the rest of the article.
You can’t talk about American Psycho without covering the gruesome murders and the twist ending.
Throughout the story, Bateman descends into madness.
At first, he kills a homeless man out of a fit of jealous rage.
He then kills the source of his envy.
As the movie progresses, he kills additional characters, racking up a body count of at least 10 along the way.
Many of the murders are absolutely nasty too.
The movie (inspired by the book) is trying to emphasize the brutality and callousness of Patrick Bateman.
He’s a remorseless killer.
But, as the movie progresses, we see subtle hints that some of the people Bateman killed (on screen, mind you) might actually still be alive.
In fact, there’s strong evidence that Allen (one of the early murder victims) is alive, well, and thriving on a business trip to Europe.
Other murders suddenly seem like they never actually happened, and as all of this is revealed, Bateman starts to doubt his own sanity.
By the end of the movie, it’s hard to tell if he has killed anyone.
At least some of the murders were entirely in his head, and this shows that he is losing his grip on reality.
This isn’t the case of a murder fantasy going too far in someone’s head.
Bateman genuinely believes that he murdered these people.
If he didn’t, it can only mean that he is so far removed from reality that he cannot tell what is real and what is not.
He’s either a brutal murderer or completely insane.
Or, he could be some combination of the two.
Who Is Evelyn Williams?
There’s another character that we have to discuss in order to talk about Bateman’s engagement.
Evelyn Williams is another prominent character in the story.
At the beginning of the movie, she and Bateman are engaged.
She’s an 80s socialite, and that almost describes her entire character.
It’s pretty clear that both she and Bateman are unhappy in their relationships, but she’s fine with sticking it out because Bateman is a source of status for her.
He’s a successful investment banker, and he has a lot of money.
She likes money and status.
She’ll stay with him despite his flaws because of her love of materialistic things.
In short, Evelyn is shallow.
She suffers from many of the same flaws as the rest of the characters in her social circle.
She might be engaged to a psycho, but she’s not entirely pitiable.
Why Doesn’t Patrick Bateman Want to Marry Evelyn Williams? (4 Reasons)
Even though Evelyn is a shallow character with overt character flaws, that alone doesn’t explain why Bateman chooses not to marry her.
By the end of the story, he does break off their engagement, but considering the convoluted state of mind that he experiences, we can’t chalk this up to any one thing.
There are a few contributing factors as to why he dumps Evelyn.
They include her character flaws, but his own issues are also part of the equation.
I’ll take you through all of the main points to make it clear as to why the two don’t get married.
#1 Evelyn William’s Flaws
American Psycho is not a story about standup citizens who are perfect role models for the masses.
It’s about bad people doing bad things, and the worst of them goes completely over the top with that badness.
Evelyn Williams is not a particularly wonderful and delightful person.
She fits right in with the yuppie crowd, indulging in excess and participating in plenty of bad behaviors.
In particular, she has character traits that would be a turn-off for many people.
She’s an incredibly vain character, which is right in line with the rest of the characters in the story.
She’s also obsessed with status, which largely explains her interest in Bateman.
According to Bateman, she’s also just not an interesting person.
All she has to offer is the vapid remarks of a socialite.
That might seem harsh, but remember that American Psycho is meant to be critical of certain elements of society.
Williams is a character meant to represent very flawed people in society.
Her values are supposed to be criticized, and in that light, it’s easy to see why anyone would choose not to marry her, even Patrick Bateman.
#2 Patrick Bateman’s Flaws
All of Evelyn’s flaws are problematic, but they aren’t necessarily what breaks the deal for Bateman.
After all, he is engaged to her despite knowing who she is.
What really breaks the deal is Bateman’s flaws, and there are a few ways to look at it.
For starters, he’s not exactly husband material.
We’ll talk about the literal psychosis a little later.
Before that, even the man he pretends to be isn’t exactly a good person.
He has a lot of the same flaws as Evelyn.
He’s just as vain and materialistic as she is.
And, that’s probably the bigger issue for him.
She’s a constant reminder of everything he doesn’t like about himself.
He’s every bit the same egotistical yuppie as the rest of the characters in the story, but he dislikes that about them.
And, when he has a chance to be honest, he dislikes that about himself too.
After all, whether he really kills people or not, he’s going through everything because he wants to be punished.
He doesn’t like who he is, and he sees no way out.
Marrying Evelyn would only reinforce everything that he hates in his own life.
#3 Patrick Bateman’s a Psychopath
Everything else aside, Patrick Bateman is a crazy person.
That’s not a generic insult.
He’s either a serial murderer or so separated from reality that he believes he murdered people who are still alive.
Neither of those are a good look.
That’s a really soft way to say it.
In simpler terms, Bateman is too dysfunctional to handle a marriage.
If he’s a killer, then he would inevitably kill his own wife, and he believes that about himself.
If he’s just delusional, then who knows if he was ever really engaged or not?
The problem with such a break from reality is that you really can’t make logical decisions anymore.
Regardless, Bateman realizes some things about himself as the story progresses.
From his own perspective, he breaks off the engagement because he really doesn’t like his fiance, but there’s an element of mercy in there.
As his grip on reality slips, it’s possible that he realizes he can’t possibly hold up his end of a marriage.
Or, he sees being married as a liability that he can’t afford.
There are a lot of possibilities, but one way or another, his psychosis is the real reason that they don’t get married.
He really can’t marry anyone, and that’s kind of the point.
And then there’s Jean.
Jean is Bateman’s secretary, and at some point along the way, he realizes that he actually does like her.
He respects her, probably more than anyone else in the story.
He also thinks that he might love her.
Whether or not he’s even capable of love is up for debate, but he certainly has softer feelings for Jean than anyone else.
Despite all of that, he very seriously considers murdering her.
You can see the problem.
Bateman would likely go through a similar thought process with anyone he seriously liked.
For all of the craziness, there seems to be a Jean vs Evelyn conflict somewhere in his deranged mind.
He realizes that he actually likes Jean and wants to be around her, and that’s a good reason not to marry someone else.
It’s hard to frame Bateman’s decisions as though he was a normal character.
He’s clearly not normal.
But, it’s fair to say that Jean’s presence in his life contributed to his decision to end his engagement to Evelyn.
Why Does Patrick Bateman Like Jean? (2 Things)
Arguably, Jean’s presence in Bateman’s life is a big part of why he breaks off his engagement.
Inarguably, he likes something about Jean.
Considering that he’s a crazy murderer (in his head at least), that leaves room for some questions.
How does someone like Bateman come to like a character like Jean?
What makes her so special to him?
Could he actually settle down with her?
The third question is easy to answer: no.
Near the end of the film, Jean finds Bateman’s drawings of brutal murders, and that is probably enough to destroy any attraction she might have felt for him.
As for the other questions, it all boils down to her character.
She’s a person of deeper substance than the other people in his life, and as we dig into this idea, it’s clear that Bateman is irresistibly drawn to her.
Whether or not that amounts to attraction or affection is hard to say.
But he certainly appreciates things about her.
#1 Jean’s Not Impressed With Patrick Bateman
One of the major sources of appeal is that Jean doesn’t buy into a lot of the materialistic culture that permeates the investment firm.
Bateman is used to people being impressed by his money and status, and Jean really isn’t.
Jean does care for Bateman, but she doesn’t swoon over the investment banking stuff.
She’s a lot more down to earth, and the simple fact that she doesn’t fawn over his status is probably enough to shock him into appreciating how different she is.
As the story develops, Jean clearly distinguishes herself as a character who is a cut above most of the others, and Bateman takes notice.
In a lot of ways, the story is about Bateman realizing that he doesn’t approve of the culture that surrounds him.
He’s trying to find a way to break from a lifestyle that he clearly finds repulsive, even though it inundates his entire life.
Jean represents a clear break from the things he has come to loathe.
If nothing else, he appreciates that about her, and it’s an appeal that he cannot deny.
That alone doesn’t fully explain why he didn’t marry Evelyn, but it’s definitely a contributing factor.
#2 Jean’s More Human
We can go even deeper into Jean’s character.
As the only real character in the story who is unimpressed with materialism, she comes across as much more human than everyone else in the story.
Several characters are obviously caricatures of 80s power businessmen and yuppie society.
They’re not meant to feel completely human.
In fact, there’s something inhuman about a lot of the characters in the story.
Meanwhile, Jean is a down-to-earth, somewhat normal human being.
It’s not just that she represents a break from everything Bateman has come to hate about his life.
In a lot of ways, she’s the only chance he really has at developing a real, deep, human connection with someone.
No one else in his life is capable of as much.
As messed up as he is, it’s hard to believe that he could do right by Jean and fully develop such a connection.
But, Bateman is clearly looking for something more in his life, and Jean is a representation of that.
Her humanity is almost the opposite of the violent spiral he has turned to in order to try to cope with his issues.
He can’t help but find her interesting at the least.