Physical setting

“Killing Child at Zoo” by Bret Easton Ellis is an excerpt from Ellis’ novel American Psycho, which was published in 1991. The events in “Killing Child at Zoo” probably take place in the late 1980s or early 1990s, as indicated, for example, by the mention of Patrick returning videotapes and calling his answering machine to check his messages (p. 178, ll. 7-8).

The events happen over the course of one afternoon, but Patrick also mentions events from the previous days: “A string of days pass. During the nights I’ve been sleeping in twenty-minute intervals” (p. 178, ll. 1-2). He also mentions: “Last night, Jeanette asked me, ‘Patrick, why do you keep razor blades in your wallet?’ ” (p. 178, ll. 9-10). These details provide readers with context and insight into Patrick’s state of mind.

The chapter takes place in New York and spans various locations. Patrick has lunch at Alex Goes to Camp (p. 178, l. 4), a real restaurant on the Upper East Side, which is generally considered the wealthiest area of Manhattan. The location helps suggest that Patrick is financially well-off and that he enjoys fine dining. Patrick also mentions several New York landmarks and locations, such as Central Park (p. 178, l. 13), Fifth Avenue, the Trump Plaza, the AT&T building (p. 17...

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