Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Scent and Hatred in the novel Perfume 12th Grade

Scent and hatred in the novel Perfume
Everyone has characteristics that define or individualize them. Without these characteristics, it becomes difficult for one to be considered unique. The novel Perfume, by Patrick Suskind, presents a character, Grenouille, who is distinctive, yet conflicted with his individuality, or identity. For Grenouille, life experiences are defined by what he observes through scent, and the actions he takes are based on interpretation of scents. Given the notion that scent acts as Grenouille’s lens, much as we use sight to interpret our world, it follows that scent also represents an individual or identity. In essence, the function of scent has given rise to the theme of identity in the novel, which has in turn given scent symbolic meaning. This interplay between theme and symbol not only drives the plot forward but also enlightens Grenouille’s understanding of his world. However, Grenouille’s understanding of himself and the world at the end of the novel lead to his disdain for the human race, and ultimately his suicide. Patrick Suskind incorporates the concept of scent in Perfume not only to serve as a means for Grenouille to interpret the world, but also as a symbol that intensifies Grenouille’s...

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