Alienation In Perfume

1344 Words 6 Pages
Patrick Suskind’s novel Perfume: The Story of a Murdered tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, a man gifted with a divine sense of smell, but no bodily odor of himself. The novel explores his sense of smell and how it connects to the emotional meaning they may carry. Conflict is one repeating incident that can be seen all throughout Suskind’s novel Perfume. Suskind portrays Grenouille’s relationship with others to state that the existence of one’s personal identity depends on whether they have a body scent or not. Through the use of various literary devices, Suskind manages to depict the theme of alienation in the novel Perfume, by distancing Grenouille from the rest of the society.
Suskind connects the lack of scent to the lack of
…show more content…
In Suskind’s point of view, “Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will. The persuasive power of an odor cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it.” (pg 34) A person unwittingly breathes in odors of other people, which creates a mental image of them and moreover a judgment towards their character. Grenouille however did not have a scent of his own, which differentiated him from the rest of the society as no one could sense his emotions or character. This quote shows Grenouille’s isolation and supports the theme of alienation. Throughout the novel, Suskind portrayed hatred towards Grenouille through the eyes of the society, “They could not stand the non-smell of him, they were afraid of him.” (pg 11). The whole society treated Grenouille as an outcast. People “..wanted to get rid of the thing as quickly as possible…” (17) His presence scared them and he was not accepted by any group because of the lack of scent. “He [was] possessed by the devil…He [didn’t] smell at all.” (pg 5) Through the use of …show more content…
While amongst the humans, "even the most delicate odors came sharp and caustic into a nose unaccustomed into the world." (pg 52) The sense of smell, which had been an asset for Grenouille’s human perception disagreed with the “world” Grenouille was in, which shows in stark clarity that this “world” was one where he never belonged and felt so himself since everyday of his birth. The absence of his self-odor gave him the feeling of not belonging. This reinforced Suskind’s notion of Grenouille’s alienation from the society. This led Grenouille to look for and live “inside the loneliest mountain in France- (pg 48), “a hundred and fifty feet below the earth” (pg 48), which only made him feel safe and secure. He felt as if “his heart was a purple castle” (127), where he thought of himself to be King of the world. Suskind uses the castle to symbolize the rightness Grenouille felt in the cave, as if he was no longer in need of anything else in life. In accordance to that, the imagery of the purple color evokes the sense of serenity and calmness, which shows Grenouille’s satisfaction. “life [had] nothing better to offer (Grenouille) than perpetual hibernation” (pg 25). It evokes a feeling as if he had come back to the land of awakening, where everyone could understand him, not as an animal, but as a human being. This

Related Documents