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Perfume Essay - Is Grenouille evil?

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Introduction

Q: Grenouille is introduced as one of the most gifted and abominable personages in an era that knew no lack of gifted and abominable personages. [p3] Does Suskind manage to make a sympathetic character, in spite of his murders and obsessions? Or do you find him wholly repellent? How might you explain Grenouille's actions? To what extent do his experiences shape his behaviour? Do you think he is inherently evil? In his novel Perfume, Suskind opens by painting Grenouille's picture as the poor, lonely orphan child but gradually and graphically turns him into a devilish character and a serial killer. It is the way that Suskind portrays Grenouille that can make readers find him inhuman, but there are plenty of aspects of Grenouille that are completely normal human characteristics. From the moment Grenouille is born, he is faced with neglect. Throughout the novel, Grenouille is searching for love in the only way he knows possible - by means of his nose. Grenouille is an abnormal person because of the way that he is brought up. This shapes his personal feelings and philosophy towards and against humans and humanity in general. Because pf Grenouille's irregular stance towards humankind, his ability of being able to use his nose to decipher smells and make succulent perfumes is misinterpreted by civilization in general. Grenouille is not purposefully evil, but his actions are regarded by humankind as certainly considered evil. ...read more.

Middle

He is not inherently evil, but Suskind makes him seem so. At Madame Gaillard's, he discovers his ability to smell, and the power that comes with it. Suskind expresses Grenouille as a tick, "stubborn, sullen and loathsome, huddles there and lives and waits." [p23] Suskind makes it appear that Grenouille is waiting for his prey to appear - he is that much of a loner. At the tanner's Grimal, he is exploited like an animal but survives. He has an uncanny knack for surviving. Suskind's subtle comments like "After one year of an existence more animal than human," [p33] continue to give a bad impression of Grenouille. When he is at Baldini's, Suskind again uses shrewd language to describe Grenouille. "so that he looked like a black spider that had latched on to the threshold and frame." The black spider, like the tick, represents Grenouille's lowliness in human society, in the eyes of Suskind. When Grenouille descents into the cave, away from humanity, Suskind's use of religious irony takes Grenouille to another level that is above humanity. However, when Grenouille becomes a mass murderer, killing twenty-five virgin girls for their scent, Suskind does not treat Grenouille as evil. This is because what Grenouille is now doing is considered wrong and evil by humankind in general. Grenouille's behaviour here is evil, but for the majority of the novel is not. ...read more.

Conclusion

Because no one has taught him the concepts of love for yourself and love for others, he acts in the only way he knows and has taught himself - through the use of his nose and smell. When he discovers that he himself has no smell, he tries to artificially replace the love of others upon himself, but realises that is not what he wants. He discovers that he can control other people's love through him through his power of scent and uses it to influence mankind. His experiences right the way through the novel shape that he becomes and what he does dramatically. In conclusion, there are many aspects of Grenouille's life that Suskind portrays in an evil light, but others where Grenouille learns who he is as a person and how his actions have direct results on other people and how he can uses these consequences to his advantage. It is this philosophy and his own personal ability to use his nose to smell out pure young girls and kill them so he possesses them himself. Suskind's ability to deliver amounts of sympathy towards Grenouille by the reader however does not override his interpretation of Grenouille as an evil person. Grenouille's life does also take a course that is considered evil by the majority of humans, but it is his disregarded upbringing that created the monster that he became. Word Count: 1367 ?? ?? ?? ?? Perfume Essay Perfume Essay By Stuart Hinchliffe 30/07/07 Year 11 IB English Page 1/3 ...read more.

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