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This extract of Perfume by Patrick Suskind written in first-person narration explores and captures the authors portrayal of the olfactory sense in eighteenth century France, where rests the foulest city of stench, Paris.

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Introduction

ENGLISH A1 HL COMMENTARY: Perfume by Patrick Suskind This extract of 'Perfume' by Patrick Suskind written in first-person narration explores and captures the author's portrayal of the olfactory sense in eighteenth century France, where rests the foulest city of stench, Paris. The diction, literary devices and on top of that, the use of revolting visual imagery to describe each particular unappealing smell encompassing not only human beings but also ordinary places in such explicit detail emphasizes the supremacy of each smell to the readers. The syntax of these descriptions is able to overwhelm readers with mixed feelings of appall and disgust but at the same time also awe and fascination. One thing interesting about this extract is the ironic bond between the title of the novel and the content this extract. The title of the novel 'Perfume' contradicts clearly with the repetition of the words "stink" and "stench". This is interesting because the contrast between "perfume" and "stench" is quite obvious. ...read more.

Middle

It is as though the food market is built atop to conceal the mess created under it; in the catacomb as remainders of bones and skulls are just "shoveled" without being organized properly. The stench of the people and places in Paris is reinforced by the juxtaposition of people and their place within the social hierarchy. A priest, who is usually seen as a respected public figure, "st(inks)" equally to a peasant, who is generally looked down upon based on their class in the social hierarchy. And later we also find out that the King himself stank, "like a rank lion" and the Queen of an "old goat". This reference to animals; the king as a lion which is known as the king of the jungle and the queen as a goat which is a seen as a milder, more tender animal highlights also the male supremacy amongst women in a gender hierarchy that exist within the patriarchal society. ...read more.

Conclusion

This and on top of that, the description of how people stink of "rotting teeth" from their mouths and "onions" from their bellies suggests to the readers that these people do not really take care of personal hygiene and do not maintain a proper eating diet. This shows a contrast to people nowadays as everyone tries to look presentable and has access to modern healthcare facilities to ensure that they keep up their good image and remain healthy. This extract takes the readers on a journey encompassing an olfactory world, revealing that there is so much more to ordinary human beings and common places than just what meets the eyes. This extract emphasizes the importance of smell surrounding us and conveys the message that no one can escape the power of stench as breathing is vital to each and every one of us to stay alive. This in turn tells us that the only way to survive is to repress the stench happening in our daily lives and just live with it because there is nothing we can do to destroy it. WORD COUNT: 1,004 words ...read more.

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