Extract Analysis: “Perfume”

The extract is that I will be analyzing is taken from the novel “Perfume” written by Patrick Suskind in 1985. The story is set in France in the 18th century a few years before the French revolution. The extract is situated in the second part of the novel (middle of the book). The main character “Grenouille” has just reach the peak of a mountain furthest away from all human beings. The air cleaned of any human odors launches Grenouille in a state of jubilation and he departs for a psyched trip where he gets free of all odors that reminded him of his tormented pass and merrily becomes ruler of all odors. Structured into ten paragraphs, the extract is essentially divided in three fundamental parts where Grenouille progressively evolutes. Those are: the liberation of Grenouille’s past odors, the metamorphosis into an almighty emperor of nature, and lastly the dictator of life. Suskind’s style creates in this character build up creates prodigious and strong images making this extract a magnificent piece of literature.

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In order to free himself those past smells, Grenouille first had to assemble them. The hate that Grenouille has towards them is shown in the way the odors are described. The use of adjectives like “steaming vapors”, “hot maternal sweat” or “oppressive heat” creates this sense of heat. This refers to the fires of hell, accentuating how torturous these smells were for Grenouille. Suskind also makes use of alliteration in this first part:

“Madame Gaillard’s bedroom; the bone-dry, leathery bouquet of her hands; the vinegary breath of father Terrier” Line 6

“The hysterical, hot…” “Line 7

These alliterations help ...

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