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In Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" and in Patrick Suskind's "The Perfume", the main characters cease to agree with any of the above notions. It is in the psyche of one's mind to require some sort of motivation in order to progress

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ISU Comparison Essay "The Perfume" vs. "The Blind Assassin" By Rimma Teper What is the ultimate purpose of a human life? When such a controversial question is presented, tens upon hundreds of ideas and answers arise. One may argue a materialistic approach in which merely the acquisition of tangible possessions builds the foundations for a response to the given question. Another may insist that the answer is simply 'for the continuation of humanity'. And finally, a commonly heard statement can serve as a reply; 'to make a difference'. In Margaret Atwood's "The Blind Assassin" and in Patrick Suskind's "The Perfume", the main characters cease to agree with any of the above notions. It is in the psyche of one's mind to require some sort of motivation in order to progress and develop. Whether it be a loved one, a short or a long-term goal, the concept remains uniform. Both Laura Chase and Jean Baptiste Grenouille are driven by a single undying passion. For Laura, it is her first and only love, Alex Thomas. For Jean Baptiste Grenouille, it is his heightened sense, smell. Both Laura and Grenouille's every action is somehow motivated by their passion, and this goes hand in hand with the fact that behind every goal, a passion lies. While Laura waits her whole life to be with Alex Thomas, Grenouille works his entire life to create the perfect perfume. ...read more.


[pg. 128]. He fantasizes of a castle with millions of smells during his isolated years on the mountain. The few similarities of Grenouille and Laura's characters are noteworthy, but it is only on the surface that these two individuals appear alike. "Never judge a book by its cover." When primarily analyzed, Laura Chase and Jean Baptiste Grenouille appear to share a similar mentality, as well as personality. Their passion driven nature as well as their wistful mind frame allows a correspondence to be seen between the two characters. As the plot of both "The Perfume" and "The Blind Assassin" unravels however, it becomes seemingly clear that Laura and Grenouille are almost as contrasting as black and white. It is perhaps Laura's innocence and Grenouille's wickedness that is at the root of this contrast. Throughout "The Blind Assassin", Laura is presented as a naive character that almost lives in a world of her own. This is vividly displayed in terms of her love for Alex. Though she has virtually nothing to base her assumptions upon, she genuinely believes that Alex returns her feelings. In reality however, he was engaged in a love affair with her very own sister. "..."She's a great kid, but I'm not a baby snatcher," said Alex." [Atwood 212]. Laura leaves everything up to fate. She is not persistent, nor is she completely determined. It can even be said that she waits for life to come to her. ...read more.


It is at this moment that Laura's entire world collapses to pieces. "Lord knows what she saw. A sinking ship, a city in flames, a knife in the back." [Atwood 488]. This alone, kills Laura. It kills her soul, her heart and any other inch of life within her. She sees no reason to continue living at all, since her fantasy of Alex Thomas was what fueled life itself all along. Unlike in the case of Grenouille, Laura feels she is ready to die because she now knows that she will never live her dream, nor attain her deepest desire. Grenouille is ready to end his life because he already has. Aspiration and passion are essential aspects in one's life. Both Laura Chase and Jean Baptiste Grenouille are extreme examples of individuals run by primarily those two notions. In this sense, Laura and Grenouille appear to share a similar mentality. Their obsessive ways allow for a great deal of comparison. This conclusion however, is merely skin deep. When Laura's innocence radiates as Grenouille's orchestrated evilness haunts the reader, the true diverse nature of both characters becomes too clear. While Laura leaves her life in the hands of God, Grenouille takes control of his life in every aspect. Though both Jean Baptiste Grenouille and Laura Chase are passion driven, their techniques of achieving their goals differ to an extent that results in Grenouille's ultimate fulfillment, but in Laura's complete downfall. However evil and unpleasant Jean Baptiste Grenouille may be, he teaches the reader to live each day is if it were the last. ...read more.

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