Books and Movies Reviews

Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer

Perfume: The Story Of A Murderer, written by Patrick Süskind, is a novel based in 18th century France that explores the concept that olfactory sense as sovereign over any other factor of life, and is the channel towards supremacy. The protagonist, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, possesses a superhuman olfactory sense, and goes through life gradually obtaining power via this medium. As such, he is discriminated from the remainder of humanity in the novel; this separation is heavily represented by religious and spiritual allusions. Süskind realizes the prevalence of Catholicism in the time setting he selected, and allows this to be relevant to the novel. In effect, the use of religious and spiritual imagery allows the reader to register Grenouille's differentiation from humanity, in terms of both power, and lack thereof. Such is accomplished via direct parallels between religion and scent, references to Christianity, particularly Satan, and a vast series of other spiritual beliefs.
Süskind creates a composite in the novel as he allows spiritual and religious imagery to portray scent as sovereign, allowing the power of olfactory sense to be likened to Catholicism. Immense emphasis is put on the olfactory sense,'He who ruled scent ruled the hearts of men' (page 155); such statements in the novel esteem Grenouille, as the reader is aware of his impeccable olfactory sense. Scent and religion are tied in the novel; in 18th century France, Catholicism was prevalent, and while nearly all characters in the novel believe in the power of God, the real power lies within scent,'Odors have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions, or will' (page 88), this statement is further enhanced with,'He [Grenouille] possessed the power. He held it in his hand. A power stronger than the power of money or the power of terror or the power of death: the invincible power to command the…


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