Essay on Olfactory Imagery in "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind

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Question: To what extent and how does Patrick Suskind develop Grenouille’s character with the utilisation of the different “scents”? Throughout the novel “Perfume”, Suskind has made sure that there is continual development of Grenouille’s character, and most of it is done with the incorporation of different scents. Not only is Grenouille as a character, developed through the concept of “scents”, the whole novel “Perfume” is too. Something that strikes the reader from a time to time basis is how the writer uses words and literary devices that lead the reader to believe that the sense of smell is the primary sensory organ for almost everything that can be “sensed” in the novel, starting from the different locations, to the different characters, to the different products etcetera. Even though there is a lot of “smell” in this novel, the way in which Grenouille comprehends these smells, or the way these “smells” pan out in his mind, is a lot more different to the way they pan out in average person’s head; also, the sheer way in which each of the vivid explanations for the aromas are put onto paper they have a huge impact on the mind of the reader. The literary devices that are used most commonly by Suskind are metaphors, the use of italics, and juxtaposition. The first few instances and the best few instances where we see the use or description of scents are when he is talking about different “locations”. The novel begins with a rather vivid description of 18th century France. Suskind compares the different odours often smelt in France to the odours we find the dirtiest now. For example, the odour of manure, urine, mouldering wood, rat droppings, spoiled cabbage, mutton fat, stale dust, greasy sheets, damp feather beds, and lastly the stench of sulphur from chimneys. All of these odours are rather common ones we can relate too, but they are all also the nastiest of the

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