Perfume: Birth and death
The most common occurrence of death in the novel is people that interact with Grenouille for an extended period of time. This can be seen as Grenouille becoming a bringer or agent of death, it can be seen with his mother, Madame Gaillard, Grimal, Baldini, Marquis and Druot. All these people mistreat Grenouille and all have cruel personalised deaths. Grenouille never intentionally hurts any of these people but it can be said that he did not have the best feelings towards any of them. However this bringer of death title is seen “This was the year 1799. Thank god Madame suspected nothing of the fate awaiting her as she walked home that day in 1746”₁, almost implying that Grenouille was related to her death and he was somehow responsible for it. Grimals death also has hints of being Grenouilles fault, “As he passed Pont Au Change, soundlessly, without bumping against the bridge piers, sixty feet directly overhead Jean-Baptiste Grenouille was going to bed”₂.
The death of the characters can be seen as quite cruel and sadistic which seems to run along with the tone of the book, but Grenouille never has the intention to harm others or hurt only ever to gain scent. “He, in turn, did not look at her, did not see her delicate, freckled face, her red lips, her large green sparkling eyes, keeping his eyes closed tight as he strangled her, for he had only one concern – not to lose the least trace of her scent”₃. However this amoral approach can be seen as a defence for himself, by removing himself of regular human feelings at this point it shields him from realising the atrocities of his actions. Grenouille seems to have no bearing over the concept of life and death, the only time the reader sees Grenouille care about life and death is when he realises that scents have a life span, upon realising this he has somewhat of a breakdown.
Birth is not a large part of the novel, however it is a very important because it discusses Grenouille’s frame of...
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