The Perfume: Choice to Live and Choice to Die by the Protagonist

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English Literature – Reflective Statement
Work studied: The Perfume by Patrick Suskind.
Interactive Oral: Debate
How was your understanding of cultural and contextual considerations of the work developed through the interactive oral? The choice to live and choice to die by Grenouille is debated to be best represented by the literary device of setting rather than plot. During the debate, the psychological state of mind and cultural setting of the text was clearly justified through the role of author’s craft as an approach to highlight the protagonist’s choices within the context. The societal hierarchy that exists in 18th century France provides a setting for the development of plot, both devices in which Suskind uses to develop the characterization of Grenouille. Prior to this, both devices complement and influence the choice to live and choice to die of the protagonist. Irony is used as a technique in developing Grenouille’s character as Suskind portrays a scent-conscious society in the foul-smelling 18th century France. Suskind’s efforts to develop character is shown in the form of author’s craft as the protagonist is portrayed as a person who does not belong, or one seen as an individual ‘detached’ from the society. Grenouille appears as an alienated individual, physically and emotionally, from the sociocultural setting as he is characterized to have possessed no scent. Here, Suskind establishes symbolism in which scent represents identity. Thus, the ideals and customs of the society has no worth to him and he sets off to accomplish his purpose which is debated to not symbolize higher ideals in human existence. Foreshadowing is also shown when Grenouille hints he could not possibly survive again if he were to encounter ‘the fog’ once more, which symbolizes his lack of identity. Once again, Suskind comes into the picture by using the psychological state of mind to develop the theme of identity. Through this metaphorical setting, Grenouile’s lack of scent...
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