Analysis

An analysis of the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind shows elements that are typical of a postmodern novel

The narrator in particular plays an important role in the postmodern novel. This is also the case in Süskind's novel. How the narrator appears and how the plot is presented is a relevant aspect of the novel, which we will discuss more thoroughly in the following pages. 

The unusual narrator, in particular, offers much potential for a more intense engagement with the text and is an example of experimental, postmodern storytelling. Thus, the narrator's articulate and clever language contrasts with the novel's main character, who has difficulty expressing himself. 

In addition, we will examine more closely the structure of the novel and the most important locations of th…

...

Structure

The novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind is divided into four parts of varying length and, judging by Grenouille's biographical data, covers the period from 1738 to 1767

The first part (chapters 1 to 22) examines Jean-Baptiste Grenouille's childhood. Here the characters who interact with Grenouille while he is growing up are introduced. The reader’s attention is constantly drawn to the fact that Grenouille’s sense of smell is apparently quite strong, although he does not seem to have a smell of his own. The text also offers hints of Grenouille’s odd behavior as well as his emotional detachment.

The second part (chapters 23 to 34) presents how the main character learns the craft of perfume making. The narrator draws attention to Grenouille’s fascination with smells and perfumes.

The third part (chapters 35 to 50) deals with Grenouille’s attempts to create a special perfume, as well as with the murders he performs in order to achieve his goal.

The fourth part (chapter 51) is the shortest and presents Grenouille’s death. This part can also be considered the novel’s climax.

The narrative is mainly linear and chronological. However, there are instances of foreshadowing especially in the life stories of the secondary characters: "[...] we shall take a few sentences to describe the end of her days." (Part 1, 24%), time jumps and time lapses: "And so it went, day in day out, week in week out, month in month out. So it went for seven long years."(Part 2, 35%).

There are also time stretches in the descriptions of the scent impressions: "The tiny wings of flesh around the two tiny holes in the child’s face swelled like a bud opening to bloom. Or rather, like the cups of that small meat-eating plant that was kept in the royal botanical gardens"(Part 1, 12%).…

The text shown above is just an extract. Only members can read the full content.

Get access to the full Study Guide.

As a member of PrimeStudyGuides.com, you get access to all of the content.

Sign up now

Already a member? Log in