In this section we will discuss in detail the main themes of the novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind. The novel relies heavily on impressions caused by the sense of smell, as the main character’s actions are influenced by his own relationship with smell. His sense of smell is heightened, but he does not have a smell of his own. This seems to affect his ability to connect with other people and leads to his isolation. We also explore the theme of identity which, in the case of Grenouille, is also linked to his relationship with smell and his criminal tendencies.
Finally, we will look at power and attraction. Grenouille manages to obtain power over others by creating his superhuman perfume. This leads him to influence those around him and to make them attracted to him. This attraction will be taken to the extreme at the end of the novel.…
The novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Süskind centers around the main character’s relationship with the sense of smell. This is seen especially from chapters 24 to 29, during Jean-Baptiste Grenouille's time in the Plomb du Cantal cave. The time Grenouille spends in the cave is of central importance for the rest of the novel. In this cave, the main character experiences the decisive moment when he realizes that he has no smell of his own.
We are given a nearly date of the arrival at the mountain: "one August night in the year 1756" (Part 2, 6%). The mention of the exact month and year can be read as a foreshadowing of an important, perhaps even decisive, experience in Grenouille's life. Thus, the arrival at the mountain is placed in a series with other historical events, which are also highlighted in the novel by almost precise dates.
The area in which the mountain is located is described in detail: "And by night, by the bleaching light of the moon, it was such a godforsaken wilderness that it seemed not of this world. " (Part 2, 6%). Grenouille can no longer smell anything human in the place. He is happy about this and relieved.
The main character has arrived in the cave "at the end of a tunnel" (Part 2, 35%). This is in contrast to a common description of seeking the way out of a tunnel or wanting to see "the light at the end of the tunnel".
Grenouille himself does not seek any light. His aim is actually the darkness and isolation of the cave: "Grenouille was at his goal. And at the same time he was taken captive" (Part 2, 6%).
The cave in the mountain becomes a place that moves outside of time and space. Grenouille disappears into an empty, timeless space: "[...] for naturally there was no afternoon or forenoon or evening or morning, there was neither light nor darkness, nor were there spring meadows nor green beech leaves... there were no real things at all [...]." (Part 2, 18%)
The main character creates his own world i…