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Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Transcript of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer
Castles: While in the cave, Grenouille spends his time in his "purple castle." The purple castle is a figment of his imagination that serves as a means for him to recall his favorite scents. Castles often symbolize a refuge as well, however, it also holds a fantasy aspect which foreshadows that the castle, like all fantasies, will reach timely demise. The fact that the castle is purple gives the castle a calming effect. While living in Paris his life was always busy. This is a stark contrast to his life in the purple castle.
These two symbols relate to the theme because the cave emphasizes Grenouille's transformation into inhumanity and the castle and the color purple's royal aspects highlights his quest for perfection. The sense of smell is portrayed as the most important of the senses. Suskind argues that when you fall in love with someone, it is not because of their personality or their appearance, but rather because you like their scent; when you loathe someone, it is simply because you cannot stand their scent. The sense of smell is unappreciated, even though it is the reason we are able to function in daily life. Grenouille, Baldini, and La Taillade-Espinasse all search for perfection. Grenouille searches for it in his perfumes, Baldini in money, and La Taillade-Espinasse in his theories. In the end, all of their quest fails. This shows that the quest for perfection is doomed for failure. The people that are presented in this book are very gullible. They are easily swayed by the concoctions that Grenouille prepares with the soul purpose of tricking others. They are easily swayed when one of their main senses, the one they rely on daily, is corrupted. This presents man as gullible and incompetent. The idea that differences make you inhuman is a reoccurring theme in this book. Society is so shallow that any differences turn men inhuman. Madame Gaillard's lack of emotion makes her inhuman. Grenouille's lack of scent makes him inhuman. Grimal's lack of sympathy made him inhuman. Laure Richis' (the girl whose scent Grenouille falls in love with) inexplicable beauty makes her inhuman. These differences, although they are supposed to create the necessary difference for societal functions, creates a rift between the normal and the abnormal.