Grenouille's Tick-Like Nature in Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

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Perfume, written by Patrick Suskind, explores the effect of a loveless life on the main character, Grenouille. From the first breath he draws, Grenouille must fight for himself. Through his tick-like nature, Grenouille absorbs power from his authority figures, leaving them lifeless while simultaneously achieving his goal. As his goals shift Grenouille moves from submission to dominance, and ultimately achieves total control over humanity. Suskind uses Grenouille’s journey to comment on the universal struggle of mankind to find his place in the world. Grenouille dominates the authoritative figures in his life from a submissive position. At his birth Grenouille recognizes the necessity of bowing to those above him in order to survive. As…show more content…
He executes the chores given to him by Madame Gaillard and “at age six he had completely grasped his surroundings olfactory” (Suskind 26). Paralleling this role, he gains a masterful work ethic working under Grimal at the tannery. By working these jobs, Grenouille many of the simple talents required to achieve his final goal of a place in society and to survive on his own. When Grenouille reaches the workplace of Baldini, he has mastered dominance through submission. Grenouille creates exquisite scents for Baldini and in exchange Baldini teaches Grenouille the mechanics of perfumery. Once Grenouille has absorbed Baldini’s power, he can focus on his goal of achieving further dominance and eventual total control. The loss of Grenouille causes the authority figure in his life to die in the exact manner they work to avoid. The immediate removal of the former authority figures from the plot through death supports Grenouille’s rise to dominance. These characters seem to be succeeding in their goals, until the arrival of Grenouille. His mother allows her children to die so she can maintain her hope of living a proper life. Madame Gaillard systematically divides her income, one half for her children and one half for herself, as “she wanted to buy annuity; just enough so she could afford to die at home rather than

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