Narrative Modes Within Perfume: the Story of a Murderer

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Kyle Schultz Topics in Literature I Professor Murdock 25 April 2012 Narrative Modes Within Perfume: The Story of a Murderer In his novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind chooses third person narration to tell the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille. And though Grenouille is the character at which the story is based upon, we are also taken through the minds and actions of other characters through the unlimited knowledge of an omniscient narrative voice. By seeing and smelling the world through Grenouille’s eyes and nose while at the same time having it told through several characters instead of him alone, we are somewhat left detached from Grenouille from the very beginning, which only enhances the lack of sympathy and…show more content…
3). Because of the narrative mode of this novel, we are not only able to be told the story of Grenouille’s birth and troubled childhood, but we are also able to read the minds of these characters and their uncanny feelings towards Grenouille, which would not be possible through any other narrative mode or voice. And this is all being done to create a distance between the reader and Grenouille. As the story continues, we begin see and smell the world through Grenouille and somewhat adapt to his unnatural personality. Whatever attachment the reader has with Grenouille at this point is suddenly crippled when he commits his first murder. Although a point of view is given through the victim’s senses as well as Grenouille’s, there is a sudden shock to the discovery his deadly intentions, which up until now no one, not even himself, thought he was capable of: “he did not look at her, did not see her delicate, freckled face, her red lips, her large sparkling green eyes, keeping his eyes closed tight as he strangled her, for he had only one concern—not to lose the least trace of her scent” (42, Ch. 8). By painting a vivid picture of a beautiful innocent girl that Grenouille could not see (as he was closing his eyes), the narrator leaves readers with only feelings of disgust towards Grenouille and his selfish, cold-blooded thirst for scent. This situation could only been sufficiently told through the narrative mode used, and now readers begin to lose all sympathy towards

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