The Significance of the Black Rose in 'Fragrance of Roses' by Peter Carey

1092 Words Mar 26th, 2012 5 Pages
The significance of the black rose in 'Fragrance of Roses' by Peter Carey

'The locals will now tell you that when they visited the old man's glasshouse, they discovered the most beautiful rose that anyone could ever dream of. It was twice the size of a man's fist and was almost black in colour, with just the faintest hint of red in its velvety petals.'

Fragrance of Roses is about a pitiful foreign old man who had lived in a poor village for twenty-five years. His only work was breeding roses in a glasshouse behind his house. After two Israeli agents arrested him, the villagers who disliked him openly finally discovered his past as the former commandant of Auschwitz and his beautiful black rose, which became their prized possession
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Black roses are not of a naturally occurring specie of roses, they are hybrid plants that have been genetically manipulated by cross breeding programs. Now, the hybrid property of the rose was the factor that cemented my idea that it is a representation of the old man rather than Auschwitz. The hybrid property suggests the co-existence of innocence and evil in him. At the beginning of the story, we feel pity for the old man, who is friendless and dislikes in the community. However, by the end, when we discover his past as the former commandant of Auschwitz, he is no longer the pitiful victim in the reader's eyes, instead he is the antithesis to a victim, and in my view, a heartless murderer.

Essentially, the rose is a inner reflection of the old man, alike to the portrait of Dorian Grey, in the novel, 'The Picture of Dorian Grey', by Oscar wilde. While Dorian remain youthful and beautiful, his portrait is hideous like his corrupt morals. And in 'Frangrance of Roses', while the old man's physical appearance seems pitiable, his corrupt morals and past is revealed in the dark, omnious colouring of the rose.

'Fragrance of roses' consists of many ironies. The first one is actually the

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