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Narrative Modes Within Perfume: the Story of a Murderer

In: English and Literature

Submitted By schultzanagger
Words 828
Pages 4
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 makes one’s feeling of horror towards him even more extreme. In other words, by choosing an omniscient third person narrative mode, Süskind’s main goal was to purposefully leave a distance between the reader and main character. Though there are many other reasons for choosing a third person point of view and an omniscient voice to narrate a story like this, nothing is more important than distancing the audience from a character if that character is meant to be evil. This (for the most part) avoids sympathy towards the character and allows readers to see who he is from the outside as well as the inside. Even reading the first line of the novel, “there lived a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages” (3: Ch. 1), we are given a sense that this character the narrator was speaking of was not intended to be good. And though we feel some sympathy for his misfortunate birth and early childhood, we are already given an uncanny feeling towards Grenouille through some of the early characters, such as the wet nurse Jeanne Bussie or Father Terrier, who “felt sick to his stomach. Gone was the homey thought that this might...

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