As I read more and more about Grenouille, I am more interested in the relationship between his apparent psychological problems and smell. I looked for an article that may have explained this and interestingly enough, I found an article ( written in 2012 that suggests that psychopathic tendencies are connected with lack of olfactory senses that come from the frontal lobe of the brain. Unfortunately, that did not relate well to our story because Grenouille is obviously impacted heavily from his sense of smell.

So I looked in to smell and psychological conditions deeper and found from several articles that support that smell and deep emotion are very closely associated. In fact, The Smell Report (, suggests “Our olfactory receptors are directly connected to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain, which is thought to be the seat of emotion.” Grenouille’s actions, as horrible and revolting as they are, seem to be driven by passion. I believe that his heightened sense of smell may be a direct cause of the senseless and passionate drive that allows him to commit murder.




2 thoughts on “

  1. Grenouille definitely has a driving force of some kind behind all that he is doing. The second article on The Smell Report says that odors can effect a person’s mood or feelings. Perhaps the overwhelming smells Grenouille has been exposed to since birth have led him to his intense interest and obsession with smell. Maybe the nice perfume he is going to create will have a positive impact on him.

  2. I agree with you Nique, it may be the emotional attachment to the smells as opposed to the smell itself. For instance, in my psych class last year we talked a lot about babies bonding and how a lack of bonding (which Grenouille clearly experienced being immediately taken from his mother with no emotional replacement) can make even tiny babies find extreme coping mechanisms. So, Grenouille might have just developed more of an emotional attachment to smell, than he ever will with people. This also ties in well to the lack of empathy discussed in the first article, because all of his other senses he pretty much ignores.

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