I found an article that I found very interesting that basically said that scent can influence a person to do things they would not normally do, such as buy a certain product or return to certain hotels or resort due to the ambient-like smells they incorporate to the environment (http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/smell-life/201101/smell-manipulation). I thought that that was interesting considering that Grenuoille’s scent basically was the ultimate persuader. I find is easy to imagine that the influence his perfume had on people was highly fictional, but it is weird to know that scent is actually a huge manipulator, and many people don’t even know it. What do you guys think?
1. Why do you think that the author wanted to make a personal connection to Laure? We don’t know much about the other girls that Grenuoille killed, but the author gives us more information on her. Why do you think that is?
2. At one point in the story, Grenuoille contemplates suicide. I thought that this was very ironic because he has survived just about everything up to this point. What is the significance of his thoughts of taking his own life?
3. People in the beginning of the story were immediately wary of Grenuoille and avoided him if possible and it seems as if this has changed. Do you think that Grenuoille has changed much since the beginning of the story to elicit this response?
Grenuoille sat at his ease on his bench in the cathedral of Saint-Pierre and smiled. his mood was not euphoric as he formed his plans to rule humankind. There were no mad flashings of the ey, no lunatic grimace passed over his face. He was not out of his mind, which was so clear and buoyant that he asked himself why he wanted to do it at all. And he said to himself that he wanted to do it because he was evil, thoroughly evil. And he smiled as he said it and was content. He looked quite innocent, like any happy person. (Pg 155)
I kind of got a shiver reading this passage. It freaked me out. Before the most recent chapters, I perceived Grenuoille as more of a beast than a man. He acted instinctually with no conscious or emotion. But now we see him in a new light. He acknowledges his evil and he is purposefully manipulating those around him, which I did not think he would do. What do you think about his shift in character??
This week’s reading reminded me of a story someone had to described to me a long time ago about a man who decided to live in the wild and unfortunately died from starvation. I decided to look it up (http://www.christophermccandless.info/bio.html) and remembered that his name was Christopher McCandless, and that there was a book called Into the Wild written about him. I thought that his story was interesting because it was a little similar to Grenuoille’s. Of course McCandless wasn’t as inhuman and cold as Grenuoille but both chose to leave civilization and live in solitude which is what most people chose not to do. Would you ever live in solitude?? Could you handle the elements and the difficulties of survival??
1. Baldini and Grenuoille are definitely both “evil” people, but I believe to be in very different ways. Do you think one is more evil than the other? Or do you believe that all types of evil are equal? Why or why not?
2. Why do you think that misfortune follow the people that Grenuoille associates himself with after he leaves? Do you think that it is Grenouille who brings misfortune, or the individuals themselves?
3. Why does Grenuoille want to be away from people if the scent of people (virgin girls in particular) seemed to be his purpose in life?
“It was as if he were just playing, splashing and swishing like a child busy cooking up so ghastly brew of water, grass, and mud, which he then asserts to be soup. Yes, like a child, thought Baldini; all at once he looks like a child, despite his ungainly hand, despite his scarred, pockmarked faces and his bulbous old-man’s nose. I took him to be older than he is; but now he seems much younger to me; he looks as if he were three or four; looks just like one of those unapproachable, incomprehensible, willful little prehuman creatures, who in their ostensible innocence think only of themselves, who want to subordinate the whole world to their despotic will, and would do it, too, if one let them pursue their megalomaniacal ways and did not apply the strictest pedagogical principles to guide them to a disciplined, self-controlled, fully human existence.”
I though that this passage was very interesting because I believe that Baldini is the first person to actually see Grenuoille for what he truly is, a child. Yes, Grenuoille has committed murder, and done horrific things, but he is still only a young boy. And Baldini sees this rather than seeing a devilish, horrifying monster that most people see. What do you think about Baldini’s observance of Grenuoille??
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 (http://psychcentral.com/news/2012/09/21/psychopathy-linked-to-impaired-sense-of-smell-frontal-lobe/44949.html) 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 (http://www.sirc.org/publik/smell_emotion.html), 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.