So we finally wee that Grenouille is making the human sceented perfume we read about before, but he is only making it to mask the human scent that he lacks. His only goal with this was to smell like everyone else does. He wants to use the perfume for this reason now, but eventually wants to make a similar perfume to make everyone in the world love him.
I looked up human scented perfumes and it turns out there is something called a pheromone. It is a chemical secretion that effects the behavior of another person or animal..generally sexually. http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Health/story?id=1386825 This news story says that there are perfumes being made that are used specifically to draw in a partner and because this attraction is genetic, as long as it is compatible with the other person, it should work. It is super creepy. I’m okay with this happening naturally, but making a perfume that tricks you is super weird! I feel like this is exactly what Grenouille is going for. He just want a perfume that will attract other people to him and that is going to make the book weird.
1. Grenouille has a terrible dream that makes him decide to move back to civilization after seven years in the cave. Why do you think that his dream about having a body odor that he cannot smell freaks him out so much? Weather he had a natural smell or not wouldn’t it fade after he died anyway? If Grenouille has already concocted great perfumes when he was with Baldini, how would he not make a mark on the olfactory world?
2. When Grenouille came back into civilization in Pierrefort, he insisted that he was captured an held hostage for seven years as opposed to just saying that he had been living in solitude. Why would he do this if he really doesn’t like humans anyway? Is it because he wants them to notice him, since he now knows they can’s smell him?
3. Following Grenouill’s slip out of town The Marquis walks up a mountain and never returns (he is presumably dead). Why do you think that everyone Grenouille contacts dies either untimely or miserably, even when he has no intention of it? Do you think that this shows that Grenouille’s evil nature is out of his control?
1. Do you thing Grenouille’s thoughts of his empire and being “Grenouille the Great” are good for him or bad for him? He uses them to make himself happy and he is happy when he is in these vision of his own land, but they are so unrealistic that when he returns to society he will be let down. Do you think that he thinks these dreams are real? Are these healthy for him when he is living in such an odd state?
2. Would safety be worth living like he did to you? He licks moisture from a rock in order to not dehydrate to death; he eats moss and eats lizards whole; he finds pleasure only in dreams and past smells; he is practically dying on this mountain. But he is safe (scent-wise) and to him that has been worth it for the past seven years? Why is this even worth it to him?
3. Grenouille doesn’t react like I would expect him to when he is taken by the professor. He is practically a little show monkey for this guys theory. Grenouille is pretty emotionless throughout the week he is there. At the end, after he “becomes” a gentleman, he realizes that he could have an effect on the world. The way it is stated along with the positive effect the makeover had on him makes this seems like it would be a positive effect. What is going to make Grenouille “effect the world” in such a disgusting and ugly way?
Let me begin by saying that I felt weird reading this section, much less writing about it here. I solely chose this passage because when I read it was creeped out while reading it!
“To enhance the mood, he first conjured up those that were earliest and most remote: the hostile, steaming vapors of Madame Gaillard’s bedroom; the bone-dry, leathery bouquet of her hands; the vinegary breath of Father Terrier; the hysterical, hot maternal sweat of Bussie the wet nurse; the carrion stench of the Cimetiere des Innocents; the homicidal odor of his mother. And he wallowed in disgust and loathing, and his hair stood on end at the delicious horror…
“And then all at once, the pent-up hate would erupt with orgasmic force-that was, after all, the point of the exercise. Like a thunderstorm he rolled across these odors that had dared offend his patrician nose. He thrashed at them as hail thrashes a grainfield; like a hurricane, he scattered the rabble and drowned them in a grand purifying deluge of distilled water. And how just was his anger. How great his revenge”
So, now that Grenouille is alone, and away from all humankind, I think that he will drive himself more mad than he already seemed. This passage was just so uncomfortable to read (so clearly I made you read it again). I think that it is a sort of turning point because we are seeing his intense connection to his smells in a way that angered him so much and this passage clearly eluded to him master bating literally to smell memories. This passage also marked a turn in the novel that may be more plot driven, now we have seen Grenouille and have understand his character so I think that the novel will be more plot driven than just laying a very extensive groundwork as it has been.
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??
Grenouille’s behavior in this section, especially as he pulls farther and farther away from humanity, made me think of an article that centered around odor as the most powerful memory trigger. In “Odor-evoked Autobiographical memories”( http://chemse.oxfordjournals.org/content/25/1/111.full ) references a study done in 1989 by Cann and Ross that used olfactory stimuli to solicit memories.
Could Grenouille’s retraction from society be subconsciously linked to the memories he associates with humans? Why or why not? I think that it is possible because all of the humans that Grenouille has been in contact with have abandoned him, and from this sections particularly Baldini has illustrated his seemingly evil character. Grenouille’s one sort of positive interaction with a human was with the young virgin, which did end in death and disintegration of the odor he ‘loved’. However, this would mean that Grenouille has some deeply, deeply, buried resentment toward how people have treated him and guilt for what he did to the innocent young girl.
What do you think?
“He assumed that in whatever direction he turned he ought to detect some latent scrap of human odor. But there was nothing. Here there was only peace, olfactory peace, if it can be put that way.” (120)
“He shouted for joy…He carried on like a madman until late into the night” (121)
Grenouille is at least eighteen now and he has finally gained his freedom. As soon as he gained this freedom he found exactly what he wants. He noticed quickly after leaving Baldini how much he hates the human scent. He is repulsed by it. He became so accustomed to the clear fresh air on his odd journey to the mountain that when he he smelled a human he was disgusted. He found and quickly climbed to the top of this mountain and found peace that he has never experienced before. This is the first time that Grenouille has been described in such an upbeat positive way. He has always been weird and uncomfortable, but now that he is completely alone without even a trace of a scent he is normal. Do you think he will try to live like this forever? The lack of humanity makes it hard to find the essentials of living, but from previous experiences we know that his life is pretty much indestructible.
Knowing that he will use women to create the “perfect perfume”, how do you think his life will transition from this olfactory peace to brutal murders?