Studying The Contrasting Intentions Of Authors English Literature Essay

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Authors, Patrick Suskind and Albert Camus, succeeded in creating the most abominable social rejects of their respective times, Grenouille from Perfume and Meursault from the outsider, the two are both criminals due to the fact that they both commit murder, they are both driven or motivated to murder, by the things they are obsessed with. This ultimately leads them to their death. However, it their intentions contrast, as Meursault does not murder with intent, but Grenouille, on the other hand murder's with intent.

The contrasting intentions of Meursault and Grenouille is adeptly distinguished by the authors, Camus, uses first person narrative, this is to make the reader sympathize with him, which ironically means that Meursault is the judge not the judged, because the readers are forced to view the world the way Meursault does, thus creating an alternate impression of the other characters such as the magistrate, the prison chaplain, who originally would have been seen as normal characters. On the other hand, Suskind leaves very little room for the sympathy of Meursault, because he does not deserve it? It almost as if it is directly habituated for Grenouille's rejection by the society's hostility, even at birth he had already experienced a terrible rejection.

Meursault may have been motivated to murder the by the sun, Camus uses effective imagery to transform the sun against him. The sun is used as a symbol of hostility, representing rivalry and aggression, this is what causes Meursault to murder the Arab, before he shoots the Arab he says the sun "was like a red-hot blade gnawing at my eyelashes and gouging out my stinging eyes. [1] " Meursault describes the effect of the sun on him, it is almost like the sun is his enemy, he makes it clear that the sun made him anxious, and this was when he shot the Arab. This is the sort of effect the sun has on Meursault. In the case of Grenouille, he is driven to murder by his paranormal sense of smell, makes him realize that he has no smell, and his sense of smell being his superior sense as he identifies people through their smell, he feels he has no identity, this sends him on a mission to discover his identity, he becomes obsessed with smells, and begins to kill young virgins, collecting their odors, his obsession is most evident when "his heart beat more loudly and he felt the blood in his veins tingle with pleasure: [2] " upon catching the scent of Laure. This emphasizes Grenouille obsession with scent. This heightens his desire for them.

Meursault allows the sun to control him, due to his obsession with it, Meursault whose character is conveyed as someone that does not think, thinks about the sun a lot, allowing his mind to be fully focused on the sun that its effects are magnified, thus allowing it to control him. When Meursault left the Arabs and was going back, he was walking in a direction facing the sun, thinking about it; it began to have excruciating effects on him, once he stopped thinking about it, he unconsciously turns around, now backing the sun he says that "I'd gone there without even thinking about it [3] " this shows that the sun makes him do things without thinking about it. Grenouille also like Meursault allows his extraordinary sense of smell to control him, he smells the girl begins to follow her scent until he finds her, and when does he is so obsessed with her scent he kills her. His senses are his most valued possession, and he relies on them the most, his decisions are biased towards satisfying his smell. This is one of the factors that make him kill so easily. But the main contributing factor is the fact that he had a very poor upbringing, his mother left him to die, he was never loved, so he had very little regard for human life.

The sun and the paranormal sense of smell used by Camus and Suskind respectively are tools to communicate the pressures of the societies they live in. Meursault who pushed to murder, by the sun, is imagery used by Camus to show how much Meursault hates judgment by society, after killing the Arab he says that "I'd realized that I'd destroyed the balance of the day and the perfect silence of this beach where I'd been happy [4] ". Meursault shows no sympathy at killing the Arab, but is rather more concerned about how he had ruined his day at the beach. This is what leads him to his death. Because he has no smell, Grenouille is rejected by his mother, Jean Bussie, Father Terrier, the children at the orphanage, and the society, in general, Suskind's way of describing the consequences of being an outsider, but bizarrely, all those who rejected him ended up dying. Smell, used frequently in this book carries a lot of meaning in Perfume, as it drives a lonely man, who people hate because he has none, to kill twenty-five virgins, in order to create his own and fit into society. Unlike Meursault, he tries to fit in, and he ends up worse than Meursault. Because of this, because he was not all to blame, Suskind leaves a space though small for the readers to sympathize with him, he creates as little relationship between the readers and the virgins as possible, apart from Laure who meant something to Meursault so as to reduce the hatred for Grenouille.

As similar as these characters may seem, as they are both murderers, they murder for different reasons, Meursault murders in self defense as he said that "the Arab drew his knife and held it out towards me in the sun [5] ", this partially motivates Meursault to kill the Arab, in addition to the influence from the sun. Grenouille's amorality and search for an identity in society is the secondary cause of his murders, he does not enjoy murdering people but he does not resent it either, he is only focused on his goal. However, though Grenouille seems a worse person, he deserves more sympathy than Meursault as the circumstances that drive him to murder are horrendous.

The two characters, motivated to murder by their obsessions, Meursault motivated by the sun to murder, Grenouille driven by his search for an identity, through his amazing sense of smell, they lived against society's norms, normally they would be contained and rehabilitated by society, but not these two, they consent to condemnation. Meursault, is sentenced to decapitation, on the day of his death, he reaffirms his status saying "I was happy, and I was still happy [6] ." While Grenouille, who after succeeding in creating the perfect perfume was not fulfilled, he stopped trying, and realized his purpose. "But to eat a human being, they would never, so they thought, have been capable of anything that horrible. And they were amazed that it had been so very easy for them and that, embarrassed as they were, they did not feel the tiniest bite of conscience [7] ." After Grenouille had poured the remainder of his perfume on himself, it received a cannibalistic reaction from the people, therefore showing that even society is capable of ultimate evil.