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The Changing Identity Of The Protagonists In Perfu Essay

  • Submitted by: AshutoshMalpani
  • on February 19, 2012
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,549 words

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Below is an essay on "The Changing Identity Of The Protagonists In Perfu" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

The Changing Identity of the Protagonists in Perfume and Like Water For Chocolate
Patrick Suskind’s Perfume and Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate explore the social dynamics of identity construction, utilizing their protagonists to demonstrate the tensions between self-perception and society’s perceptions, rendering personhood in terms of negotiations with oneself and environment. In Perfume, Suskind writes the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, who embarks on a journey to master the effect of scent upon the population in eighteenth-century France. Esquivel’s Like Water For Chocolate tells the story of Tita De La Garza’s struggle to pursue true love with Pedro and escaping from her mother’s domination in a traditional family structure in turn of twentieth century in Mexico. This essay seeks to demonstrate that the changing identity of Grenouille and Tita are formed in relation to both the external perception from others and self-perception.
The way that other characters perceive the protagonists in both texts allow us to examine self-identity and understand personal journeys in a social context. In Perfume, external expectations of Grenouille since his childhood are negative and sinister because of his abominable self-image and lack of normal human smell, ‘He doesn’t smell at all!’ A succession of potential caregivers who abandon their charge characterizes Grenouille’s early life. Immediately, the wet nurse has difficulties with Grenouille; the infant’s lack of personal odor inspires superstition and fear in her, which creates the external impression that he is aberrant. Father Terrier, who also rejects Grenouille, describes him as ‘a strange cold creature’, ‘a hostile animal’ and ‘the thing’. This accretion of negative adjectives suggests that Grenouille is a barbaric intruder and foreshadows his future destiny. Later, when Grenouille is taken to Madame Gaillard’s foster house, the children are scared of him. The use of the metaphor ‘he disgusted them...

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