English / Study Of Social Critcism In &Quot;Perfume&Quot; By Suskind And &Quot;A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

Study Of Social Critcism In &Quot;Perfume&Quot; By Suskind And &Quot;A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich

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Autor:  anton  12 March 2011
Tags:  Social,  Critcism,  Perfume,  Suskind
Words: 1022   |   Pages: 5
Views: 600

The Criticism of society and human nature implicit in “Perfume” by Suskind

And “A Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich” by solzenitsyn

The criticism of society and human nature found in these two novels, is extremely subtle. The criticism in the novels differs through the difference in era.

“A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” is based on a prisoner of war camp in Russia during the Second World War or right after and is a criticism of the treatment they receive inside the camp. Whereas “Perfume” is set in 18th century France, and is a criticism of society in which we live. It is not so much criticism of a historical era but in a more general sense, of the world we live in today. As well as, a virulent criticism of merchants and trade. It is also an undeniable parody of the story of Christ while “One Day” is not a very religiously centered novel.

The criticism of society in perfume comes in many different forms and is usually quite obvious. Throughout the entire novel Grenouille, the protagonist of perfume is described in such a way that he is seen as a despicable character. However although this is what he is, the description that the narrator makes of the society around him is as terrifying as the one made of Grenouille. In fact it is my belief that society creates this monstrous being which is Grenouille.

Throughout the novel several merchants who although pretend to help him, all end up using him to make large amounts of money exploit Grenouille. For example the perfume maker Baldini uses Grenouille’s perfume recipes to become rich by deceiving him and manipulating him. Also Taillade-Espinade takes advantage of Grenouille’s physical appearance to become rich and famous. (expand)

This is a criticism of merchants in general which tells us that although merchants pretend to be professionals at their line of work they are not above exploiting someone to make more profit. A merchant will go to any lengths no matter how dishonest to make more profit. This also appears in “A Day in the Life» but in a different sense. In “A day in the life of Ivan Denisovich” the parcels play this role of criticism. It is a criticism of the fact that the prisoners will do anything for food. Shukhov demonstrates this through his clever manipulation Tzesar for food.

This is a criticism of how low one will go to achieve a goal, which will only profit oneself. However this is also I believe similar to “Perfume” as one can see that perhaps the prisoners do this sort of thing to survive and they have also beem created like this by society who shut them up in the camp.

“Perfume” is also a huge criticism of religion. From the birth of Grenouille to the death of Grenouille the symbols in the novel and the style in which it is written seem to show a paradox to the life which was led by the Christ.

For example grenouille was born from a virgin while Grenouille was born from a prostitute. The Christ was born in a barn, Grenouille was born on a pile of dead fish. Episodes like for example his near execution at the end of the novel point out that he was going to be executed on a cross while the village butcher hit him with an iron rod. This would symbolise the crucifixion. His escape to paris would symbolise the christs ressurection. His final death and the pieces he was cut up into could easily symbolise the last supper for several reasons.

These parodies of certain events mentioned in the Christian are obvious criticism of society through the ages. Most cultures have usually used gods and deities to explain the inexplicable or to pull strength from. For example in “A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” some of the prisoners to draw strength from religion so as to get through the day. However the real criticism towards religion made in “Perfume” is that society will worship almost anything as long as it appears to be holy. Grenouille is rejected throughout the novel but once he dons his perfume he becomes revered by all those around him. Society is capable of worshipping a monster if it suits them and he is attractive enough to subdue them into it. This can be seen in society today throughout the world. People worship talent less, popular musicians and ridiculous actors from atrociously bad films. Dictators, who subdue people into believing that a certain race of people is evil, because they find their appearance abnormal or imperfect and remove freedom and rights from innocent people.(more appropriate for a conclusion)

Most of however the most interesting criticism made here is that people will follow even that which they cannot see or hear. In perfume the people believe they are following Grenouille but in fact they are following his perfume, which they cannot see.

An interesting difference between the criticisms of society in both the novels is that although in perfume it seems more open and it is a more direct style of criticism while “ A day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” criticises society in a more discreet way. Using the description of Shukhov’s day to incite people to criticise the society at the time of Stalin’s reign in the Soviet Union.

Another interesting point about “A Day in then Life of Ivan Denisovich” is that conversations about the unjust causes for the conviction of most of the prisoners. It is a criticism on the paranoia of Stalin during this time. At the time Stalin would execute or incarcerate anybody who made him suspicious. It is also an overall criticism of the unfairness of this society at the time.

Both of these novels are extremely effective critics of society. Both criticise the society in which he live but in different times and under different rule. both are able to convey what they wish to criticise in a shocking and disturbing but nevertheless highly interesting and effective way.



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