Compare and contrast how Patrick Suskinds Perfume and Alfred Hitchcocks Psycho explore how the manifestation of evil due to ones self-interests provokes the audience to explore their own moral compass.
Patrick Suskinds 1985 novel Perfume and Alfred Hitchcocks 1960 film Psycho takes the audience on a journey that provokes ones moral compass when using sympathy as a means of manipulation. Suskind’s historical fantasy follows Jean-Baptise Grenoullie, a man obsessed with olfactory sensations, and Hitchcock’s Slasher, Norman Bates, a hotel owner with dissociative personality disorder.
Both authors highlight how the absence of a motherly figure lead to conflict in their central characters lives which develops into a psychotic mentality. Although both anti-heros have different motives, the authors create sympathy for them regardless of their evil and places the audience in a position of moral conflict.
Shaped by the absence of a motherly figure, both authors explore the effect of a lack of nurture on the central characters mentality which ultimately lead to them injuring themselves and others.
Whilst the profound nature of the central figures, expose their evil, to what extent does the lack of nurture affect their mentality. Grenoullie is born to a mother who openly admit[ed] that she would definitely have let [him] perish. As his birth mother, who is decapitated on counts of multiple infantcide[s], Grenoullie is given to a wet nurse as prescribed by law. He changes wet nurses several times as [he] was too greedy,” and is thought to be possessed by the devil as he had no natural smell which was considered as no soul.
Due to the lack of love and nurture he receives as a child, he does not recognise his lack of sympathy as abnormal. Therefore, he feels no remorse for the virginal girls he murders in his quest to feel love he never receives as a child in the form of perfume. In Psycho, however, Noman Bates tries to recreate motherly love after committing matricide. Unlike Grenoullie, Bates lives with his birth mother throughout most of his childhood and has a sense of motherly love. After feeling his mother [throwing] him over for [her new lover]” however, he commits matricide, the most unbearable crime of all to the son who commits it. To cope with his guilt, Bates develops a second personality he calls mother to erase the crime in his own mind. He steals her corpse to dress it up in clothes, which he also does to himself when his mother side of himself comes out to keep the illusion alive; he walks about the house, sit[s] in her chair, speaks in her voice, and trie[s] to be his mother.” His attempt to fill in this void however backfires, as the [mother] personality has won, taking over Bates entirely. Whilst Bates mind created another personality out of good intentions, he is pathologically jealous which was reflected in his other personality. Therefore when Bates feel[s] a strong attraction to any other woman, it triggers his other side to go wild.Similar to Bates, Grenoullie also has an influence in his mother’s death despite his young age. Grenoullies cry, emitted upon careful consideration was [his] decision against love and nevertheless for life, which ultimately sent his mother to the gallows. Both central figures nature led to the death of their mothers, however, their actions were based on a lack of affection. By shaping the central figures without a motherly figure, both authors provoke the audiences sense of moral judgment by setting up the idea of whether the lack of nurture had an influence on their mentality and ultimately their actions.
Through the use of perspectives, both authors establish their central figures as the protagonists to persuade the audience that they are the heroes of the story. By taking advantage of this connotation, it provokes the audience’s sense of judgement when developing connections with characters. Perfume uses a third person narration to gain an omniscient voice which allows Suskind to be able to give the audience insight towards not only Grenoullies thoughts and feelings, but how other characters view him to elicit sympathy in the audience. Perfume begins with a passage of a man who was one of the most gifted and abominable personages. By portraying the central figure as evil, the audience feels that this man cannot be trusted. Moreover, Suskinds utilisation of a third person perspective puts distance between the audience and his central character to prevent the audience from developing an emotional attachment. Conversely, this also allowed Suskind to reveal how other characters view Grenoullie and provoke the audiences judgement. Readers feel sympathy for him when his mother rejects him, the children in the orphanage conspire to suffocate him, and is given away to Monsieur Grimal to experience harsh physical labour for example. However, the audience must consider why early characters such as Jeanne Bussie, and Father Terrier, who felt sick to his stomach, thought of Grenoullie to be the devil. Similar to Perfume, Psycho uses different points of views to shift between various characters after seemingly protagonist Marion Crane is murdered. Psycho opens with Marion Crane, a young, attractive woman who steals $40,000 from her employer. The audience follows her journey escaping the clutches of justice, and are eventually introduced to Nomran Bates, owner of Bates motel. From Marions point of view, the audience sees Bates as a sweet but lonely man who [does not] need[…] friends. Trapped by his problematic mother, they feel sympathy and pity for his situation and implicitly develop a relationship with him. In an unexpected turn of events, the audiences attachment with Marion is taken away when she is murdered. In need of another character to follow, Bates is now the new point of view for the audience. Despite cleaning up Marions lifeless body, the relationship between Bates and the audience is revealed when they subconsciously blame the mother rather than him and concern for his safety. This is evident when Marions car is being submerged into the swamp and Bates panics when the car stops half way. By using Bates point of view, the audience is positioned to feel his panic and fear for their safety as well. Whilst other characters point of views such as Abbogarst and Lila are explored afterwards, the audience maintains the connection with Bates regardless of whether they wish to. In addition to perspectives, both authors utilise characterisation to perplex the audiences moral judgment.
By characterising their central figures as perverted and psychotic, the authors are able to position the audience to juxtapose their evil and sympathetic events to challenge their moral judgement. Symbolised as a tick, Grenoullie
Remember that you have a compare and contrast question so be sure to have some DIRECT comparison between the two texts and the authors technique
His first cry as an infant was [his] decision against love and nevertheless for life.
Having changed wet nurses several times as [Grenoullie] was too greedy,”
In contrast, Bates grew up with his mother, but felt she threw him over for [her new lover] which led him to committing matricide.
Through the use of characterisation, the authors were able to portray their central characters as perverted
preys on virginal girls who have scents of higher principle, Psychos protagonist, Norman Bates
The male gaze was used as a technique to highlight the pervertness that was seen in both anti heros. Hitchcocks utilisation of camera angles to reveal parts of Marions nudity in the shower exploits her in a fashion which appeals to the male gaze. Similarly in Perfume, Suskind utilises sensory imagery of the fishy odor of her genitals and the thrust[ing] [of] his face to her skin to sexualise women for the audience. Both authors also utilise a third person perspective to
Whilst Grenouille did not have sexual desires, Suskind exploits women in a fashion that would appeal to the male gaze, utilising sensory imagery of the fishy odor of her genitals and thrust[ing[ his face to her skin to emphasise how women are seen as symbols of lust. In Psycho however, Hitchcocks utilisation of camera angles and . Through the utilisation of the male gaze, the audiences views on the anti-heros seem immoral, preying on women for their own desires. Grenoullies desires are more scent related, Bates has sexual desires.
Through the utilization of the male gaze, both authors were able to highlight the pervertness seen in both anti heros to exploit the extent of their self interests. Whilst Bates has sexual desires, Grenoullie obsesses over the scents secreted by the young girls.
By giving the audience insight towards their past and present status, it deviates them from the malicious intentions and manipulates their decisions by using sympathy. Both antiheros had issues with their mother. Whilst grenouille was given away, bates killed his own mother.
Although seen as antagonists, the central characters in both texts were portrayed as
In conclusion, both authors were able to highlight how egocentric interests manifests into evil. By creating symptathy and pity for the audience, it justifies siding with their motives. THroguh the use of techniques such as the male gaze and themes of horror and slasher, they were able to emphasise how evil was seen.
When Grenoullie was borned, his mother openly admit[ed] that she would definitely have let the thing [Grenoullie] perish and was found guilty of multiple infanticide. Despite still a newborn, Grenoullies cry, emitted upon careful consideration was [his] decision against love and nevertheless for life, which ultimately sent his mother to the gallows. Similarly in Psycho, Bates also decided the fate of his mother. After feeling his mother threw him over for [her new lover] ,he committed matricide and murder by poisoning them with strychnine. Although both anti heros had influence in the death of their mothers, they cope with the absence of a motherly figure differently. Bates developed an alternate personality he called mother to erase the crime in his own mind. Additionally, he stole his mothers corpse, dressed it up, and began to think and speak for her, gave her half his life. When Bates felt a strong attraction with another woman, such as Marion Crane, the mother side of him would emerge and go wild out of jealousy. Whilst Bates copes the loss of his mother by developing another personality to fill in the gap of a motherly figure, Grenuollie finds other motherly figures as a means of sustenance rather than love. After the decapitation of his mother, Grenoullie was already passed to three different wet nurses, all of which said he was too greedy having sucked as much as two babies. When he grew older and was able to work with Monsieur Grimal, he was tough, uncomplaining, [and[ inconspicuous, able to take care of himself without needing a motherly figure.