Compare And Analyse The Selected Texts ["Dorian Gray" And "Perfume: Story Of A Murderer"] With Specific Reference To Values And Contextual Influences.

1850 words - 7 pages

Literature and language is a medium often used by historians and professionals alike to piece together historical facts and figures of that time. But more importantly, literature creates a sample of a culture which allows the reader to briefly experience that culture, whilst indulging oneself in the plot and details of the story. The analysed works are supporting evidence as Patrick Sáskind takes readers back to a sweaty, fetid eighteenth-century France in "Perfume: Story of a Murderer" whilst a differing gothic portrayal of the hypocritical Victorian life is found in Oscar Wilde's "The Picture of Dorian Gray". Both novels have their share of contextual influences that assists the reflection of significant and central values.The selected novels characterises two young men as their protagonist and explores their fascinating lives. Perfume: Story of a Murder details the life and death of an 'olfactory genius'. Born in a food market with no odour of his own, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille leads an unusual life as he develops a sense of smell capable of the most supernatural level. As his abilities unfold, he embarks on a destructive journey that brought about the murders of twenty-four adolescent girls. The Picture of Dorian Gray illustrates the tragic story of a wealthy and peculiarly beautiful young man who surrendered his soul in return for the promise of eternal youth and beauty.Growing up from physically different childhoods, the two protagonists are both brought into the world as innocent lives, free from corruption and sinful acts. Grenouille begins his journey as a newborn baby and grows to be a boy of extraordinary talent where his innocence remained, until he was irresistibly drawn to the scent of the first virgin. This introduction of 'pure beauty' (in olfactory terms) marks the turning point in Grenouille's life when previously innocent curiosity develops into a corrupted obsession. The discovery of beauty fuels him to commit the first of many sins - cold-blooded murder.Dorian Gray begins his transition much earlier in the novel, almost parallel in time with his introduction as a character. A sense of his innocence and purity of character is conveyed as his friend and painter Basil Hallward describes him as "simple and beautiful", just moments before Dorian Gray uncovers 'pure beauty' (in physical terms) in his own portrait. This leads him to become obsessively protective of his own beauty and youth, sending him on a journey of no return. When Dorian Gray realises the transient nature of beauty and youth, he chooses to immerge himself in the ways of New Hedonism, pursuing a life dedicated to seeking pleasure. His consequential actions used to satisfy his pleasures become the vital element that takes him down the path of self-destruction.The transformation from innocent to corrupt may be of similar nature, but the contextual background and setting of the texts remain vastly different and become a prominent element when drawing...

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