Compare and analyse the selected texts ["Dorian Gray" and "Perfume: Story of a Murderer"] with specific reference to values and contextual influences.

Essay by sugar_lustHigh School, 11th gradeA, October 2006

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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...