Perfume

Perfume

Perfume Part 1, Chapter 13 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Baldini works for two hours and by then can barely smell anything, but he continues the motion of sprinkling the kerchief and passing it under his nose. He knows continuing is pointless, as he never learned how to dissect scent in this way. Finally, Baldini's nose swells with an allergic reaction to the perfume, and he gratefully quits and decides to send for some Amor and Psyche the following morning.
Despite Baldini's attempt at a different method, the outcome appears to be just as Chénier predicted all the same. Again, compare Baldini's reaction to scent to what we know of Grenouille. An allergic reaction such as this isn't something that makes sense for Grenouille to ever experience.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
As the sun sets, Baldini thinks that one day his last customer will die, he'll have to sell the shop, and he’ll move to Italy with his wife in bitter poverty. Baldini goes to the window and opens it, and it seems as though the river has changed direction in the fading sunlight. Suddenly, Baldini flings the flacon of Amor and Psyche into the river. The room is filled with fresh air and the night falls suddenly.
Baldini finds release in the absence of scent once the river appears to have changed direction. The fall of night acts as a falling curtain on this part of Baldini's life.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
Baldini vows that he won't send someone to purchase Amor and Psyche in the morning. Rather, he decides to sell his shop, and he suddenly feels very happy and relaxed. He can live modestly in Messina by selling now. Baldini decides to tell his wife and then light a candle at Notre-Dame. He puts on his wig and hears the shrill servants' entrance bell as he heads out of his office. Nobody answers the door, so Baldini heads downstairs to answer it himself. Outside is Grenouille, cowering, with goatskins from Monsieur Grimal.
Baldini is evidently a religious man, which will be an important thing to remember later. We're again reminded of the appearances that a perfumer (and indeed, a gentleman at this time) must keep up as Baldini dons his wig. This façade of civilization and gentility is then contrasted with the servile, animalistic Grenouille.
Themes
Power and Control Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon