Perfume

Perfume

Perfume Part 1, Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Baldini instructs Grenouille in all the arts of being a perfumer, from soap making to sewing gloves. Grenouille really only enjoys instruction in producing tinctures and extracts. Baldini's workshop isn't appropriate for doing any of this on a large scale, if only because it’s hard to come by large enough quantities of one plant in Paris, but when materials did become available, Baldini would pull out his alembic to distill the material.
Grenouille's progress is hindered by being in Paris, which sets Grenouille up to leave Paris at some point in the future. However, using the alembic is a very useful skill for Grenouille and one that he will store for later use.
Themes
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
The process of distillation relies on speed, and fascinates Grenouille. The alembic needed to be attended all night, and Grenouille and Baldini would sit up, with Baldini drinking wine and telling stories. Grenouille doesn't listen to them; he’s too engrossed in the process. He imagines himself as an alembic, his stored scents simmering away, that would one day make the world bearable for him. He soon abandons this fantasy and begins thinking about how to use his knowledge to achieve his goals.
Again, Grenouille doesn't bother paying attention to anything that doesn't interest him (like Baldini's stories), and instead devotes himself to his fantasies. These fantasies will grow more detailed as Grenouille gets older, and as his goals grow larger and more fantastical.
Themes
Growing Up and Becoming Human Theme Icon
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon