Perfume

Perfume

Perfume Part 1, Chapter 22 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Once Grenouille is out of sight, Baldini feels relieved. He thinks he never liked Grenouille, and all those years had felt guilty and uneasy, as though someday it might catch up with him the way he used Grenouille. Baldini rationalized that God will forgive him, and that others have cheated their entire lives without suffering punishment. But with Grenouille's departure, Baldini feels secure in his fortune. He vows to give money to Notre-Dame that day in thanks.
Again the characters of the book all seem to have murky morals and see each other mostly as means to achieve their own ends. Baldini understands that the way he used Grenouille was wrong, but feels as though he'll be spared paying a price for his actions because others commit similar crimes daily.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
That afternoon, however, Baldini hears a rumor that the English have declared war on France, which interrupts a shipment of his perfume to London. That night, in bed, he decides to create a new perfume named after the colonies, which should make up for the monetary loss that will come with the war.
Note that Baldini neglects church for the third time, as he instead spends his evening figuring out how to make money without Grenouille in the depressed economy the war will certainly bring.
Themes
Power and Control Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
Baldini falls asleep, never to wake again, as the west side of the Pont-au-Change collapses and falls into the river. Baldini, his wife, and their buildings are the only casualties, as all the servants were out. When Chénier returns drunk, he suffers a nervous breakdown when he realizes that he'll no longer be able to inherit Baldini's shop. The bodies are never found; all that remains for several weeks are a variety of dissipating scents.
Baldini, like all those Grenouille has come into contact with before him, dies an unlucky death—perhaps also as a punishment for the way he exploited Grenouille (as the others did as well). We're reminded that Chénier is just as selfish as Baldini, as his reaction to the tragedy is not sadness at Baldini's death, but panic that his economic fortune is gone with Baldini.
Themes
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon