Perfume

Perfume

Perfume Part 1, Chapter 7 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Grenouille's world of the surrounding neighborhoods is a utopia of scent. He revels in the human and animal smells and can dissect the mixture of odors into individual scents, which gives him immense joy. He often stands and waits for an interesting scent to pass his nose, and then follows it to its source. When he is finished smelling the streets, he goes to the market of Les Halles, the bustle of which he can experience through scent even when it is empty. From the west comes the scent of the sea, which Grenouille finds immensely wonderful. He often thinks about sitting in the crow's nest of a ship, experiencing the smells one day, but (the narrator says) Grenouille will never see the ocean.
For the first time, the reader sees Grenouille as being close to happy, getting to follow his nose and the scents of the city. This is another instance where the narration of the scents is graphic and visceral, adding to the sense of grotesque magical realism. The reader is also again asked to feel sympathy for Grenouille, as we're allowed to see his dream of being at sea, but we know now that this is something that will never happen.
Themes
Power and Control Theme Icon
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
When Grenouille exhausts the smells of his neighboring quarters, he expands and begins exploring the other side of the river, where rich people live. This is where Grenouille first smells perfume. He is immediately able to dissect these perfumes as he'd done with other smells, but he finds most of them coarse and thinks he'd be able to do better if he had access to ingredients.
Grenouille hasn't yet used the term "genius" to describe himself, but he's already feeling superior to those around him. This feeling of superiority will develop into his raging misanthropy later in the novel, and help him flesh out his conceptualization of other people as stupid.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
Grenouille doesn't differentiate between "good" or "bad" scents; he simply desires to possess all that he can. In his mind he creates and destroys new scents with the basics he's gathered, similarly to how a child plays with blocks.
Grenouille already shows his genius for constructing an “inner world” and his aptitude for creating perfumes, as he mixes his own scents in his mind.
Themes
Growing Up and Becoming Human Theme Icon
Power and Control Theme Icon
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon