Perfume

Perfume

Perfume Part 1, Chapter 9 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
At the time of the story, the narrator says, there were thirteen perfumers in Paris; six on each bank and one on the Pont-au-Change, the bridge connecting the right bank with the Ile de la Cité. This street was one of the finest addresses in the city, and the perfumer Giuseppe Baldini lived there.
The thirteen perfumers of Paris feels like a mythical number, and draws on the history of thirteen being an unlucky number in Western culture. It foreshadows what later will happen to Baldini.
Themes
Power and Control Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
Baldini stands still in his shop, surrounded by a cloud of perfume he's created for himself. He has thousands of perfumes and cosmetics in his shop, as well as anything else that has smell, like honey, marinated tuna, and scented stationary.
The description of Baldini's shop hearkens back to Grenouille's inner fortress. It's a fantastical building filled with smells, but manifested in real life, and seemingly not nearly as organized.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
Baldini's shop doesn't have a cellar, so the entire four stories are packed with his wares and the blend of all the scents in the shop is nearly unbearable. While Baldini, his assistants, and his wife no longer detect the odors, anyone else who enters the shop is hit by an intense punch of scent. Many faint or become forgetful, and as such, fewer and fewer customers enter the shop.
Baldini's slow descent is made clear here. His obscene-smelling shop simply is too much for most customers, despite continuing to hold Baldini's interest, if not his actual ability to smell it. We're again asked to compare Baldini's physical shop to Grenouille's inner fortress.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Upward Mobility and Social Movement Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon