Grenouille's days unfold in this way for seven years. In the outside world, war continues to rage and France loses its colonial empire. One winter, Grenouille nearly freezes to death without realizing it. He lies in his purple room for five days, and when he finally wakes, is so cold he can't move. He is saved only by a turn in the weather. Grenouille would've lived forever within his empire on the mountain if disaster hadn't struck and driven him back out into the world.
The style of writing here leads the reader to question what could've possibly happened to make Grenouille leave. He was happy enough in his cave that he nearly froze lounging in his inner world and rejecting the outside world entirely. The outside world, meanwhile, is changing drastically.