Perfume

Perfume

Perfume Part 2, Chapter 31 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The following day, Grenouille fakes a fainting spell and collapses. The marquis, entirely beside himself, calls for servants and fans Grenouille with a fan drenched in violet perfume. Grenouille thrashes and is finally able to say that the perfume will kill him. As he calms, he explains that violet perfume, while lovely, is made from violet roots and must have an effect on someone suffering from fluidum letale poisoning. He asks if he may concoct a perfume that's light and airy, saying that the new perfume would make him immune to future fainting spells.
Again, this moment drives home the idea that Grenouille is both acting for the sake of the marquis and using the marquis to accomplish his own goals. It's not clear yet to the reader exactly what Grenouille is after by asking to create a new perfume, but by using the marquis' theory for his own gain, Grenouille is guaranteed to get his wish.
Themes
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
The narrator notes for the reader that Grenouille's speech was recorded using proper speech, but in reality Grenouille's outburst was an eruption of blubbering, coughing, and gasping, accompanied by rolls of the eyes.
While Grenouille learned language in order to pass for normal, here he knowingly forgets it in order to add to the drama and effect of the outburst.
Themes
Power and Control Theme Icon
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Taillade-Espinasse, impressed, thinks that he too is probably infected by the violet perfume. He feels great affection towards Grenouille for bringing it to his attention, and screams at the servants to remove all violet perfume from the manor and for Grenouille to be taken to a perfumer in the city, which the narrator notes is exactly what Grenouille's intent was.
Taillade-Espinasse now attributes his own ailments to the use of violet perfume, following Grenouille's plan exactly. This plays into the idea that scent and perfume have great power over people.
Themes
Power and Control Theme Icon
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
In the local perfumer Runel's shop, which isn't well equipped by any means, Grenouille sets about creating the scent of a human being. Grenouille creates a disgusting base for his perfume of cat feces, old cheese, rotten egg, and civet, and then adds fresh scents such as peppermint and eucalyptus, which temper the awful smell. The floral and oily smells on top of the horrific base smell like life. Grenouille quickly creates a copy of the floral half of his perfume, puts it into bottles, and then applies his first perfume to himself.
The components of Grenouille's human base only serve to reinforce his misanthropy. The ingredients are disgusting, which allows the reader the opportunity to regard the scent of humans in a similar way to how Grenouille regards them. Further, it heightens the grotesqueness of the novel by making humans appear especially disgusting.
Themes
Growing Up and Becoming Human Theme Icon
Creative Genius vs. Convention and Assimilation Theme Icon
Scent, Sight, and the Grotesque Theme Icon
Get the entire Perfume LitChart as a printable PDF.
Perfume.pdf.medium