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What is the literary function of Baldini in "Perfume" by Patrick Suskind?

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Introduction

What is the literary function of Baldini in Perfume by Patrick Suskind? Patrick Suskind wrote the novel Perfume set in pre-revolutionary France. This era had strong connections to ideas like the Enlightenment, scientific progress and the progression of society. Suskind used characters like Guiseppe Baldini in order to mock the modern society and criticize the behaviour of the people. Also Suskind uses Baldini in order to develop the character of Grenouille in the readers? minds. In Baldini?s first appearance in the novel we are introduced to his small perfumery ?Pont au Change?. It is described in great detail as being sophisticated, which contrasts the character as he is far from the sophisticated perfumer he makes himself out to be. In reality he is only second best to other perfumers and uses Grenouille in order to seem better. Suskind uses this nature of Baldini to mock the values of pre-revolutionary France. ...read more.

Middle

As we know Grenouille?s defining trait is his sense of smell and how it captivates him, but before meeting Baldini, Grenouille never had a way of preserving the scent. This is what Baldini teaches him which then, of course, forms the basis of the next part of Grenouille?s life. In chapter 9, before even meeting Grenouille, Suskind already writes ?perfumed sealing waxes?fill a room with scent for more than a century.? This is what I mean by preserving scents and this is what Baldini teaches Grenouille. When Grenouille learns this skill he begins killing more and not only that but also preserving the scent of the person he kills and allowing him to make his own perfumes. All thanks to Baldini. Further, Suskind uses Baldini in order to both mirror and foil Grenouille?s character. Through Baldini we get to delve into Grenouille more than we would have otherwise. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is clear from the moment they meet and Grenouille is the more talented perfumer. He is obviously the more creative and risk-taking creator whereas Baldini is very much stuck the ways of the old and traditional, also linking back to how Baldini is used to mock society. Also we can definitely see how Grenouille is the more dedicated and committed perfumer when he ?occupied himself at night with the art of distillation? whereas no such thing is said about Baldini. I believe that Baldini is a key character in Perfume and the main catalyst as I mentioned earlier. He is the main reason that Grenouille goes on to do what he does later on the novel even if that is not made explicably clear. He reflects so many key themes in the storyline, even reflecting Grenouille himself at certain points. Baldini?s inclusion in the novel by Suskind definitely aids the reader in understand many aspects of the novel, not just in the characters of himself and Grenouille but for society and its values. ...read more.

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