Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

church influence on the novel

how does it influence the novel

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The Church had the belief that infants, like our protagonist, were not fully human beings. Father Terrier argues from his theological position, which might seem no less cruel, that infants are, even when baptized, not complete souls. This idea of the inhumanness of infants, especially inconvenient ones, means that babies like Grenouille can be given to loveless tenders like Madame Gaillard, and then worked nearly to death when apprenticed, as Grenouille is treated by Grimal,

"Impossible! It is absolutely impossible for an infant to be possessed by the devil. An infant is not yet a human being; it is a prehuman being and does not yet possess a fully developed soul. Which is why it is of no interest to the devil."

Father Terrier to Jeanne Bussie, p. 10