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Gallimard's Butterfly - Does Womans Gender, Racial and Ethnic Identity Matter to Understand Her True Essence and Value

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The conflicts arising in the play “ M. Butterfly” by David Henry Hwang show the East vs. West ideologies.   This not only involves the main identity but also relates to the politics and the historical moments that take place in the play.   When Gallimard decides that he loves Song, it comes from the idea that she is Asian and will remain subservient. This leads to him believing they should get married.   “ Song: Do I sound silly, a slave, if I say I’ m not worthy?   Gallimard: Yes.   In fact, you do.   No one has loved me like you… .

Song: Rene, we Chinese are realists.   We understand rice, gold, and guns.   You are a diplomat.   Your career is skyrocketing.   Now, what would happen if you divorced your wife to marry a Communist Chinese actress? ”   (Hwang, II, viii).   This example shows several layers of Eastern and Western stereotypes as well as the difference between stereotypes and realism.   Gallimard believes that Song loves him because it is stated that he is not worthy and is like a slave.   This relates to the Eastern concepts of women and the thinking among several.   However, Gallimard believes that this is part of the perfect woman.   When this is followed by the Chinese realist ideology and the Communist statement, Gallimard further supports the idea.   At the same time, the Chinese outlook is one which believes in the decision to divorce for someone new and to take risks without looking at reality.

These conflicts continue to present themselves in forms of stereotypes throughout the play.   This shows that the conflict of stereotypes is also one which is divided by reality and the illusion of the stereotype.

Another aspect which is created with the stereotypes and which creates an illusion coming from the gender differences which are created.   This not only occurs with the main stereotype of the subservient woman and the dominant man.   There are also implications that relate to homosexuality, subservient men and dominant women.   The division which is created is based on culture.   For instance, the subservient woman is also one which takes an Asian identity while subservient men are seen as feminine, specifically with Song posing as a woman the entire time.  

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preview essay on Gallimard's Butterfly - Does Womans Gender, Racial and Ethnic Identity Matter to Understand Her True Essence and Value
  • Pages: 6 (1500 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Literature
  • Level: High School
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