M. Butterfly Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What song from Madame Butterfly underscores the scene in which Gallimard is reading Song's letters?

2. Why did Gallimard get scared when Isabelle screamed that she was coming?

3. What is different about the night that occurs in Scene 10?

4. What does Song say is one of a Westerner's favorite fantasies?

5. Where does Scene 13 take place?

Short Essay Questions

1. In the plot of the opera Madame Butterfly, what is the relationship between Pinkerton and Sharpless? How does that story relate to Gallimard?

2. What are Chin's plans for Song after her time in the commune?

3. After seeing Song for the first time on stage, how does Gallimard react to her?

4. How does Song seem to feel when compared to Western women? How does this relate to her own education and upbringing?

5. How does the nature of Gallimard and Song's relationship develop through Act 1?

6. How has the relationship between Marc and Gallimard changed during the course of the play?

7. What did Song mean when she said the fascination Caucasian men have for Oriental women is always "imperialist?"

8. What happens when Gallimard sees Song naked for the first time?

9. Why did Toulon send Gallimard back to France?

10. Why does Song speak in Italian at the end of Act 1?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Write an essay on the theme of parenthood in the play.

1. Why does Helga want to have a baby? Why does she want Gallimard to see a doctor? Why is there conflict over this?

2. Does Gallimard want to be a father? Why or why not?

3. What are Song's motives for "mothering" Gallimard's child? How does introducing a baby change the stakes for Gallimard and Song?

Essay Topic 2

Hwang wrote M. Butterfly after hearing details on the true account of a French diplomat falling for a cross-dressing Chinese spy. However, the spectrum of ideas presented in this play are Hwang's. Write an essay summing up the larger ideas of this play.

1. What are the political themes of this play? What did Hwang hope to achieve by resenting them dramatically? Was he successful?

2. What are the gender issues associated with this story? How is the perception of the feminine/masculine a major thematic element?

3. Dramatically, what did Hwang attempt to present with this play? What are we as the audience supposed to walk away from this story feeling or wanting?

Essay Topic 3

At the conclusion of Act 2, Song asks the audience to take a break while he makes his physical change from woman to man. He fully removes his makeup, wig and kimono to change into his male ensemble. Song's transformation is not limited to the physical. Even though we as an audience knew Song was a man for several scenes, the full reveal has dramatic implications.

1. Describe in detail the transformation Song makes physically, emotionally and characteristically. How does he talk to people differently? How does he treat Gallimard in Act 3 as opposed to Acts 1 and 2?

2. What is the symbolism of taking an intermission to watch song take off his makeup and change?

3. Why do you believe Hwang chose this moment in the play to fully reveal Song as a man? How would the play have changed if we had seen him as a man earlier? What would be the dramatic implications of withholding the knowledge of Song's true sex until this moment?

(see the answer keys)

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