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. How much time has passed since Gallimard's last meeting with Song by Scene 13?

2. What does Song promise to Gallimard after her outburst?

3. How was the woman Isabelle important in Gallimard's life?

4. In Madame Butterfly, how old is Butterfly?

5. What do the three people in Scene 2 think of Gallimard?

Short Essay Questions

1. In the story of Madame Butterfly, how is Butterfly treated by Pinkerton?

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

3. Why does Gallimard want to see Song fully naked?

4. Why does Toulon approve of Gallimard's infidelity?

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

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

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

8. Is it ever clear if Gallimard knew Song was a man?

9. How does the Chinese opera differ from the performance Gallimard saw at the ambassador's house?

10. How does Renee's candor about sexuality and the human anatomy differ from Galliamard's?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Gallimard claims he is pure imagination. Write an essay on what Hwang meant to portray with this plot development.

1. Do you believe Gallimard knew Song was a man? Cite examples from the story that back your argument.

2. What changes when Gallimard finally sees Song naked? How does he treat Song? How does his opinion on Song changed? According to Gallimard, what was the mistake that Song made?

3. How does Song react to Gallimard's attitude toward him?

4. How does the fantasy world different from the reality of Gallimard's situation? Which does he choose? Why?

5. What does Gallimard mean when he is "pure imagination?"

Essay Topic 2

The character of Comrade Chin represents the Communist politics of China. She enforces the law and the needs of her country, which causes many of the plot elements in M. Butterfly.

1. How does Comrade Chin represent the politics of the time period? How does she represent the changing values of the country?

2. How does Chin differ from the fantasy that Song puts forth regarding the ideal woman? What does she think of Song's role in her society? What does she think of Song's tactics? How does she react to Song's opinion on women?

3. Why does Chin have Song beaten? How do Chin's actions affect the plot?

Essay Topic 3

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?

(see the answer keys)

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