M. Butterfly Themes

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Stereotypes and their impact are central to the narrative of “M. Butterfly”. David Henry Hwang delves into the questions of male and female stereotypes, political stereotypes, and the evolution of stereotypes of the East and West in the narrative. As Hwang states in the Afterword discussing the Boursicot trial in 1986, "Bouriscot's assumption was consistent with a certain stereotyped view of Asians as bowing, blushing flowers. I therefore concluded that the diplomat must have fallen in love, not with a person, but with a fantasy stereotype" (Afterward).

The theme of stereotypes is likewise directly addressed in the narrative itself when Song takes the witness stand in Act Three and is asked to define what he terms "international rape mentality" (Act Three, Scene 2). Song explains both the reasons why Gallimard was easy to convince he was a woman, and the tragic error of the West in its perception of the...

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This section contains 551 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the M. Butterfly Study Guide
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