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M. Butterfly Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 85 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of M. Butterfly.
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Themes

Race and Racism

Hwang set out to write a play that would deconstruct the race and gender stereotypes that the West has adopted in its dealings with Eastern culture. First, he had to show these stereotypes in operation. Negative Western images of the Chinese occur frequently throughout the play. Gallimard complains that the Chinese are arrogant, a view which he learned in Paris, where, according to him, it is a common belief. He and his wife also appear to despise Chinese culture, and complain about how the Chinese value its great antiquity, as if age conveyed some special distinction. And Toulon, the French Ambassador, is quick to point out that although he may live in China, he does not live with the Chinese, as if to do so would be beneath him.

Deeper than these derogatory perceptions of a foreign culture, however, is the implication that Western cultural stereotyping...

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This section contains 1,271 words
(approx. 5 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our M. Butterfly Study Guide
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M. Butterfly from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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