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M. Butterfly - Essay Example

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Butterfly”, David H. Hwang has subverted the usual, more accurately, the traditional gender role and relation to divulge the true temperament of the Western hegemonic predisposition to feminize the Orient. Noticeably these masculine self-portrayal and…
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M. Butterfly

al character Gallimard indulge into the masked male-geisha, Linling’s love, and face the following exposure of Linling’s real gender, Hwang has manipulated a unique theatrical space for his readers to experience the extremity of the West’s response to the orients’ self-proclaimed masculine activities. The development of the West’s stereotypical approach towards the feminization of the Asians, the meek orients in the West hegemonic language, as an overriding idea of the play primarily revolves around the protagonist’s tragically defective tendency to believe the male-geisha Liling as a woman. While at one edge of this gender-confused liaison, Gallimard characterizes the West’s customary narrow-minded and hegemonic attitudes towards the Asians, their culture and nations, Liling serves as an agent of the masked oriental manliness.
Gallimard as a representative of the West hegemonic masculine self is prone to accept Song Liling as a girl. Indeed his perception of Song is a typical extension of his assumption of the Chinese and Asians in general. Again since Hwang’s protagonist habitually is inclined to stereotype the Chinese women as subservient, compliant, submissive, and modest, the stereotypical feminine role, flawlessly played by Song Liling, keeps the truth of Song’s identity away from being revealed to Gallimard, without much effort. Indeed Hwang’s protagonist’s hegemonic and typical colonial attitude towards oriental cultures determines most part the relationship between Gallimard and Song. Gallimard’s tendency to stereotype Asian women is evident in the following lines: “She is outwardly bold and outspoken, yet her heart is shy and afraid. It is the Oriental in her at war with her Western education.” (27) The play’s theme is serious and finally it turns into tragic. But the development of the theme is such that Hwang’s play cannot but assume a slight comic tone due to reversed gender relation. Yet in the play, Hwang’s primary ... Read More
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