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M. Butterfly

             There are a few different themes in Hwang's M. One is the Western stereotyping of Asia. How all of the westerners are always saying that Asia is very submissive, weak, and a place that wants to be dominated. Hwang shows that the East could be very similar to the West, a "masculine, big gun, big industry and big money place" (pg. 1712). Hwang hopes to break the old butterfly myth of Asian submissiveness to western dominance. This is why Song dresses up as a woman and acts like the typical needy oriental woman, to lure Rene Gallimard into her trap. This ties into another theme of the story, sexual identity. For twenty years Gallimard was deeply in love with Song, whom he only thought to be a submissive, innocent oriental woman.
             Song knows that the western man wants a weak, oriental girl. This is why she puts on the act that she does. An act that portrays herself as being very frail, needy, and "modest" as she says. Gallimard likes the act that she puts on. However, he does not know that it is an act. He is being the stereotypical westerner, falling straight into the trap that Song wants him to fall into. .
             As the play progresses, Song keeps playing her cute, frail act that completely takes over Gallimard. In a certain scene, Gallimard requests to see her naked. She uses her submissive, modest ways to respond, saying " No, Rene. Don't couch your request in sweet words. Be yourself - a cad - and know that my love is enough, that I submit - submit to the worst you can give me. (Pause.) Well, come. Strip me. Whatever happens, know that you have willed it. Our love, in your hands. I"m helpless before my man. (pg. 1701)". This stuns Gallimard, never has Song been so willing to go against her modest ways. Gallimard refuses because he is afraid that if he takes away the one thing that attracts him so much to her, her modesty, then it will destroy the relationship. He knows that men want the innocent oriental girl, and if she is no longer innocent, then the attraction will be lost, or at least faded.

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