Gallimards Happiness: The Gap between Actuality and Fantasy

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Gallimard’s Happiness: The Gap between Actuality and Fantasy The play M. Butterfly, by David Henry Hwang is a reflection of Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly. In the play, the occurrences are often the total opposite of what they seem to be. It is based on the improbable scenario where a French diplomat gives government secrets to his lover who he believes is a woman and turns out to be a man. Hwang, uses this incident to show just how someone could confuse gender in spite of the obvious. In order for a man to be so utterly fooled, he must intentionally remain ignorant. However, not only must such a person not want to know the truth, but he must also live in a world of downright imagination to be unaware of the pure facts. This is only feasible because the western man has stereotypical beliefs of Oriental women. Hwang uses the art of illusion and foreshadowing to portray the relationship between the East and the West as well. One of the main themes from the play is the gap between the real and imagined women in Rene Gallimard’s life. Gallimard is truly an insecure and sympathetic character that is easily influenced and gets his ideas of women through porn, his friend Mark, and Puccini’s opera. Scene V starts with a depiction of Gallimard's early perceptions of women, which are derived from the many images of pin-up girls he saw in pornographic magazines. Hwang demonstrates from adolescence, Gallimard's correlation to women is solely that of fantasy images, as he has barely any experience with real women. Gallimard connects the character Butterfly in Puccini's opera, which affirms that she is not worth the few cents he paid for her, to the pictures of women in "girlie magazines.” He states, ‘‘In real life, women who put their total worth at less than sixty-six cents are quite hard to find. The closest we come is in the pages of these magazines ... For three or four
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