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"The relationship between individuals mirrors the relationship between nations." Discuss this statement with specific reference to the film.

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Introduction

M. Butterfly. "The relationship between individuals mirrors the relationship between nations." Discuss this statement with specific reference to the film. "The relationship between individuals mirrors the relationship between nations." In the light of this statement, M. Butterfly, a film about a French diplomat, Rene Gallimard, being seduced by the Chinese opera actor, Song Liling, who masqueraded as an Oriental ideal woman, evolves into a tale exposing the East-West misconceptions by using the intricacies of male-female relations. Relationship between eastern nations and western nations, and that among western nations, is mirrored by the two relationships between individuals respectively: the relationship between Rene Gallimard and Song Liling, and the relationship between Rene Gallimard and Lady Baden. Relationship between Eastern nations and Western nations is mirrored by the relationship between Rene Gallimard and Song Liling. Many after watching the film have asked, "how is it possible for Gallimard to be in love with a man for twenty years, and believe all the time that he is a woman?" The answer to this question is Gallimard's misunderstanding of the East. ...read more.

Middle

It's very beautiful." The West sees the East as stereotype, as western men desire the submission of the delicate, obedient Oriental women, which western women can never satisfy. When the relationship of Gallimard and Song further developed, Gallimard was blinded by his ignorance and misunderstanding towards the East. During the night when Gallimard visited Song after he has got promoted to vice-consul, Song said to Gallimard, " please let me keep my clothes on...modesty is so important to the Chinese." Gallimard believed it and respected Song's "modesty", and he did towards the end of the relationship, which was also pointed out by Song, who has unmasked himself as a man in the court, "he was very responsive to my ancient Oriental ways of love, all of which are invented by myself, just for him." This reflected that the West believes that the East is exactly like the image in their own fantasies. The conflation of the China and Japan of the West is also disclosed at the end of the film, where Gallimard painted his face with pure white. ...read more.

Conclusion

Gallimard made use of the idea of slave and master, which he thought himself as master and Song as the slave, to force Song to remove her clothes for his will. The relationship among Western nations can also be mirrored by the relationship between Gallimard and Lady Baden. When Gallimard's relationship with Song is going on smoothly and his career has got a boost, Gallimard also had a rather short-term relationship with Lady Baden. This somehow showed that Gallimard has the ambition to conquer Lady Baden, who was described by the men in the party as "...built like the Forbidden City. Everyone can look but no one gets inside." This is a reflection of the ambition of the Western nations to conquer each other. Lady Baden, as a western woman, is portrayed as strong as the men, she was already naked when Gallimard hid himself in the bathroom, and this is again the idea of masculinity of the West. To conclude, the relationship between Gallimard and Song mirrors the misconceptions between the West and the East, while the relationship between Gallimard and Lady Baden shows the ambition among the Western nations. 1 ...read more.

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