Lit-260-02_ M. Butterfly V.2.pdf - Soriano 1 Harley R Soriano Professor Jay Gates Literature-260-02 Introduction to Literary Study David H Hwang Loses

Lit-260-02_ M. Butterfly V.2.pdf - Soriano 1 Harley R...

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Soriano 1 Harley R. Soriano Professor Jay Gates Literature-260-02: Introduction to Literary Study May 22, 2019 David H. Hwang Loses His Play to the Public: The Authrial Character in M. Butterfly A Chinese-American playwright wrote M. Butterfly by using the shortcomings of the disgraced French diplomat, Bernard Boursicot, as the foundation for his play. In the afterword written on September, 1988, D.H. Hwang states that he did not intend for the play to be used as ammunition for the anti-American camp but instead considers it a “plea to all sides to cut through our respective layers of cultural and sexual misperception, to deal with one another truthfully for our mutual good, from the common and equal ground we share as humans beings” (Hwang 100). M. Butterfly , to the contrary, has been used to critique Western attitudes towards the East even after nearly thirty years since its inception. The playwright’s afterword section has left me with a bilateral set of questions; does D.H. Hwang effectively cut through layers of cultural and sexual misperception in his work M. Butterfly or does he utilize the West’s misperceptions against it to convey a separate message, one where the West is the home of the ‘foreign devils’? Whereas D.H. Hwang claims solidarity with the common understanding of cultures and sexual identity in order to benefit everyone, his play conveys a separate message; an intentional fallacy. The underlying message, disregarding what D.H. Hwang says, is made clear through Song Liling in “her” trial and “her” actions throughout various scenes in the play. This, in retrospect, produces an implied author or an authorial character which according to the textbook Ways of Reading is a “critical term used to distinguish between the real author and the
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Soriano 2 impression produced by some texts that there is a designing consciousness voice within the text itself” (Montgomery et al. 346). This intentional fallacy presented in the epilogue known as the “afterword” is one in which the reader needs to know absolutely nothing about the playwright or his intentions to understand the East-West dichotomy because at the end of the play readers are left with the idea that white men are foreign devils in the East, CCP values work to emasculate the West similarly to how the West wishes to emasculate the East, and a series of ‘low blows’ to the institution of heterosexual marriage. In attempting to bridge together two camps, those professing Western dominance over Eastern nations and those critiquing the West for its misperceptions of the East, he has only offered more ammunition for the latter as there is plenty of source material that can be applied to a real-world context which undermines the former camp.
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