In the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries most of the major European powers were part of this colonial grab for power and territory; and after the American Civil War, so was the United States. Almost immediately this translated into an East/West schism in which both sides harbored bias about each other, never really understanding the motivations of each other's actions. This is the world in which Pinkerton arrives -- a Nagasaki that has barely opened its doors to the West, but sees Western naivete and cultural values such that it is easy to manipulate them for money. In the case of the French, their long history of conflict in Indochina was seen by the Chinese as a perfect example of the Marxian view of the oppressed. Songs masters thought nothing of using her to glean information as well as disseminate disinformation. After all, Song was two things despised by the current Chinese government: an artist and a homosexual. She was disposable, and only useful to a point. Goro sees Cio-Cio-San as a commodity and has found Prince Yamadori, a wealthy Japanese noble who is somehow entranced by this Americanized Geisha.
And then we have the matter of love; Cio-Cio-San does not "love" Pinkerton in the modern sense; for she does not know him. He is a symbol -- a way for a young and naive girl to recapture respectability, and she certainly believes the stories of romantic love and gives herself to him. Suzuki is clearly devoted and loves Cio-Cio-San; Pinkerton, we are not certain, is capable of love, even with Kate, his American wife. He seems to be doing the proper things expected of him as an Officer, but certainly not out of any internal morality. This, however, does not seem to be the case with Song and Gallimard -- what began as an obsession, an itch if you will, turns into love, at least on some level -- two decades is more than a sexual dalliance. Yet, two things puzzle the audience: how could Gallimard not know Song was a man, even with the lights off, and if he truly loved Song, why would that matter in the end?
Finally, it is in the finale of both works that we find the pathos of similarity. Both Gallimard and Cio-Cio-San must decide to live with dishonor or die with what semblance of honor they can elicit. This, for...
Song utters the same words as Pinkerton -- "Butterfly, Butterfly," and both live. Pinkerton will forever be shamed when he looks at his son and realizes his shameful treatment of Cio-Cio-San; Song lives, likely proof that the world is empty without what turned out to be the love of her life.
Groos, a. The Puccini Companion, Lieutenant F.B. Pinkerton, Problems in the Genesis and Performance of Madama Butterfly. New York: Norton, 1994.
Hwang, DH M. Butterfly. New York: Dramatists Play Services, Inc., 1998.
Kebede, a. "David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly - a Critique of Western Attitudes Towards Asia." 18 October 2009. Suite101.Com. http://north-american-playwrights.suite101.com/article.cfm/david_henry_hwangs_m_butterfly
Levin, C. "Sexuality as Masquerade: Reflections on David Cronenberg's M. Butterfly." The Canadian Journal of Psychoanalysis 12.1 (2004): 115+.
Long, John Luther. "Madame Butterfly." 2009. Xroad.Virginia.Edu. http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/LONG/header.html
Loti, Pierre. "Madame Chrysantheme." 1908. Google.Com. http://books.google.com/books?id=iwUMAAAAIAAJ
Puccini, Giacomo. "Madama Butterfly-Synopsis." 2005. Music With Ease. http://www.musicwithease.com/puccini-butterfly-synopsis.html
Riley, J. Chinese Theatre and the Actor in Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Madama Butterfly (1898) was a story from John Luther Long, an American lawyer who wrote novels based on the recollections from his sister, Jennie, who had been to Japan with her missionary husband. Butterfly was published by Century magazine, and did indeed deal with the relationship between an American Naval Officer and a Nagasaki Geisha (Long). The 1887 novel was written by Pierre Loti, the pseudonym of Julien Viaud, a French naval officer and writer. Loti was quite a prolific popular novelist, and the theme of West/East interaction was something that attracted Puccini and his librettist, David Belasco. See: (Loti).
In traditional Chinese opera, women were banned from the stage and all roles played by male performers. Female roles were called dan. Chinese opera is quite symbolic, using masks and costumes to portray emotions and behind the scenes intrigue. Often a traditional Chinese Opera will be a "play within a play," making it the ideal symbol for both intrigue and deceit. See: (Riley).
We have not focused on the theme of sexuality in this essay, but for an interesting look at that aspect, see "Sexuality as Masquerade" (Levin).
Colonialism & Resistance There is a scene in the documentary film Jane Goodall's Path in which an elder living on Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota is interviewed. Looking directly at the camera, the elder tells how he lost his sixteen-year-old son to suicide. His bewilderment apparent, he tells how many other young people living in Pine Ridge have killed themselves, too. He reveals that the rate of alcoholism is 90%.
Moreover, some, like the former Italian Somaliland, are written off as failed states where terrorism flourishes (Johnson pp). Uganda and Kenya, that were once considered paradises are now increasingly poor and dangerous (Johnson pp). Black majority rule has failed virtually everywhere, and rapid population growth, indebtedness, and diseases such as AIDS, have brought additional misery, however, the main failure has been political (Johnson pp). Many of these countries, such as
Colonialism and Imperialism in Heart of Darkness, Things Fall Apart, And Apocalypse Now The shadow of colonization: Projecting European anxieties onto nonwhite peoples The Jungian concept of 'the shadow' is not that 'the shadow' is inherently dark or evil: rather, it is a hidden part of an individual or collective subconscious that is a repository of all of the aspects of society wishes to hide. The shadow' may contain elements of forbidden
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(p.135). Finally, the author ends the chapter with a discussion of whether colonialism helped or hurt Africa. The author makes a very valiant and effective attempt to remain neutral and to present the information in an unbiased manner. However, the author makes several assumptions about the material presented. First, the author makes the assumption that the Europeans were exploitative when the colonized Africa. While acknowledging that Europeans may have legitimately
He notes that "anticolonialist critics have sought to "demystify the national myths" of empire and to write an alternative history of the colonial encounter" by focusing on "the politics of the early modern English-Native American encounter" with an eye towards "moments of textual rupture and contradiction in early modern texts such as The Tempest" (Cefalu 85). One may identify the scene of Prospero's accusation as one such moment, and