David Henry Hwang's M Butterfly Essays

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David Henry Hwang's M Butterfly

"I've played out the events of my life night after night, always searching for a new ending to my story, one where I will leave this cell and return forever to my Butterfly's arms." (Hwang 3.3.1-4) With these words of David Henry Hwang's play M Butterfly, we realize that we have just been staring directly into the memories of Rene Gallimard. The fact that Rene Gallimard serves as the narrator of his memories in the play M
Butterfly delivers an impression of the character behind Gallimard than could ever be achieved by the viewing of the screenplay. The existence of
Marc in the play as seen from Gallimard's perspective, the fact that
Gallimard serves as the main organizer of ideas in
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Glimpses like these give the reader incredible insight into the mind of Gallimard, which are very useful to explain later actions in the story. A narrator builds a friendship with the reader, a person that the audience can trust. We see the events from
Gallimard's side of things, which are much more distorted in the play than the events that occur in the movie. The removal of the narrator in the movie leaves the viewer to develop GallimardUs personality for themselves, rather than get to know how he thinks. This puts the viewer at an overall disadvantage for understanding the true meaning behind M
Butterfly.

Another significant part of the play that is omitted from the movie is GallimardUs best friend from school, Marc. Marc is described as a Rwomanizing cadS (1.3. 81) by Gallimard, giving the reader an obvious first impression. He is developed as a character that is there for
Gallimard in times of need, and serves as someone that Gallimard can go to in times of need. A friend like this does not exist in the movie, and the viewer gets the sense that Gallimard is very quick in decision making and has little doubt about his actions. In the play, however, we know that this is not the case. There are several cases where Marc talks to
Gallimard in his head, and reasoning for decisions is explained. For example, Marc says RAll your life youUve waited for a beautiful

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