“M. Butterfly” by David Henry Hwang

Tony Award winner for best play, Hwang’s play is based on both the fictional play “Madame Butterfly” and the true tale of the French diplomat, Bernard Bouriscot, who feel in loved with a Chinese actress who subsequently turned out to not only be a spy but also a man. I imagine my professor picked “M. Butterfly” in order to cause us to think further about gender stereotypes in China and the United States, and I think there is quite be a food for thought that would make a great discussion (if we actually had discussions).

One of the things I know about my reading habits is that I really don’t enjoy reading plays, but I actually enjoyed reading “M. Butterfly” for the most part. What made it difficult was the fact that I have never read or seen or heard of “Madame Butterfly”. Within the play, Hwang recaps what occurs in “Madame Butterfly” and how it relates to the story at hand, but it wasn’t enough for me.

I do think that there is an interesting discussion here about gender roles and Orientalism, and I’d liked to see the play (or the movie). However, like I said, I don’t like to read plays.

Book Mentioned:

  • Hwang, David Henry. M. Butterfly. New York: Penguin, 1989. Print. 100 pgs. ISBN: 0452272599. Source: PaperBackSwap.


  1. Just wanted to come and apologize for my comments that upset you on Jackie’s blog, Christina! Reading them over, they were really rude and stereotypical, so I apologize for making light of your blog and work.

    Onto this book- I also have trouble reading plays, though I enjoyed A Streetcar Named Desire and The Crucible.


    1. Aarti, thank you for the apology. I appreciate you coming over here and telling me that.

      Both “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “The Crucible” are in my TBR pile, but I think I’m going to try get them on tape and listen to them. Maybe that would help me better as I’ve found I enjoy (and comprehend) plays more when I listen/see them rather than read them.


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