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In M. Butterfly, how does Gallimard’s perception of himself change when he starts a...

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anastana | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted December 4, 2012 at 7:15 PM via web

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In M. Butterfly, how does Gallimard’s perception of himself change when he starts a relationship with Song?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted December 14, 2012 at 7:54 AM (Answer #1)

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Gallimard in this play is presented as rather an unimpressive individual. He himself states that he is an ugly man, and tells the audience he is not "witty or clever." In addition, the audience is told that at school he was voted "least likely to be invited to a party." Yet, however, when his interest in Song is kindled, he begins to change the way he views himself as he finally feels that he is a man and can enjoy the absolute power men have over women. Note the following quote that comes after Gallimard decides to devote himself to his work and to not follow Song around, waiting for her to contact him:

Over the next five weeks, I worked like a dynamo. I stopped going to the opera, I didn't phone or write her. I knew this little flower was waiting for me to call, and, as I wickedly refused to do so, I felt for the first time that rush of power--the absolute power of a man.

Gallimard finds that he is able to see himself in a far more positive light, as through his relationship with Song, and his ability to dominate her, he is able to become the man he has always wanted to be but has never been able to become. He grows in his own estimation. This is of course before he realises the true identity of Song.

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