What are the gender role assumptions that Gallimard and Song make about one another in M. Butterfly? I'm in need of supported quotations from the script and cited page numbers..... if at all possible

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stolperia eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Gallimard assumes that western men are intellectually and physically superior to eastern men in all ways, and that eastern women will automatically be attracted to western men because of this innate superiority. Because of these assumptions, Gallimard finds it easy to presume that Song loves him and enjoys playing the role of dominant member of the partnership. He sees no reason to pretend to be sensitive to or concerned about Song's feelings or apprehensions.

Song Liling: I am slightly afraid of scandal.
Rene Gallimard: What are we doing that's scandalous?
Song Liling: I'm entertaining you in my parlor.
Rene Gallimard: Where I come from, that would hardly be construed as...
Song Liling: You come from France. France is a country living in the modern era, perhaps even ahead of it. China is a nation whose soul is firmly rooted 2000 years in the past. What I do - even pouring tea for you now - it has implications. Please go. Please, Monsieur Gallimard...

Song, playing the role of the eastern woman, gains the information "she" craves by going along with Gallimard's preconceived notions of the appropriate behaviors for one in "her" position. "She" is subservient and yields to Gallimard's orders with the meekness expected of one in "her" position.

Rene Gallimard: You made me see the beauty of the story, of her death. It's, it's pure sacrifice. He's not worthy of it, but what can she do? She loves him so much. It's very beautiful.
Song Liling: Well, yes, to a Westerner.
Rene Gallimard: I beg your pardon?
Song Liling: It's one of your favorite fantasies, isn't it? The submissive Oriental woman and the cruel white man.


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M. Butterfly

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