Topics for Further Study

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Is there any truth to the suggestion made in M. Butterfly that Western stereotypes of the East helped to produce the American involvement in Vietnam? What was the official reason that America embarked on the Vietnam war, and what was the situation there in 1961, when much of M. Butterfly takes place?

Do you think that white male readers will identify with Gallimard? Is he a sympathetic figure or someone to be despised? Is there any character in this play with whom Asian-Americans could identify?

What was the Cultural Revolution in China, and how does Hwang make use of it in the plot of M. Butterfly?

Research the experience of Asian immigrants, especially Chinese and Japanese, in the United States since the nineteenth century. Have they been, or are they still, subject to racial stereotyping by whites What consequences do stereotypes about different races have in a multicultural society?

Describe some of the challenges faced by interracial couples today. Is it possible for two people from different cultures to fully understand each other, or are misperceptions, as in M. Butterfly, inevitable?

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