Oriental Illusions and Psychological Behaviors in "M Butterfly" by David H Hwang
Oriental Illusions in M Butterfly by David H Hwang M. Butterfly is written by David Henry Hwang, a Chinese-American born playwright, as well as a librettist, professor, and screenwriter. This story is based on true story about the complex relationship between love and fantasy, cultures and politics, gender and preference Oriental fantasies and illusions are based on two figures: the Oriental female and the Western male. From year to year it is a tendency that people’s thoughts and emotions have been becoming more complicated. Hwang explores all the illusions of life; not only between a Western man and Oriental woman, but also the illusions of power, illusions between the East and the West, sexual illusions. The writer of this research tries to explore something deeper about a conflict between fantasy and reality that lies at the heart of human experience, and how the power of illusion can affect human behaviors. This story can be categorized as the ultimate fetishism of the Oriental in the highest order. Orientalism influences psychological behaviors in society all over the world, including community stereotypes and personal beliefs. Hwang has great ideas and illusions in presenting Western and Eastern stereotypes maybe because he is Asian gay man who was born in America, who carries vivid and sensitive main points from his personal situation. It challenges people’s ideas of gender, identity and love in a world where nothing is what it seems. It proves that everything is temporary, and nothing is real in this world, because everything exists only as people want to perceive it. Wen-hsiang Su, “The Destruction of the Western Ideology: Multiple Voices in David Henry Hwang's M. Butterfly”, 2004. Karren L. Alenier. According to Alenier, the readers of “M Butterfly” are forced to question the myth of the standard gendered roles and ethnic markers. Hwang set out to write a play that would deconstruct the race and gender illusions that the West has adopted in its dealings with Eastern culture. In conclusion it should be said that everything in our life can be turned into illusions. We can fight for freedom, but what kind of freedom do we need? We believe in truthful love, but will it be so important after some time? The main question in somebody's life should be: how strong he believes in these illusions. Wen-hsiang Su said: M. Butterfly challenges our ideas of gender, identity and love in a world where nothing is what it seems. It proves that nothing is real in this world, because everything exists only as we want to perceive it. Word count: 147 words Ma, Sheng-mei. “The Deathly Embrace: Orientalism and Asian American Identity”. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2000. Asian American Studies/Literary Theory by Sheng-mei Ma, a professor of American Thought and Language at Michigan State University and the author of Immigrant Subjectivities in Asian American and Asian Diaspora Literatures (1998). She writes about the analysis of the ways Orientalism speaks through the texts of prominent Asian American writers. Asian American resistance to Orientalism-the Western tradition dealing with the subject of the East-is usually assumed. Sheng-mei Ma shows how the distinguished Asian American writers such as Maxine Hong Kingston, Amy Tan, Frank Chin, and David Henry Hwang reveal that while Asian American identity is constructed in reaction to Orientalism. It discuss about the relation between Orientalism and the representation of the orient and Orientals in adventure comics in the 1930s and 1940s and in the Disney classic movies. Second part is the relation between martial arts and representations of Asian America. It also discusses about how the Disney movie Mulan works to re-orient China and animate teens' dreams, and the dilemma of ethnic writers. Word count: 165 words In “M Butterfly”, the readers are forced to question the myth of the standard gendered roles and ethnic markers. Wen-hsiang Su deconstructs the race and gender illusions that the West has adopted in its dealings with Eastern culture. Complex human emotions and world-changing political events are brought to life on a stage that had no sets to contribute to the understanding of time and place. By the play's unpredictable end, we see what happens when all the roles are reversed, when man becomes woman, East becomes West. Clearly, Hwang intended to play upon an inversion of modern-day stereotypes in this work and does so quite well. Orientalism can be compared to the deconstruction of Western Ideology in affecting the human behaviors, in this case, to create powerful illusions. In order to discuss about how American popular culture portrays the Oriental world, the writer in this research uses Ma Sheng-mei’s suggestions that films, TV programs, video games, and comic strips use the same Orientalist strategy to portray the Oriental world as one marked by strangeness, weirdness, and exotic practices, a world that is "Other" to the Caucasians Americans. Those discussions also will be compared to the famous scholar review by Dorinne Kondo “‘M. Butterfly’: Orientalism, Gender, and a Critique of Essentialist Identity.” Cultural Critique. The main goal of comparing and discussing those literature reviews is basically to have the qualitative cultural approach from each author’s backgrounds, and the possibility to apply in a dynamic civilization. In conclusion it should be said that everything in our life can be turned into illusions. We can fight for freedom, but what kind of freedom do we need. We believe in truthful love, but will it be so important after some time? The main question in somebody's life should be: how strong someone believes in these illusions. All of this role and sexual confusion causes us to re-examine the stereotypes. Are they socially constructed or are they inherent in the person? The heart of the story is in the evolution of the love affair and seduction, manipulation and passions that determine its evolution. We witness unfolding before our eyes the union of reality and fantasy, male and female, heterosexuality and homosexuality, East and West and the other social illusions that are often created the division between the genders. ● If Gallimard truly loved Song for who she is as a person, why would he love her any less just because she turns out to be a man? Did he therefore only love Song because she was a woman? What if in 1980s the sex changes surgery was as a common thing? Is the total make over surgery (reconstruction surgery) one of the attempt to complete the human satisfaction toward Orientalism – Fetishism everlasting fantasy/ illusion? ● How does Oriental fetishism affect people from behaving obedient to something that tends to be illusion? It is okay to live in fantasy even though the truth has been revealed? Is it ok to project the absolute fantasy to other person? And believing that other person will fulfil the illusion? How does the truth demand ultimate sacrifice? ● What does it mean to fall in love? Do we have to use and maximize all 5 senses in order to love someone? Is it okay for someone to block someone else ability to see and use the vision? In this case, Song Liling blocks Gallimard’s visual ability toward her/ him. Song Liling wants Gallimard to feel the love based on the skin touch, the smell, the heart feeling, the mental intimate, sexual pleasures, the beautiful voice and music, and all the senses that people can use, except the visual. It is like blindfolding Gallimard in doing their romance, that he is not able to see the truth. It is the realization of the submissive elements, that sometime requires kinky bondages and blindfolded, and be the slave of love to the person he adores.