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Pat Swenson, CSUN - M. Butterfly
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Prof Pat Swenson

Campus Email: pat.swenson@csun.edu

Elements of Fiction

Literary Theory

Myth & Archetype: The Hero's Quest

ProfPat's Main Page

ProfPat's Education Links

Department Information

Department of English

708 Sierra Tower
Phone: 818.677.3431

English Department Website

Liberal Studies Program

EA 100
Phone: 818.677.3300

Liberal Studies Website

M. Butterfly by David Henry Hwang - Discussion Guide



Rene Gallimard, Song Liling, Marc, Renee, Toulon, Helga, Comrade Chin, Pinkerton, Consul Sharpless


Person-against-self - an internal conflict of feelings.

Person-against-person - the typical protagonist vs. antagonist scenario.

Person-against-society - the protagonist battles against the larger organizations of society
(or a system of beliefs held by society).

Person-against-nature - the protagonist is threatened by a component of nature.


Eastern vs. Western Culture

Cultural & Racial Stereotypes


Illusions & Love

Infidelity, Mistresses, Geisha Girls

Madame Butterfly Opera

Deception, Seduction & Scandal

Communism, Spying, Vietnam, China

Aspects of the Theatrical Stage Production

Use of Dramatic Questions – dramatic hooks, devices to hold the attention of the audience. (Examples include: Will he come? Who did it? Will he or she succeed?)

Subdivisions: Scene & Act Construction – effect on plot pace, tension.

Experimental Theatrical Staging

The visual/audio production as stated in the stage direction (staging, lighting, backdrop, sound effects, music, etc.)