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Subject: Re: Pinkerton
From: Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Max Paley <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 1 Feb 2017 00:27:30 -0800
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I think you're right - each of them wants the other's culture but each expect the other to represent their own.

I mean that Pinkerton wants to act like a rich Japanese man and hire a "wife" he can be done with lightly. He makes this clear to Sharpless in proposing a toast to the day has a "real" wife who is American. He expects Butterly to "know her place" as a geisha and understand this. He wants it to be a "get in and get out."

Butterfly wants to be like an American wife, secure that the marriage is a bond that can't be easily broken. She expects Pinkerton to treat marrying her like an American would, who is marrying an American wife. She makes this clear to Sharpless, Goro and Yamadori. She expects forever after.

Butterfly would seem to throw a wrench into the works when she tells Pinkerton about changing religion. The big question is, what goes on in his head when she tells him this because he gives little response. He doesn't say "gosh, you shouldn't have done that." It gets further shoved in his face with the Bonze's action, where his curt dismissal further ensures that, once he leaves, she's really hung out to dry.

Is the blood flow redirected from his brain to another part of his body? Is he just that stupid? Does the realization of how much more complex the situation has gotten cause him to go into denial and block it all out mentally?

The duet that ends the act has him reassuring her that she isn't alone, but he knows she will be. He doesn't really promise her anything - he's completely focused on enjoying the moment. Maybe he's a narcissist who doesn't really care. Or maybe he's someone who does just live in the moment and can't really think ahead. Again, maybe he's just stupid.

Max Paley

Sent from my iPad

> On Jan 31, 2017, at 22:08, R PRADA <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> 
> Ok I had to think about this. Both CioCioSan and Pinkerton were operating out of fantasy. His belief was that he could have an idyll with a geisha, like playing house. It was a custom currently in vogue. He was young in matters of the heart.
> 
> Butterfly thought she could marry, and bond, accepting his religion and culture. She expected to live in America and have the life of an American wife, a much more liberated and respectable life than was available to her in Japan. She thought the American way with marriage would give her a happily ever after.
> 
> They never talked to each other, so each projected on to each other.
> 
> I have not read the original Belasco, but that is what I took out of the score.
> 
> In this story Suzuki and the Consul are the grownups.
> 
> The Bonz and all the relatives are also bound by stereotypical responses. But the Bonz is actually dealing with reality when he finds a prince
> for his niece.
> 
> I see this is a huge and prevalent cultural misunderstanding. Pinkerton gets to. E the ugly American, and he fell into this for lack of experience and a sense of entitlement.
> 
> RP
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Sent from my iPhone
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