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Word Count: 528
The Victorian period was a time when gentlemen and sometimes ladies of leisure embarked on adventurous escapades around the world Many of these travelers were avid communicators writing letters articles and keeping journals of their travels All these personal interpretations of what they witnessed combined to create exotic images of distant lands for those remaining at home Novels plays ballets and operettas were set in foreign locations One of the last countries to be opened to the West was Japan In drama Asian men are often portrayed as weak feminine and cruel while women are submission sexual objects This is true throughout the drama Madame Butterfly Madame Butterfly originated from a novel written in 1887 The novel was titled Madame Chrysanthemum and was written by Pierre Loti Lotis main characters are very different from Puccinis BF Pinkerton and Cio-Cio-San Pierre is bored with life and never has sentiments like the brash optimism that is expressed in Pinkertons first apperance Pierre is not in love with his bride considers his marriage a joke makes insulting remarks about the Japanese and frequently responds to Chrysanthemums attentions with irritation Chrysanthemum is also different from Butterfly She is three years older and not the least bit nave about the eventual outcome of her marriage Although she enjoys Pierres company and feels real sadness when he leaves rather than committing suicide she accepts it as the natural conclusion of a business arrangement John Luther Long had never been to Japan However his sister was the wife of a missionary in Nagasaki and wrote her brother letters filled with anecdotes about life and customs there In one of these letters she told the story of a Japanese geisha who converted to Christianity after having been abandoned by her husband and Long combined this Madame Butterfly which was published in The Century magazine in January 1898 and based on a true story From an operatic point of view more important
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