Rhinestone Butterflies

“…Reddened to the temples but dared not move or speak: it was as if her words had been some rare butterfly that the least motion might drive off on startled wings, but that might gather a flock if it were left undisturbed.”

Edith Wharton
The Age of Innocence

 
 

Worth butterfly gown, 1898 (Met Collection)

A Memorable Scene Over Breakfast

Still from Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)

 
 

Iris (Jodie Foster) is here seen with the Graal of orange juice (previously discussed). Butterflies are symbolic of the soul, both being the Greek word psyche–and not “mind control,” as conspiracy theorists would have it. Sugar, spice, and everything nice are at the capstone of the Food Pyramid.

Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) succinctly labels Iris’ state in analogous terms, “You can’t live like this. It’s hell.” … The infernal nature of Iris’ situation becomes still more evident in a five-scene sequence documenting her world. First, Sport (Harvey Keitel) describes to Travis all of the perverse sexual acts a customer can perform with Iris…. After a scene between Travis and Iris in a coffee shop, we return to Iris’ room. Sport has metamorphosed into the demon who seduces pubescent girls for his sexual gratification and for financial gain. Lest we doubt the hellish subtext, Martin Scorsese shoots the scene with a conspicuous red lighting, as Sport entrances this child with his embrace and swaying dance.

The hero figuratively descends into an infernal realm in order to save a wayward feminine character (who is not even aware of the diabolic threat facing her), and the hero exposes evil and attempts to rescue the woman. The harrowing of hell, salvation offered to a prostitute, and a vengeful wrath directed against immorality suggest a hagiographic tone … Scorsese explicitly labels him “a would-be saint, a Saint Paul” … (Andrew J Swensen, The anguish of God’s Lonely Men).

In this brilliant, memorable scene over breakfast, Travis takes Iris to a coffee shop where she has toast with jelly and sugar on top. [This conversational scene parallels his coffee shop "date" with Betsy (Cybill Shepherd) , but this time it follows an 'aborted' sexual encounter.] He becomes obsessed with saving the fresh-faced girl from her circumstances and restoring her to her family and school:

Iris: Why do you want me to go back to my parents? I mean they hate me. Why do you think I split in the first place? There ain’t nothin’ there.
Travis: Yeah, but you can’t live like this. It’s hell. Girls should live at home.
Iris: (playfully) Didn’t you ever hear of women’s lib?
Travis: What do you mean ‘women’s lib’? You sure are a young girl. You should be at home now. You should be dressed up. You should be goin’ out with boys. You should be goin’ to school. You know, that kind of stuff.
Iris: Oh god, are you square.
Travis: Hey I’m not square. You’re the one that’s square. You’re full of s–t, man. What are you talkin’ about? You walk out with those f–kin’ creeps and lowlifes and degenerates out on the street and you sell your, sell your little p—y for nothin’ man. For some lowlife pimp – stands in a hall. I’m, I’m square? You’re the one that’s square, man. I don’t go screw and f–k with a bunch of killers and junkies the way you do. You call that bein’ hip? What world are you from?
Iris: Who’s a ‘killer’?
Travis: That guy Sport’s a killer. That’s who’s a killer.
Iris: Sport never killed nobody.
Travis: He killed someone.
Iris: He’s a Libra.
Travis: He’s a what?
Iris: I’m a Libra too. That’s why we get along so well.
Travis: Looks like a killer to me.
Iris: I think that, that Cancers make the best lovers, but god, my whole family are air signs.
Travis: He’s also a dope shooter.

Pillars Turn to Butter

Everything is open
Nothing is set in stone
Rivers turn to oceans
Oceans tide you home
Home is where the heart is
But your heart had to roam
Drifting over bridges
Never to return
Watching bridges burn

You’re driftwood floating underwater
Breaking into pieces, pieces, pieces
Just driftwood hollow and of no use
Waterfalls will find you, bind you, grind you

Nobody is an island
Everyone has to go
Pillars turn to butter
Butterflying low
Low is where your heart is
But your heart has to grow
Drifting under bridges
Never with the flow
And you really didn’t think it would happen
But it really is the end of the line

So i’m sorry that you turned to driftwood
But you’ve been drifting for a long, long time

Everywhere there’s trouble
Nowhere’s safe to go
Pushes turn to shovels
Shoveling the snow
Frozen you have chosen
The path you wish to go
Drifting now forever
And forever more
Until you reach your shore

You’re driftwood floating under water
Breaking into pieces, pieces, pieces
Just driftwood hollow and of no use

Waterfalls will find you, bind you, grind you
And you really didn’t think it could happen
But it really is the end of the live

So i’m sorry that you turned to driftwood
But you’ve been drifting for a long, long time

 
 

Driftwood is the second single taken from Indie band Travis’ second studio album, The Man Who (1999)

 
 

In an interview for NME, Fran Healy revealed that, “The title reputedly comes from the advice of one of my close friends. He advised me not to leave college to concentrate on the band. The lyrics focus on a character who has abandoned all his connections and is now like driftwood – “breaking into pieces… hollow and of no use, waterfalls will find you, bind you, grind you”. Driftwood is a song for the person in your life who has so much potential and, yet, doesn’t use it, because they’re afraid of falling on their backside, you know, they’re afraid of making a fool of themselves. But, yet, if they put their minds to it and just threw their plate out the window, they would actually do a lot with it and make themselves happy and other people happy. The chorus came about while I was watching an episode of Cheers. The episode involved an employee overhearing their boss stating that he was going to get rid of the “driftwood” in the company. I then went to do the washing up, and the first line in the chorus just came to me. Also, our original idea was to include the lyrics “caterpillars turn to butterflies”, but it was too long to fit with the tune, so we shaved off syllables, changing it to “pillars turn to butter.”

 
 

 
 

The music video was filmed by Garth Jennings in St Philomena’s Catholic High School for Girls, located in Carshalton, Surrey. Travis later reprised the teaching roles portrayed in the video for a cameo role in the 2007 Comedy-Drama film Son of Rambow.

A Keen Hunter of Butterflies and Moths

Adeline Virginia Woolf (née Stephen) as a child

 
 

“In her childhood Virginia Woolf was a keen hunter of butterflies and moths. With her brothers and sister she would smear tree trunks with treacle to attract and capture the insects, and then pin their lifelike corpses to cork boards, their wings outspread. It was an interest that persisted into her adult life, and when she discovered that I too was a bug hunter, she insisted that we go hunting together in the fields around Long Barn, our house in Kent, two miles from Knole, my mother’s birthplace. I was nine years old.

 
 

Butterfly, Duncan Grant, 1957

 
 

One summer’s afternoon when we were sweeping the tall grass with our nets and catching nothing, she suddenly paused, leaning on her bamboo cane as a savage might lean on his assegai, and said to me: “What’s it like to be a child?” I, taken aback, replied, “Well, Virginia, you know what it’s like. You’ve been a child yourself. I don’t know what it’s like to be you, because I’ve never been grownup.” It was the only occasion when I got the better of her, dialectically.

I believe that her motive was to gather copy for her portrait of James in To the Lighthouse, which she was writing at the time, and James was about my own age. She told me that it was not much use thinking back into her own childhood, because little girls are different from little boys. “But were you happy as a child?” I asked.

 

Excerpt from Virginia Woolf by Nigel Nicolson

The Death of the Moth

Dust jacket designed and illustrated by Vanessa Bell, 1940-41

 
 

Virginia Woolf exposed the difficulties of being a woman writer in her essay A Room of One’s Own. Her novels experimented with time and narrative,and she is considered a master of the stream-of-consciousness technique. Woolf battled mental illnesses throughout her life, and eventually committed suicide by drowning herself in 1941, a year before this essay was published. As you read, examine the ways she presents images of life and death.

 
 

The Transformation, by Sulamith Wülfing

 
 

“Moths that fly by day are not properly to be called moths; they do not excite that pleasant sense of dark autumn nights and ivy-blossom which the commonest yellow-underwing asleep in the shadow of the curtain never fails to rouse in us. They are hybrid creatures, neither gay like butterflies nor somber like their own species. Nevertheless the present specimen, with his narrow hay-colored wings, fringed with a tassel of the same color, seemed to be content with life. It was a pleasant morning, mid-September, mild, benignant, yet with a keener breath than that of the summer months. The plough was already scoring the field opposite the window, and where the share had been, the earth was pressed flat and gleamed with moisture. Such vigor came rolling in from the fields and the down beyond that it was difficult to keep the eyes strictly turned upon the book. The rooks too were keeping one of their annual festivities; soaring round the tree tops until it looked as if a vast net with thousands of black knots in it had been cast up into the air; which, after a few moments sank slowly down upon the trees until every twig seemed to have a knot at the end of it.

Then, suddenly, the net would be thrown into the air again in a wider circle this time, with the utmost clamor and vociferation, as though to be thrown into the air and settle slowly down upon the tree tops were a tremendously exciting experience. The same energy which inspired the rooks, the ploughmen, the horses, and even, it seemed, the lean bare-backed downs, sent the moth fluttering from side to side of his square of the windowpane. One could not help watching him. One, was, indeed, conscious of a queer feeling of pity for him. The possibilities of pleasure seemed that morning so enormous and so various that to have only a moth’s part in life, and a day moth’s at that, appeared a hard fate, and his zest in enjoying his meager opportunities to the full, pathetic. He flew vigorously to one corner of his compartment, and, after waiting there a second, flew across to the other. What remained for him but to fly to a third corner and then to a fourth? That was all he could do, in spite of the size of the downs, the width of the sky, the far-off smoke of houses, and the romantic voice, now and then, of a steamer out at sea. What he could do he did. Watching him, it seemed as if a fiber, very thin but pure, of the enormous energy of the world had been thrust into his frail and diminutive body. As often as he crossed the pane, I could fancy that a thread of vital light became visible. He was little or nothing but life.

Yet, because he was so small, and so simple a form of the energy that was rolling in at the open window and driving its way through so many narrow and intricate corridors in my own brain and in those of other human beings, there was something marvelous as well as pathetic about him. It was as if someone had taken a tiny bead of pure life and decking it as lightly as possible with down and feathers, had set it dancing and zigzagging to show us the true nature of life. Thus displayed one could not get over the strangeness of it. One is apt to forget all about life, seeing it humped and bossed and garnished and cumbered so that it has to move with the greatest circumspection and dignity. Again, the thought of all that life might have been had he been born in any other shape caused one to view his simple activities with a kind of pity.

After a time, tired by his dancing apparently, he settled on the window ledge in the sun, and, the queer spectacle being at an end, I forgot about him. Then, looking up, my eye was caught by him. He was trying to resume his dancing, but seemed either so stiff or so awkward that he could only flutter to the bottom of the windowpane; and when he tried to fly across it he failed. Being intent on other matters I watched these futile attempts for a time without thinking, unconsciously waiting for him to resume his flight, as one waits for a machine, that has stopped momentarily, to start again without considering the reason of its failure. After perhaps a seventh attempt he slipped from the wooden ledge and fell, fluttering his wings, on to his back on the windowsill. The helplessness of his attitude roused me. It flashed upon me that he was in difficulties; he could no longer raise himself; his legs struggled vainly. But, as I stretched out a pencil, meaning to help him to right himself, it came over me that the failure and awkwardness were the approach of death. I laid the pencil down again.

The legs agitated themselves once more. I looked as if for the enemy against which he struggled. I looked out of doors. What had happened there? Presumably it was midday, and work in the fields had stopped. Stillness and quiet had replaced the previous animation. The birds had taken themselves off to feed in the brooks. The horses stood still. Yet the power was there all the same, massed outside, indifferent, impersonal, not attending to anything in particular. Somehow it was opposed to the little hay-colored moth. It was useless to try to do anything. One could only watch the extraordinary efforts made by those tiny legs against an oncoming doom which could, had it chosen, have submerged an entire city, not merely a city, but masses of human beings; nothing, I knew had any chance against death. Nevertheless after a pause of exhaustion the legs fluttered again. It was superb this last protest, and so frantic that he succeeded at last in righting himself. One’s sympathies, of course, were all on the side of life. Also, when there was nobody to care or to know, this gigantic effort on the part of an insignificant little moth, against a power of such magnitude, to retain what no one else valued or desired to keep, moved one strangely. Again, somehow, one saw life, a pure bead. I lifted the pencil again, useless though I knew it to be. But even as I did so, the unmistakable tokens of death showed themselves. The body relaxed, and instantly grew stiff. The struggle was over. The insignificant little creature now knew death. As I looked at the dead moth, this minute wayside triumph of so great a force over so mean an antagonist filled me with wonder. Just as life had been strange a few minutes before, so death was now as strange. The moth having righted himself now lay most decently and uncomplainingly composed. O yes, he seemed to say, death is stronger than I am.

Black Butterflies Hiding From the Sun

“The break of dawn kills all the beauty
The dead of night is drifting away
Should I stay and welcome the day
Or should I follow the one and hide from the sun…”

 
 

Hide from the Sun is the sixth studio album by the Finnish rock band The Rasmus. The name “Hide from the Sun” is a quotation from the song Dead Promises. Guitarist Pauli Rantasalmi painted the album cover.

 
 

 
 

The music video to Sail Away was shot on a beach in Riga, Latvia on 19th and 20 September 2005. It was directed by the young Berlin team Mathias Vielsäcker and Christoph Mangler. Sail Away it’s the second single from the album Hide from the Sun. The song was written by the lead singer Lauri Ylönen.

In the video for Sail Away some black butterflies fly away to the sea after singer Lauri is shown walking slowly down a cold-looking beach, singing. He sees a man coming up onto the shore carrying an empty bird-cage and he carries on walking. He sees that man again, digging a grave and a woman standing near him. The woman jerks her head in Lauri’s direction to him. Lauri also sees more odd happenings, such as two children dancing around a wood sculpture (possibly a pyre) in gas masks. The pyre has dolls in coffins hung on it. Lauri enters a shack, lucky enough to walk in just in time as a sand-storm occurs and seeps into the shack. Aki (drummer) and Eero (bassist) both turn into sand-figures. At the end of the video, Aki’s head and Eero’s arms both fall off.

Wings Reverberating Like an Echo

The album cover is by the eminent contemporary artist Salvador Dalí.
He describes his conception in these words:
“The first effect is that of anguish, of space, and of solitude.
Secondly, the fragility of the wings of a butterfly, projecting long shadows of late afternoon, reverberates in the landscape like an echo.
The feminine element, distant and isolated, forms a perfect triangle with the musical instrument and its other echo, the shell.”

 
 

Jackie Gleason’s eight album, Lonesome Echo (1955)

Come to What Crowns You

“…Come to what crowns you, youth of health,
gay butterfly, youth pure
as a black lightning perpetually free;
and talking between ourselves.
Now, when no one is left among the rocks,
let us speak simply, as you are, as I am:
what are the verses for, if not for the dew?
What are the verses for, if not for this night
in which a bitter dagger finds us out, for this day,
for this twilight, for this broken corner
where the beaten heart of man prepares to die?…”

Pablo Neruda
Ode to Federico García Lorca

 
 

Allégorie de soie (Allegory of the Sun), Salvador Dalí, 1950

The Supposed Knack of Attracting Birds and Butterflies

Walt Whitman whith Butterfly, W. Curtis Taylor (Broadbent & Taylor), photographer

 
 

“Yes – that was an actual moth,” Walt Whitman told his sidekick and chronicler, Horace Traubel; “the picture is substantially literal: we were good friends: I had quite the in-and-out of taming, or fraternizing with, some of the insects, animals.”

This was his myth he told of himself. He confessed to historian William Roscoe Thayer, “I’ve always had the knack of attracting birds and butterflies and other wild critters.” In fact, the butterfly-on-hand as a recurring motif in his books and intended for this photo to be reproduced as the frontispiece in this sample proof of Leaves from 1891.

The 1883 photo from the Miami Herald was his favorite photo of himself – and, like Abraham Lincoln, he relentlessly documented himself in photos. But the man who anonymously (and very enthusiastically) reviewed his own books was not one to balk at a fact. The alleged moth was “a gaudy cardboard butterfly produced in large quantities as part of an Easter celebration.” How do we know? In 1942, right after the Civil War had ended, the Library of Congress shipped its most precious holdings inland. The Declaration of Independence went to Fort Knox. A crate with ten of Whitman’s notebooks in it went to Ohio.

 
 

Cardboard butterfly

 
 

Reverse side

Butterfly Omen (R.I.P. Robin Williams)

“When I was a girl I would look out my bedroom window at the caterpillars; I envied them so much. No matter what they were before, no matter what happened to them, they could just hide away and turn into these beautiful creatures that could fly away completely untouched.”

 
 

R.I.P. Robin Williams (1951-2014). Still from Patch Adams (Tom Shadyac, 1998).

 
 

After the murder of his girlfriend, Patch questions God about the suffering of mankind. Standing on a cliff, he contemplates suicide. He then sees a butterfly which reminds him of Carin’s telling him earlier how she always wished she was a caterpillar that could someday transform itself and fly away. The butterfly lands on his medical bag and afterward on his shirt before flying away. This appears to Patch to be Carin reincarnated and it revives his spirits, and he decides to continue his work in her honor.

 
 

One Good Day, We Will See

Departure of the Winged Ship, Vladimir Kush, circa 2000.
Although his style is frequently described as surrealist, Kush himself refers to it as “metaphorical realism” and cites the early influence on his style of Salvador Dalí’s surrealist paintings as well as landscapes by the German romantic painter Caspar David Friedrich.

 
 

Un bel dì, vedremo
levarsi un fil di fumo
sull’estremo confin del mare.
E poi la nave appare.
Poi la nave bianca
entra nel porto,
romba il suo saluto.

Vedi? È venuto!
Io non gli scendo incontro. Io no.
Mi metto là sul ciglio del colle e aspetto,
e aspetto gran tempo
e non mi pesa,
la lunga attesa.

E uscito dalla folla cittadina,
un uomo, un picciol punto
s’avvia per la collina.
Chi sarà? chi sarà?
E come sarà giunto
che dirà? che dirà?
Chiamerà Butterfly dalla lontana.
Io senza dar risposta
me ne starò nascosta
un po’ per celia
e un po’ per non morire
al primo incontro;
ed egli alquanto in pena
chiamerà, chiamerà:
“Piccina mogliettina,
olezzo di verbena”
i nomi che mi dava al suo venire.

Tutto questo avverrà,
te lo prometto.
Tienti la tua paura,
io con sicura fede l’aspetto.

 
 

(One good day, we will see
Arising a strand of smoke
Over the far horizon on the sea
And then the ship appears
And then the ship is white
It enters into the port, it rumbles its salute.

Do you see it? He is coming!
I don’t go down to meet him, not I.
I stay upon the edge of the hill
And I wait a long time
but I do not grow weary of the long wait.

And leaving from the crowded city,
A man, a little speck
Climbing the hill.
Who is it? Who is it?
And as he arrives
What will he say? What will he say?
He will call Butterfly from the distance
I without answering
Stay hidden
A little to tease him,
A little as to not die.
At the first meeting,
And then a little troubled
He will call, he will call
“Little one, dear wife
Blossom of orange”
The names he called me at his last coming.

All this will happen,
I promise you this
Hold back your fears -
I with secure faith wait for him.)

Madame Butterfly
Act 2
Giacomo Puccini

 
 

In Un bel dì vedremo, the opera’s most famous aria (and one of the most popular works in the soprano repertoire), Butterfly says that, “one beautiful day”, they will see a puff of smoke on the far horizon. Then a ship will appear and enter the harbor. She will not go down to meet him but will wait on the hill for him to come. After a long time, she will see in the far distance a man beginning the walk out of the city and up the hill. When he arrives, he will call “Butterfly” from a distance, but she will not answer, partly for fun and partly not to die from the excitement of the first meeting. Then he will speak the names he used to call her: “Little one. Dear wife. Orange blossom.” Butterfly promises Suzuki that this will happen. Suzuki departs, as Sharpless and Goro arrive in the garden.

The Silly Symphony of The Moth and The Flame

Moth And the Flame (Burt Gillett, 1938). Produced by Walt Disney

 
 

There is an ongoing theme in the Silly Symphonies series of exploring worlds that exist right under our noses. From the very beginning of the series, looking at the skeletons who dance in the graveyard when people are not around, to Midnight in a Toy Shop, examining toys after people go home, the Silly Symphonies often look at these “hidden” worlds. Moth and the Flame is the same idea, examining a costume shop after hours when invaded by a group of moths.

A fleet of moths swarm of moths tear into “Ye Olde Costume Shop” through a scantily plug warren contained by a fanlight and make expeditious tough grind of the contents. A mannish moth ignore his female to chow fuzz next to a hood and she’s presently seduced beside a candle flame, which swiftly spreads. He notice her abandoned in a spider net with the kindling fire attacking and makes every attempt to liberate her, but pour benzene on the fire by in the wrong pace. The nap of the moths be summon, and they disagreement the fire with water-filled bagpipes, an air bead with a water-filled funnel, etc., while our hero works to amnesty his lady from the spider web. Most of the time, the flame is a caricature of a Latin lover. But for a few seconds at one time, it takes on the caricatured appearance of Walt Disney.

 
 

Madame Butterfly Throughout the World

“Dovunque al mondo lo Yankee vagabondo
si gode e traffica
sprezzando rischi.
Affonda l’áncora alla ventura…
Affonda l’áncora alla ventura
finchè una raffica
scompigli nave e ormeggi, alberatura.
La vita ei non appaga
se non fa suo tesor
i fiori d’ogni plaga,…
…d’ogni bella gli amor.”

(The whole world over,
on business and pleasure,
the Yankee travels all danger scorning.
His anchor boldly he casts at random…
…His anchor boldly he casts at random,
until a sudden squall
upsets his ship, then up go sails and rigging.
And life is not worth living
if he can’t win the best
and fairest of each country,…
…and the heart of each maid.)

Dovunque al mondo (Throughout the world).
Aria From Act I

 
 

 
 

Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly) is an opera in three acts (originally two acts) by Giacomo Puccini, with an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. The libretto of the opera is based in part on the short story Madame Butterfly (1898) by John Luther Long – which in turn was based partially on stories told to Long by his sister Jennie Correll and partially on the semi-autographical 1887 French novel Madame Chrysanthème by Pierre Loti.

Long’s short story was dramatized by David Belasco as a one-act play, Madame Butterfly: A Tragedy of Japan (1900). After premiering in New York, Belasco’s play moved to London, where Puccini saw it in the summer of 1900.

 
 

 
 

Puccini wrote five versions of the opera. The original version in two-acts, which was presented at the world premiere at La Scala on 17 February 1904, was withdrawn after the disasterous premiere. Puccini then substantially rewrote it, this time in three acts. This second version was performed on 28 May 1904 in Brescia, where it was a great success. It was this second version that premiered in the United States in 1906, first in Washington, D.C., in October, and then in New York in November, performed by Henry Savage’s New English Opera Company (so named because it performed in English-language translations). Madama Butterfly is a staple of the standard operatic repertoire for companies around the world, ranking 7th in the Operabase list of the most-performed operas worldwide.

ACT 1

In 1904, a U.S. Naval officer named Pinkerton rents a house on a hill in Nagasaki, Japan, for him and his soon-to-be wife, “Butterfly”. Her real name is Ciocio-san, (cio-cio, pronounced “chocho”: the Japanese word for “butterfly” is chō 蝶). She is a 15-year-old Japanese girl whom he is marrying for convenience, since he intends to leave her once he finds a proper American wife, and since Japanese divorce laws are very lax. The wedding is to take place at the house. Butterfly had been so excited to marry an American that she had earlier secretly converted to Christianity. After the wedding ceremony, her uninvited uncle, a bonze, who has found out about her conversion, comes to the house, curses her and orders all the guests to leave, which they do while renouncing her. Pinkerton and Butterfly sing a love duet and prepare to spend their first night together.

ACT 2

Three years later, Butterfly is still waiting for Pinkerton to return, as he had left shortly after their wedding. Her maid Suzuki keeps trying to convince her that he is not coming back, but Butterfly will not listen to her. Goro, the marriage broker who arranged her marriage, keeps trying to marry her off again, but she won’t listen to him either. The American Consul, Sharpless, comes to the house with a letter which he has received from Pinkerton which asks him to break some news to Butterfly, that Pinkerton is coming back to Japan, but Sharpless cannot bring himself to finish it because Butterfly becomes very excited to hear that Pinkerton is coming back. Sharpless asks Butterfly what she would do if Pinkerton were not to return. She then reveals that she gave birth to Pinkerton’s son after he had left and asks Sharpless to tell him.

ACT 3

Suzuki wakes up in the morning and Butterfly finally falls asleep. Sharpless and Pinkerton arrive at the house, along with Pinkerton’s new American wife, Kate. They have come because Kate has agreed to raise the child. But, as Pinkerton sees how Butterfly has decorated the house for his return, he realizes he has made a huge mistake. He admits that he is a coward and cannot face her, leaving Suzuki, Sharpless and Kate to break the news to Butterfly. Agreeing to give up her child if Pinkerton comes himself to see her, she then prays to statues of her ancestral gods, says goodbye to her son, and blindfolds him. She places a small American flag into his hands and goes behind a screen, cutting her throat with her father’s hara-kiri knife. Pinkerton rushes in. He is too late.

From the hill house, Butterfly sees Pinkerton’s ship arriving in the harbour. She and Suzuki prepare for his arrival, and then they wait. Suzuki and the child fall asleep, but Butterfly stays up all night waiting for him to arrive.

Although almost no singing occurs during the film, much of the underscoring is from or based on Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly, and much of it in the corresponding places of where it would occur in the opera

 
 

ADAPTATIONS

 
 

Mary Pickford, wearing a peacock feather printed kimono, writing at a desk. Silent film version of Madame Butterfly (Sidney Olcott, 1915). Olcott, reportedly wanted Pickford to be more reserved and Oriental and walked off the set in protest of her too Americanized Cio Cio San

 
 

The Toll of the Sea (Chester M. Franklin, 1922). The plot was a variation of the Madama Butterfly story, set in China instead of Japan. It was the second two-color Technicolor motion picture ever released and the first film made using Technicolor Process 2

 
 

Madame Butterfly (Marion Gering, 1932). A non-singing drama made by Paramount starring Sylvia Sidney and Cary Grant in black and white. Although almost no singing occurs during the film, much of the underscoring is from or based on Puccini’s opera Madama Butterfly, and much of it in the corresponding places of where it would occur in the opera

 
 

The film Fatal Attraction (Adrian Lyne, 1987) starring Michael Douglas and Glenn Close makes several references to Madame Butterfly, and the soundtrack features extracts from the opera. Scorned and dangerously obsessed former lover Alex Forrest (Close) finds comfort in and identifies heavily with Cio-Cio San. The original, abandoned ending of the film shows Alex committing suicide in an identical fashion as Cio-Cio San while Un bel dì plays in the background

 
 

Miss Saigon is a musical by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, with lyrics by Boublil and Richard Maltby, Jr. premièred at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London, on 20 September 1989. It is based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera Madame Butterfly, and similarly tells the tragic tale of a doomed romance involving an Asian woman abandoned by her American lover. The setting of the plot is relocated to the 1970s Saigon during the Vietnam War, and Madame Butterfly’s story of marriage between an American lieutenant and Japanese girl is replaced by a romance between an American GI and a Vietnamese bar girl

 
 

M Butterfly (David Cronenberg, 1993). The screenplay was written by David Henry Hwang based on his play of the same name

 
 

Pinkerton is the second studio album by the American alternative rock band Weezer, released on September 24, 1996. the album is named after the character BF Pinkerton from Giacomo Puccini’s 1904 opera Madama Butterfly, whom Rivers Cuomo described as an “asshole American sailor similar to a touring rock star”. Like the opera, the album contains references to Japan and Japanese culture

 
 

The artwork on the album’s cover is Kambara yoru no yuki (Night snow at Kambara), an ukiyo-e print by Hiroshige

 
 

Behind the album’s CD tray is a map with the title “Isola della farfalla e penisola di cane” (Italian for “Island of the Butterfly and Peninsula of Dog”). On the map are a ship named USS Pinkerton and “Mykel and Carli Island”, an allusion to Weezer’s fan club founders. In a 2005 appearance on The Howard Stern Show, Cuomo explained that the names listed on the map are those who influenced him during the writing of the album, with Howard Stern being one of those influences

 
 

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Once the Butterfly Lets Its Guard Down

“Is it possible to become friends with a butterfly?”

“It is if you first become a part of nature. You suppress your presence as a human being, stay very still, and convince yourself that you are a tree or grass or a flower. It takes time, but once the butterfly lets its guard down, you can become friends quite naturally.”

” … I come here every day, say hello to the butterflies, and talk about things with them. When the time comes, though, they just quietly go off and disappear. I’m sure it means they’ve died, but I can never find their bodies. They don’t leave any trace behind. It’s like they’ve been absorbed by the air. They’re dainty little creatures that hardly exist at all: they come out of nowhere, search quietly for a few, limited things, and disappear into nothingness again, perhaps to some other world.”

Haruki Murakami
1Q84

 
 

Philosopher watching a pair of butterflies, by Hokusai Katsushika.

The subject might be the Taoist philosopher, Zhuangzi, who once had a dream about being a butterfly that flew without care about humanity; however; when he awoke and realized that it was just a dream, he thought to himself, “Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?”

The Personification of Human Soul

Woodblock prints by Mori Shunkei

 
 

According to Kwaidan: Stories and Studies of Strange Things, a book by Lafcadio Hearn that features several Japanese ghost stories and a brief non-fiction study on insects, a butterfly was seen in Japan as the personification of a person’s soul; whether they be living, dying, or already dead. One Japanese superstition says that if a butterfly enters your guestroom and perches behind the bamboo screen, the person whom you most love is coming to see you. However, large numbers of butterflies are viewed as bad omens. When samurai Taira no Masakado was secretly preparing for his famous revolt, there appeared in Kyoto so vast a swarm of butterflies that the people were frightened — thinking the apparition to be a portent of coming evil.

The Japanese director Masaki Kobayashi adapted four Hearn tales into his 1965 film, Kwaidan.