Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews March 8, 2024
March 1, 2024
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, or colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
Gallimard directly quotes an image from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, of a butterfly pierced with a needle. The image makes him question his own treatment of his own private Butterfly, Song. Each time Gallimard calls Song “Butterfly,” he reminds the audience that Song is beautiful but ephemeral and that Gallimard has the power to capture and destroy Song. In the end, Gallimard destroys himself, and Song addresses him as Butterfly. The butterfly symbolizes the fragility of life and love and the cruelty of man.
Song wears a kimono when appearing in the Puccini role of Butterfly. The robe is a symbol of a Japanese woman but also of female sexuality. Helga, Gallimard’s wife, pretends she’s wearing a kimono when she moves to Madame Butterfly music, probably for Gallimard’s benefit. When Gallimard is with Renee and imagining Song, his Butterfly, sad and alone at home, he pictures Song wearing a kimono and crying into its soft sleeves. Song dons a kimono for his reunion with Gallimard in Paris but slips out of it between Acts Two and Three, emerging in a men’s suit. Gallimard wears the last kimono in the play and kills himself in it.
Gallimard’s jail cell has a window, his only view to the outside. A pinup girl appears in this window to perform for Gallimard. The window symbolizes an expansion of viewpoint, but it also serves as a barrier. The pinup girl and the outside world are closed off from Gallimard; he can see both but have neither. The window’s presence only emphasizes his isolation.
The first time Gallimard walks Song home, Song asks Gallimard to be a gentleman and light Song’s cigarette. Gallimard doesn’t smoke, so Song lights the cigarette instead. Song’s cigarette is a symbol of an independent, modern, sophisticated woman. The fact that Song lights the cigarette is a hint that Song is a man. Song’s cigarette appears again as Song observes Gallimard’s suicide. This time, however, Song’s smoking is a defiantly masculine gesture.