Gallimard, in his cell again, reads from a review of Madame Butterfly. The reviewer writes that Pinkerton is obnoxious and deserves to be kicked, then adds that Butterfly is “irresistibly appealing” and that seeing her suffer is like watching a child being tortured. To all this, Gallimard adds that, although plenty of men would want to kick Pinkerton, very few would pass up the opportunity to be Pinkerton.
The reviewer’s odd connection between Cio-Cio-San’s appeal and her resemblance to a child in pain highlights how wide-spread the appreciation and even fetishization of female vulnerability is. As Gallimard points out, most men would love to be Pinkerton — his fantasies are more universal than many people would care to admit.