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Mulan As The Woman Warrior Many movies have gotten their theme or content from books and novels. One of them being the story of Mulan, which originates from the story of a Chinese girl who grows into a women warrior. In my reading of The Woman Warrior, there is a tale of a warrior who has the name Fa Mu Lan. The mother tells the story of Fa Mu Lan to her children, one child stating Instantly, I remembered that as a child, I had followed my mother about the house, the two of us singing about how Fa Mu Lan fought gloriously and returned alive from afar to settle in the village. I felt that this story is being used as important tale in the teaching of the Chinese, and proving to them that they could be so much more than a mans slave or even some mans wife. Many Chinese families have tales to tell to their kids in their childhood up bringing, and some of these lessons stick with them throughout their life, shaping them to be the kind of men and women they would soon become.
These stories and tales can influence children to make the right decisions in life. In Disneys version of Mulan, it sets out a clear moral to the children, portrays their cultural expectations, and changes some of the norms of Chinese history. The movie of Mulan, depicts Mulan to be a very attractive, but also a clumsy girl, who always seems to be disappointing her father, no matter how hard she tries not to. Her family tries to marry her off, but when she goes out to see the woman who matches the women with the men, she makes a disaster of everything by making the woman fall flat on her face and even manages to catch the women on fire. When the war starts and her father gets drafted, she realizes she could that she is afraid to let her father go, in fear that he may not survive.
She steals is suit and goes off in his place pretending to be his son. This specific part of the story revealed one of the themes to me, which is courage. This proved to me that women are not made to be slaves, but yet are able to risk their lives for their fathers, like Mulan did. I see Mulan as being very brave in this movie, and this picture also enabled her to be a role model for children, by allowing them to understand that if you mess up it does not mean you are a failure, but just that everything is not meant for everyone. Mulan proved that she was not ready to get married, instead wanted to prove herself to her father.
She does this by going out, disguised as a man, to the war, doing a heroic job of saving the emperors life. He father was afraid of this because in China a women could be killed if she portrait herself as a man. Her father did not want everyone to know in their village that his daughter had run off to war to fight in a mans army. That could have gotten them both killed.
But the outcome of Mulan's story was a successful one. She saved the emperors life and came out of the war unharmed. Mulan could not go out to the war as herself because of cultural expectations that were put upon women. Women were expected not to have a voice in the family, to be more like maids and in reality to be seen and not heard.
But I found Mulan to be a women of a different stature. She was a very outspoken person who never went by the book. In Disneys version their is quite a significant change from the Kingston novel. Disney does not discuss the stages of Mulan growing up from a child to an adult, it starts when she is a teen. Disney also did not have any mention of a bird coming to the girl while she was in the woods or any old people taking her in and training her to be a warrior. Disney also changed her having a baby in the story by one of her soldiers.
In the movie everyone thought she was a man, so nothing like that occured in the movie. The changes in the movie did not effect the reviews of the story. Both the movie and the book were very interesting but just in different ways. The book showed points that were real and the movie showed points that were sufficient for children. Some of the differing culture norms Disney tries to reinforce again are how the women are treated in their culture, how could they dishonor their family by doing certain things, like being in a war, or men refusing to go in the war. The Chinese are very family oriented, if one family member does something that could cause dishonor, the whole family will feel dishonored.
Disney shows this by when the father is scared and unmask his daughter because he knows they would be looked down on and they could both get killed for doing something like that. The movie shows that for women it is harder to gain accepting for being strong-minded. They have to work really hard to get respect from men. Disney also brought out the fact that the woman being quiet while a man is talking. The father told his daughter that if she would obey and be quiet she would fail at finding a husband. As in the Kingston novel, the mother always told her kids to be quiet, there was no talking at the dinner table.
This portion of the book and the movie were very similar, but just conveyed in different ways. I found the book and the movie to be very entertaining. I actually prefer the movie because it gave me illustration instead of just words in a book. The movie had animation, which was good because it was not strictly a Chinese tale, it was a fun loving movie. The movie was more realistic than the book, as the story about Fa Mu Lan in the autobiography had a lot of unrealistic details, such as how she could look in the drinking gourd to check on her family or how the old people sometimes would become young just for a second. Mulan was a realistic and funny movie that I really enjoyed.
Disney put on a good production of the movie Mulan. I was very pleased that they did not change the movie to an American culture type movie because that would have defeated the purpose of the content of the story and disrespected the Chinese culture. Kingston brought out a good story of Mulan also but it just seemed to unrealistic to me, which made the movie somewhat more appealing. The movie portrait good morals and was very suitable for viewers of all ages. The book and the movie proved to me that a women can do thing just as good if not better than a man.
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