Kingston's Mulan

Topics: Hua Mulan, Woman, The Woman Warrior Pages: 2 (427 words) Published: February 28, 2002
"When we Chinese girls listened to the adults talk-story, we learned that we failed if we grew up to be but wives or slaves" (19). Talk-story supplied Chinese girls with dreams of becoming more than their culture allows them to. It is through these stories that women live to their fullest extent. The stories exemplify what a woman strives to be, not a mere housewife or slave, but a great warrior. One such talk-story is that of Fa Mu Lan. Throughout the years, the story of Fa Mu Lan has changed from storyteller to storyteller, each with its own dramatic difference. To illustrate the dramatic changes that occur among storytellers, one can compare Kingston's interpretation of Fa Mu Lan's story to Disney's Mulan. In this comparison, we see that aside from the talking dragon, Disney's adaptation of the myth is much more realistic.

One such drastic difference is that of how Mulan enters the war. In Disney's version of this myth, Mulan is at home at the time of her father's transcription into the army. To prevent her father from dying in battle, she steals his armor and weaponry, and enters the war as his only ‘son', having no previous battling experience. Kingston's story of Fa Mu Lan's entrance into war is quite different. Fa Mu Lan has been off training to be a warrior for 15 years before she returns home to take her father's place in war. Fa Mu Lan was also not the only child; she had a brother who had previously replaced her father in war. After returning home from training, Fa Mu Lan tells her father she "will take [his] place" (34). Not only does her father accept that she will take his place in war, but so does most of the town. "How beautiful she looks, the people said, [as she] put on … men's clothes and armor" (36). The town accepts the fact that a woman is going into battle, and men even decide to fight under her. This is quite strange because in both versions of the story the "Chinese executed women who disguised themselves as soldiers"...
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