A Woman to Know: Hua Mulan
|Julia Carpenter||Jun 5, 2017|
I want to buy a saddle and horse and serve in the army in Father's place. — The Ballad of Hua Mulan
(image via Wikimedia Commons)
Another one of those "is she a legend or a real woman *hidden* as a legend?" women. According to the Ballad of Hua Mulan, a sixth century Chinese epic poem, the story goes much the same way as the Disney movie: in the dead of night, Mulan disguises her beauty under men's clothes, to take her father's place in the war. She's lauded as a valiant warrior, and after the war, when she reveals her true gender, she's still heralded by her comrades and regarded as a national heroine.
In the historical retelling, however, Mulan's story doesn't have the picture-perfect Disney ending. After 12 years fighting the Huns, she returns to her hometown. There, she finds that her father has died, and her mother has remarried -- and Mulan is still expected to settle down and marry. Rather than live that life again, she decides to commit suicide and "join her father." "I'm a girl," she tells her family. "But I have been through war, and I have done enough."
Add to your library list:
Mulan: Five Versions of a Classic Chinese Legend (Shiamin Kwa)
Fa Mulan: The Story of a Woman Warrior (Robert D. San Souci)
The Ballad of Hua Mulan (Ancient Origins)
The Legendary Warrio Who Inspired Disney's Mulan (Movie Pilot)
Hua Mulan (The History Chicks)
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