Movie From Outsiders : Orienting Cultural Position

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A movie from outsiders: orienting cultural position As soon as I was able to read on my own after attending elementary school, I got pleasure from choosing a variety of books to read in the library, including Western classic stories, such as Little Women and A Little Princess, Greek mythology for children, folk stories of ancient China, and the series of school stories written by Taiwanese writers. As I recall, I was first slightly aware of the multiple contexts of the different stories, but interestingly, no matter what the origin of the stories was, I consistently showed a preference for stories with unique female characters. This might reflect the fact that I, the only girl in my family, was eager to learn more about this gender role. Moreover, it is probable that I share more particular traits and values with those female characters than their male counterparts, and I therefore found it easier to empathize with the characters and enjoy the stories. The story of Hau Mulan was the one that I especially liked. I was amazed by how a girl can be brave enough to go to war in place of her father and overcome all the adversity to fulfill her filial duty. When the Disney film Mulan (1998), which is based on the Chinese legend of Hau Mulan, was produced and released in Taiwan, I found the movie absorbing. As a Western adaptation of the story, Disney’s Mulan provides a fairly distinct interpretation of the original legend, and some of the details were criticized as inaccurate and inauthentic. It focuses on the theme of individuality, which is not mentioned in the Chinese version at all. Nonetheless, I found myself tending to empathize with Disney’s version of Mulan without any difficulty. This makes me interested in analyzing the Disney... ... middle of paper ... ... legends and stories that stand at the heart of a particular country’s sense of itself and its history are often pressed into service to feed the imagination of an international audience that is much more ethnically and culturally diverse” (2013, p.8). It is clear that Chinese culture is represented through a Western lens, while Western ideology is revealed in the disguise of Chinese legend. Cai asserts that in multicultural literature such as Disney’s Mulan, we should help our children to both “find out the universal themes” and “learn about the culture so that they can really understand and respect it” (2002, p.125). I would take this statement a step further to suggest that children in a position similar to me should also be aware of how their culture is represented from other cultures’ point of view so as to understand themselves and the culturally diverse world.

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