White Tigers vs. Mulan Essay

White Tigers vs. Mulan Essay

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William Shakespeare once said, “[My] honor is my life; both grow in one; take honor from me, and my life is done.” The idea is touched upon in both the book Woman Warrior by Maxine Hong Kingston as well as Disney’s Mulan were family honor is more important than anything else. Mulan was directed by Tony Bancroft and Barry Cook, and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. The film Mulan retold the story of a woman warrior who took her father’s place in battle and became a savior of China.The movie uses many elements from the original story told in the chapter “White Tigers,” but adds many modern twists in order to make the story more appealing for a newer generation. In both stories of Fa Mu Lan the elements of sacrifice, silence and voice, cultural practices of ancestor worship and filial piety, and Chinese stereotypes are present.
The first element that it similar among the two legends is the concept of sacrifice. In the memoir, the reason for Fa Mu Lan’s success is due to tremendous sacrifice by herself and others. One of the most prominent examples of immolation is when a rabbit sacrifices it’s own life in order to give Mu Lan food and to make sure she will survive a cold night in the mountains. The incident was written as follows in the book: “A white rabbit hopped beside me...I ate it, knowing the rabbit had sacrificed itself for me” (Kingston 26). The sacrifice of the rabbit was an act of selflessness that taught Mu Lan about benevolence and allowed her to live long enough to act on this lesson. Furthermore, in the movie, Mulan sacrifice’s her safety, rather than having something sacrifice itself for her like the Mu Lan in White Tigers. During the scene where Mulan was attempting to save the emperor from the Huns, she has a

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...nist ideas. They suggest that women are good for only household chores and that they are not very intelligent. In fact, Mulan herself refutes these stereotypes through her quick thinking and advanced battle techniques, yet they still insist on carrying though.
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In movie version of Mulan as well as the book by Maxine Kingston, the elements of immolation, holding one’s tongue, respect for ancestors and parents, and stereotyping in the Chinese culture are present. All of these elements come together to create two similar stories of a woman warrior out to bestow honor upon her family. Still, for something as simple as family honor, is all the trouble of the quest for a small bit of greatness worth it?

Works Cited
Kingston, Maxine Hong. "White Tigers." The Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood among Ghosts. New York: Vintage International, 1976. 20-53. Print.

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