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Disney’s Mulan: A Hero’s Journey

November 10, 2010 by eveyl · No Comments · Uncategorized

                   The Movie, Mulan, takes places in China during a war with the Huns. Mulan is the only child of the Fa family, and when men are called forth to aid in the war, she worries for her father’s health and takes his place. This is basically the motivation and spark that sends Mulan on the journey that no woman is allowed to take part of. Mulan goes to the camp site disguised as a man called, “Ping”, who goes into war as the Fa family’s son. Though many are suspicious, Ping is able to go into training with the rest of the men. All of this with the help of the “Great Dragon Mushu”  that her ancestors sent and the “lucky” cricket that mulan’s grandmother gave her for good luck when she went to the match maker. In the beginning, Mulan doubts what this Mushu can do, but in the end they go into the camp and eventually war together. Refusal of the help, would be like the refusal of the call to the journey, and mushu would be the supernatural aid. Without him, “Ping” probably would never have made it through the hardships of war. There is a part in the movie where each man is given weights and using those weights, he must get to the arrow lodged at the top of a beam. Every man tried and failed, including Ping. General Shang notices that Ping is not really cut out for war and suggests that he go back home. This short piece of time would be the elly of the whale. (Another instance is when Mulan is found out to be a woman. During a period when women weren’t supposed to meddle in the affairs of men, the consequences would be execution. However, General Shang spares her life because she saved him during the avalanche that happened previously.) Because of stubborness, Ping tries to get to the arrow and finally makes it. This great accomplishment that no other man could do was the crossing of the threshold; going further into the journey, and getting more deeply involved in the war.

                 Before even getting into the war, Ping had to go through training and do it without being found out. These were the trials that Mulan had to go through and she was almost found out. More trials awaited her as she went into war was WAS found out. After her idenitiy was revealed, it was also an obstacle to get Shang and the other soldiers to listen to what she knew. (No meeting with the goddess.) Woman as temptress may be mulan herself. When she warned Shang that the Huns are alive, Shang hesitated for a second before ignoring her warning and continued on his way. Another one is when Mulan formed a plan to rescue the emperor by having her fellow soldiers pretend to be women. Because they were women, they were able to get into the castle. The huns are somewhat tempted and confused by the display at the same time, therefore, the “women” were tempting them. Shang then realizes that Mulan was right, and she saved his life again. In a way, this is atonment (although not with the father, that is at the end when mulan has to return home.) Aptheosis happens in the beginning mostly; when all the men along with mulan, could fight when in the beginning they couldn’t do any of the training that general Shang gave them. Ultimate boon is also the ultiamte BOOM! that happened in the movie( not exactly that explosive). This was part of Mulan’s plan to take down the head Hun Shan-Yu. Thus nearly ending the movie.

                   After Saving the emperor, Mulan is afraid for a second when the emperor stated all that she had done that was against the law, and knowing this, she doesn’t know how her father will react to her when she comes home. (no magic flight) Rescue from without might as well be Mulan herself when General Shang was in trouble. It IS a rescue from without because no one expects a woman to be able to save a man from danger. After the Emperor acknowledges Mulan, he gives her Shan-Yu’s sword and she returns home with it. that acceptance of the sword is like a key to go back home. In the beginning, Mulan was told that she could never find love because of how ungraceful she was, and when she was at the camp, she was told that she was “not suited for, the rage of war” (I will make a man out of you, song in Mulan). And yet her she is, having found love for who she is, that being her adventurous side. After the entire experience, she is both graceful and able. In the beginning, she was restricted to only life as a girl, and now, she has the whole world open to her.


It would be better to NOT have a patteren. There were some aspects of a hero’s journey that does not apply. For example, Mulan is a female in this journey, and yet a hero’s journey consists of “woman as the temptress” or “meeting with a goddess”. sometimes that does not apply. (Would it be equally correct if it was a meeting with a god, or maybe something besides woman is tempting?)However, The movie might not have been a whole lot better without the pattern. This is because this pattern is the basis of most, if not all, hero stories. Sure the pattern should not go in order, but that does not mean the pattern should not be used. Even with out a written pattern, the same plot line (sequence, patern, etc.) would still be used whether it be purposely, or unknowingly by the writer.

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