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Fa Mulan (in-between the lines; loyal, brave, and true)

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I have been agonizing over this article for about an hour now. Fa Mulan: what could I possibly say about her that hasn’t already been said? Is there any piece of information about this revered fairy tale warrior and beloved Disney princess that isn’t already out there?

Probably not, so, should I give up on it out of the fear of sounding stale and repetitive, or should I go on and at least give it a try. Well, since you are reading it, you already know which option I chose. I just realized that the very decision to continue writing is in itself a testimony to how much of an impact Mulan has had over me; she is not one to back down from a challenge, how can I.

Based on the legendary historical Chinese figure, Hua Mulan, who fought for her country for 12 years, Mulan follows the story of a girl raised in a conventional household where a female’s role extended to that of a wife, mother, and a daughter (in-law). However, Mulan finds it hard to confine herself to these limiting boundaries, and later, under the guise of a man, leaves to fight for China in place of her aged father.

She goes through a stringent training process to become the warrior that we know today and saves the country through her courage and wit. 

War is not freedom, over my shoulder, I see a clearer view. All for my family, the reason I’m breathing, everything to lose

Mulan did not know the world beyond her village and her family; she was brought inside a cocoon, encapsulated in her comfort zone. Yet, when the situation called for her to make some really tough choices, and yes, going to war as a man in place of your father cannot be an easy decision to take, she came through.  

When she left home, her priorities and reasons were clear; she could not see her father go into a battle he might never return from and if taking his place was her only option to save him, she took it and understood its gravity. 

Should I ask myself in the water, what a warrior would do? Tell me underneath my armour, am I loyal, brave, and true?

She had to face all her doubts and fears throughout the training. She questioned what she was doing and how she was going to follow through with this daunting task. Yet, the thought of being probably the weakest one in her training group, physically, did not deter her from the mission. 

She kept true to the silent promise she made to her family and herself and pushed herself until she turned her weaknesses into her strength and her strength into a weapon. Her loyalty to her loved ones, and the country helped her look past the doubts and insecurities and do what’s right.

Losing is easy, winning takes bravery, I am a tiger’s fool. Out in the open, no one to save me, the kindest of whispers are cruel.

There were multiple occasions where the war seemed hopeless, and all that the soldiers witnessed around them was death and destruction. The heavy price that a battle places on the people is not a burden that can be taken ever so lightly. 

Mulan saw that, understood it, and however helpless she felt, she braved it. She stepped out onto the field, battling men larger and much stronger than she is, knowing that one misstep could end her life, she fought on. 

Cold is the morning, warm is the dream. Chasing the answers, ’til I can’t sleep. Will I be stronger, or will I be weak when you’re not with me?

Though Mulan’s journey starts out of love and duty towards her father and family, it turns into a much deeper and enlightening road to self-discovery and finding her place in the world. 

All her life Mulan was unable to fit in and resonate with the people around her, she did everything she was asked to, out of love and respect for her family, but it never felt right to her. Her spirit, brighter than the sun, overshadowed old prejudices and societal norms that kept trying to tame her. 

And when she finally broke out of all the chains and bonds that held her back, she discovered her true self, away from the love and protection of her family, she found out who she really was. 

Who am I without my armour, standing in my father’s shoes? All I know is that it’s harder, to be loyal, brave, and true

When her secret is revealed, and she gets discovered, mere hours after defeating the enemy and saving her comrades, she is left alone on a cold and windy mountain, just she was a woman. If it were anyone else, after the disrespect and disregard for their undeniable contribution to the mission, they might have had given up and gone back home, but not Mulan. 

When she realizes that the enemy is not yet dead, she goes back to warn and save the very people who abandoned her. Even though she is chided for her continuous protests and warnings against the impending threat, she does not give up and in the end, fights off the enemy on her own, once and for all. 

Mulan is not the story of a rebel who fights against an unjust and patriarchal society, but rather the legend of a girl who overcame her own fears and apprehensions to do the right thing and become a warrior. 

No matter how wronged and defeated you feel, the choice of fighting for what you love and doing the right thing no matter how hard it seems is how you prove yourself to be loyal, brave, and true. 

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