In mythology, the journey of a hero is an ancient and universal theme. In every culture from ancient Greece to China, Southeast Asia, and the Americas, heroes have embarked on life-altering journeys (Kurtti 1998: 11). Stuart Voytilla states that there are twelve stages to a hero’s journey and no matter what the purpose is for their journey, in the end the heroes or in this case heroine, share the same destination. It does not matter if the hero gains a kingdom or returns home with the elixir, as mythologist Alexander Eliot puts it, “he actually earns self-integration, balance, wisdom, and spiritual health” (Kurtti 1998: 11). One of the most renowned and beloved of these ...view middle of the document...
She makes a decision that will forever change her life as well as the lives of her family. She disguises herself as a boy and secretly takes her father’s place in the Imperial Army to fight the invading Huns led by Shan-Yu, where she embarks on a long journey to bring honor to her family. Along this journey, she develops new friendship and even trust among her fellow soldiers. In addition, she finds strength, courage and self-discovery.
A Heroine’s Journey
The story of “Mulan” is a classic tale of a young woman who has a difficult time fitting into the traditional roles of a woman in ancient China. In one of the first scenes Mulan cites that a proper young woman should be “quiet and demure, graceful, polite, delicate, fine poise and punctual” (Disney’s Mulan: 1998). All of which Mulan is not. In fact, in an amusing scene where she goes to a matchmaker to see if she is suitable for marriage so she could bring honor to her family by marrying a good man, she ends up ruining everything. She speaks without being told and causes quite a scene. The matchmaker tells Mulan, “You are a disgrace. You may look like a bride, but you will never bring your family honor” (Disney’s Mulan: 1998). She goes home feeling like a failure, feeling as though she has let her family down. Now, she starts to struggle with herself, feeling as if she does not fit in anywhere. She realizes that she will never be the perfect bride or daughter. I think deep down inside her, she is still a child at heart and she still has a lot of growing up to do. So, when the Emperor sends out a proclamation that “one man from every family must serve in the Imperial Army” (Disney’s Mulan: 1998), Mulan feels that this could be her chance to bring honor to her family and prove to all of China that she has a place in this world, hence the beginning of her call to adventure.
The third stage of a hero’s journey is refusal of the call and Mulan had no choice but to refuse this call, not because she was not the one being called upon, but of her gender. Back then in China, women had little significance in the world other than to be obedient to their husbands or fathers and caring for their family. They were not allowed to be warriors or soldiers simply because it was not their place in society to. A woman’s place was to stay at home. However, Mulan defies all the traditions of China and disguises herself as a young man named Ping in order to serve in her father’s place. She cuts off her hair and dresses in her father’s old armor. If her disguise was to ever be discovered, she would be convicted of treason and sentenced to death. She sacrifices her own life in order to save her father’s.
As Mulan runs off to join the army, she encounters a dragon named Mushu who says he was sent by her ancestors to protect her. He becomes her sidekick throughout her journey and every time he tries to help her, he gets her into more trouble. One instance was when he teaches Mulan...