Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Reflection: A Clip From the Movie

Here is the link to a music video from the movie Mulan:

The Ballad of Mulan: The Original Poem

This is the original poem of Mulan.

The Ballad of Mulan

Tsiek tsiek and again tsiek tsiek,
Mu-lan weaves, facing the door.
You don't hear the shuttle's sound,
You only hear Daughter's sighs.
They ask Daughter who's in her heart,
They ask Daughter who's on her mind.
"No one is on Daughter's heart,
No one is on Daughter's mind.
Last night I saw the draft posters,
The Khan is calling many troops,
The army list is in twelve scrolls,
On every scroll there's Father's name.
Father has no grown-up son,
Mu-lan has no elder brother.
I want to buy a saddle and horse,
And serve in the army in Father's place."
In the East Market she buys a spirited horse,
In the West Market she buys a saddle,
In the South Market she buys a bridle,
In the North Market she buys a long whip.
At dawn she takes leave of Father and Mother,
In the evening camps on the Yellow River's bank.
She doesn't hear the sound of Father and Mother calling,
She only hears the Yellow River's flowing water cry tsien tsien.
At dawn she takes leave of the Yellow River,
In the evening she arrives at Black Mountain.
She doesn't hear the sound of Father and Mother calling,
She only hears Mount Yen's nomad horses cry tsiu tsiu.
She goes ten thousand miles on the business of war,
She crosses passes and mountains like flying.
Northern gusts carry the rattle of army pots,
Chilly light shines on iron armor.
Generals die in a hundred battles,
Stout soldiers return after ten years.
On her return she sees the Son of Heaven,
The Son of Heaven sits in the Splendid Hall.
He gives out promotions in twelve ranks
And prizes of a hundred thousand and more.
The Khan asks her what she desires.
"Mu-lan has no use for a minister's post.
I wish to ride a swift mount
To take me back to my home."
When Father and Mother hear Daughter is coming
They go outside the wall to meet her, leaning on each other.
When Elder Sister hears Younger Sister is coming
She fixes her rouge, facing the door.
When Little Brother hears Elder Sister is coming
He whets the knife, quick quick, for pig and sheep.
"I open the door to my east chamber,
I sit on my couch in the west room,
I take off my wartime gown
And put on my old-time clothes."
Facing the window she fixes her cloudlike hair,
Hanging up a mirror she dabs on yellow flower powder
She goes out the door and sees her comrades.
Her comrades are all amazed and perplexed.
Traveling together for twelve years
They didn't know Mu-lan was a girl.
"The he-hare's feet go hop and skip,
The she-hare's eyes are muddled and fuddled.
Two hares running side by side close to the ground,
How can they tell if I am he or she?"

From:The Flowering Plum and the Palace Lady: Interpretations of Chinese Poetry By Han H. Frankel, Yale University Press, 1976.

What Does Mulan's Name Mean?

In the original poem, the heroine's name is "Mulan." According to the Chinese- English dictionary, the name means "lily magnolia." Mulan is often given a last name, "Hua," which means "flower." The Chinese pinyin spelling of the name is "Hua Mu-Lan." (Last names come first in Chinese.) Some people write the name as "Fa Mulan".

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mulan: What Really Happened?

Based on a legendary ballad set in ancient Chinese history, Mulan is the story of a girl who places her family's importance above her place in society. Mulan has had trouble her whole life fitting in with all of the girls her age because she wants to help her family. And so adament are the rules of their culture that if a woman were to go beyond her limits and take the duties of a man, she would be killed. Mulan struggles to please her parents because she is an only child and finds it difficult to be something she is not. There is a war in China and every family must send one person to fight. Mulan's dad is older and is suffering from a previous injury but, he must go. In this desparte situation Mulan decides to take her fathers place and dress up as a man and fight in the war to protect her family. As a woman in a man’s world she must rely on her intellect and strength of will to overcome the hurdles she will face.