Aside from the cultural struggles which Mulan seems to have, as a mirror reflection of the audience's reactions, whom did not grow up among the Chinese traditions, Disney decided to alter the visible part of war and her influence in it. According to the original ballad, the conflict lasted longer than ten years and Mulan participated in more than one battle. In the cartoon the war is hard on the population of China, the majority of their trained forces are massacred by the hostile Huns and it seems that in the end the deciding factor is not strenght or tactical experirnce but intelligence. The effect of Mulan embracing an outfit of a male soldier is less moving as she does not have any siblings in Disney's version, nevertheless, the gesture…show more content… It seems to have been allowable, even admirable, to masquerade as a man for virtuous motives as long as the shift was temporary. Once the desired ends had been accomplished, the impersonator had to resume a female identity; otherwise her motives for cross-dressing would be revealed simply as yin's forbidden desire to appropriate yang's priviledges. (118)
Fig. 26. “Symbolic loss of womanhood.” Walt Disney Animation Studios, 1998. Author’s screenshot.
She becomes a man to save her father's life, who is too old and too sick to go to war. She dons the armour of a man, takes a sword to hand and leaves her home without a word, because she knows that her family would try to stop her. This is another difference between the original ballad and the cartoon. In the ballad Mulan wins a duel with her father, thus allowing her to switch their places. There she goes to war with honour and her father's blessings. In the cartoon she has to sneak out in the middle of the night, with the rain drowning out her escape. She cut her hair, she has her father's aromour, but it does not make her a man. She needs to act like one and here she has the help of her character. She already lacks the main features that a good woman should posses, now she needs to learn the traits of a man, which will be easier, seeing as the traditional man and woman of China are two sides of one, one being the exact opposite of the