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Transformations of The Woman Warrior Hua Mulan: From Defender of The Family To Servant of The State

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For over 1500 years the Hua Mulan story has remained a popular source of inspiration for writers of plays, poems, and novels as well as films and television dramas. The sustained interest in Mulan rests in part with her daring cross-dressing and the humour that this challenge to gender norms provokes. This article shows that the various versions of the Mulan story also reveal the gendered nature of a key tension within the Chinese social and moral universe—how individuals manage the competing demands from their families and the central state. The article traces the transformations of her story from its inception in the Northern Wei ballad through to the 2010 cinema versions in order to trace the evolution of gendered norms of loyalty, patriotism, virtue and filial piety.

http://brill.metastore.ingenta.com/content/journals/10.1163/156852610x545840
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/content/journals/10.1163/156852610x545840
2010-12-01
2016-02-14

Affiliations: 1: Hong Kong University;, Email: ledwards@hku.hk

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