M is for Mulan

April 15, 2016

How do academics show how much they love stuff? They either write papers/articles about the things they love or create assignments about the things they love. One of my best assignments is probably my Mulan definition argument essay. It is brilliant, if I do say so myself.



Get it? Because I bow down to Mulan but the assignment is so brilliant the world bows down to me?

Anyway, the assignment was perfect for a summer class. Basically, I had my students watch the movie, and then they wrote an essay arguing that Mulan deserved a soldier’s pension even though she broke the law.

I’m putting the assignment overview and guidelines below. To prep for the assignment, we read a definition argument in their textbook and MLK’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and talked a lot a lot a lot about addressing a hostile audience, which is why King’s letter is so crucial.

Assignment Overview

Your assignment, then, is to take on the persona of one of the soldiers and argue that Fa Mulan fits the definition of a soldier because she exhibited the characteristics of a man suited for the rage of war as put forth by the Chinese army and deserves the bonus and the lifetime pension.

Assignment Guidelines

Your audience for the paper is the Emperor’s council, and your paper must explain how Mulan fits all of the criteria for being a soldier because she proved herself to be a man suited for the rage of war. You must provide examples of how she fits each criterion outlined on the previous page as well as anticipate and refute any objections the council may have. In order to be successful, you have to establish your credibility and authority to determine whether or not Mulan is qualified to be considered a soldier and use a tone appropriate for the audience. The council must be thoroughly convinced that Mulan deserves the bonus plus lifetime pension.

If anyone wants more details or the full assignment, please email me: theenglishist[at]gmail.com.

A to Z 2016

For the A to Z challenge, I’m blogging about fannish pursuits (aka things I’m a fan of or have strong feelings about). Tune in tomorrow to see what I picked for N!

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1 Comment

  1. Susan Hernandez

    At the risk of getting too personal, as soon as I saw Mulan in the title, I had to come here. I had a difficult time quite a long time back, over 15 years, where I was severely depressed. I had already loved Mulan anyway, however when I entered my depression event, I had to keep playing Mulan over and over. I would wake up with a start, realize the movie had stopped, and rewound my VCR tape (uh, ya) and start it again.

    I took strength from her strength and over time, learned that I didn’t need to apologize for who I was. Not even to myself.



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