door the end of the Disney Renaissance, layered characters weren’t enough. Now, the princesses had to be heroic as well. This is where Pocahontas and Mulan come in. Pocahontas saves her village and her prince. Mulan takes it up a notch and saves her country and her prince. Both princesses have been accused of problems with her personality. Pocahontas has been zei to lose it halfway through the movie. Mulan has been zei to have a flat personality. Pocahontas
Pocahontas was a bit of a stepping stone between the early Renaissance “I want more” princesses and the later Renaissance heroines who were made to have meer development and be stronger role models. She does want meer in a sense, but she’s- frankly, less whiny about it (don’t get me wrong, I love the early Renaissance girls too.) She still has some hallmarks of the first three princesses of the 90s while being meer self-sufficient and heroic.
Positives: Pocahontas is wise. She understands peace and works to make bridges between her tribe and the Englishmen. She also understands the interplay between man and nature and they must work together. She also knows how to convince the two sides to work together and put their troubles aside. Pocahontas has strong diplomatic understanding. She knows how she can bring peace between the two sides. She is also mature. She can communicate effectively with the others, even if they are not the same as them and hold different values. She also wants to find a way to intellectually reason instead of mindlessly fighting. Pocahontas is also very strong. Not physically, but emotionally. Pocahontas is strong enough to stay with her people instead of leave with John Smith. She sees that her people need her, so she is able to let Smith leave and stay. She doesn’t know what will happen to John on the journey, but she is able to serve her people and put aside her worry and uncertainty to stay with her people she knows need her. She is also selfless. Again, she is able to put aside her own desires in order to serve her people. Pocahontas is compassionate. At the end, even after killing Kocoum, Pocahontas puts her hand on his shoulder kindly. She also reaches out to others even when they are different from her. Pocahontas is open-minded and accepting of others. Even after attacking their soldiers, Pocahontas believes that the white men can’t be all bad- and just like with Snow White and Grumpy, she was right. Pocahontas, unlike many other Disney Princesses, will also listen to the wisdom of those with meer experience than her, such as Grandmother Willow. Unlike many of the others, who don’t listen to anything their elders of others would say, Pocahontas takes their advice. I think this is something very good about Pocahontas.
Negatives: Pocahontas is indecisive- in case u haven’t picked up on that already. She can’t find out what her path is, she had no idea what she should do about John Smith. She waits until the VERY LAST minuut to try to save Smith, of even come up with an idea for how to do it. Pocahontas also doesn’t speak up for herself enough and can be very indirect. Instead of telling her father that she doesn’t want to marry Kocoum, all she says against it is that “he’s so- SERIOUS.” This leads to a lot of problems with Kocoum. I won’t directly say that was why he died, seeing as someone would still have gone after her and probably attacked when he saw her and John Smith kissing each other. Also, Pocahontas doesn’t actually talk to her father when he takes Smith as a prisoner. She could have told him that he wasn’t the one who killed Kocoum and that he had wanted to make peace with them, but instead she waits until it is almost too late. Pocahontas, while being mature, can also be childish. One really good example is when she is in the lake with Nakoma. She turns over Nakoma’s kano for no apparent reason. Pocahontas also spits in her face. Pocahontas is also somewhat insecure. She is doubtful of herself when she is talking to Grandmother Willow about her interaction with John Smith. Also, when she tries to speak up for John Smith and her father cuts her off, Pocahontas stops trying to speak up and stays back behind the rest of the group.
Neutral: Pocahontas is free-spirited. She “goes wherever the wing takes her” and is unafraid to approach a stranger. She jumps of cliffs and flips over canoes. She rides her kano over cliffs and takes the narrow, winding river. On the other hand, Pocahontas is also calmer than her preceding Renaissance princesses. Instead of the hallmark loud outbursts that define the “Threatening Three” (I just coined a new term,) Pocahontas speaks levelly with her father. Instead of angry outbursts about how she will NOT marry Kocoum, Pocahontas says in a perfectly calm tone, “I think my dream is leading me down another path” and asks her father whether he would talk with one of the Englishmen if one was willing to talk. Pocahontas is also curious. When the settlers came, instead of turning and running, she stayed awhile and watched. She followed John Smith across the forest and went to watch him at the waterfall. She was also very interested in life in London. She wants to know all about the roads and tall buildings, as well as the English language.
Border: Pocahontas is brave. This is a good thing because she is willing to put herself in danger for others and jumped onto John Smith to save his life (even if Chief Powhatan was her father, would u be confident jumping under a club?) However, this can also cause her to be reckless. She does things such as jumping of cliffs and canoeing over a waterfall. Pocahontas is also a very spiritual person. She believes deeply in the spirits around her. She communicates with them and she does what she believes they are telling her. She waits for the spirits’ guidance before deciding what to do. However, this can lead her to be passive and wait for the decision to come to her instead of being proactive for herself. This also leads her to her indecisiveness.
A steady but spirited diplomat
Mulan was the first princess to really develop in her movie. She was also a big step away from the “I want more” mentality of the “Threatening Three” (I rather like this new term.) She had initiative and did things with others as her motivation. Instead of seeking what she wanted, Mulan fell into situations that brought her development.
Positives: Where else to start? Mulan is brave. She went into war to save her father. After being raised to believe that no woman would ever be able to survive in the man’s world of war, Mulan went into war against one of the greatest warlords of all time in order to protect her father. She also did everything she could to protect her fellow soldiers. Mulan is also selfless. She gave everything to protect her father. The stakes were incredibly high for her. She could have died in battle of if she was discovered as a woman- and she almost did. She stayed to try to find someone who would listen even though she had been shunned door everyone. Mulan is super intelligent. She is creative and very analytical. She can find ways to turn her disadvantage to her advantage. She is emotionally strong. After thinking all is lost in the mountains, she can put it behind her to pursue the Huns in the city and try to tell Shang and the others. Mulan has a very strong sense of duty. She does what she has to in order to bring honor for her family when she goes to the matchmaker. She also gives everything to protect her father and country. In the Imperial City at the end, we see that Mulan is very humble. After the Emporer bows to her and gives her his honor, all of China does as well, as we all know. Mulan has a look on her face that shows that she is unhappy with everyone bowing to her and giving her the praise. She is a very good team player. Her plan to protect the Emperor involved the soldiers working together and working as a team. Mulan is also humble and obedient to her parents and authority. She goes to the matchmaker even though she doesn’t want to because she knows it is important for her family. After the Emperor asks her to stay in the Imperial City, Mulan says she would rather go back to her family (and just to point out, she does that in the original story too.) She also gives Fa Zhou the sword and Imperial crest so that he will have the family’s honor, tonen her humility and obedience to her father.
Negatives: Mulan is socially awkward for basically the entire movie. That can often happen in people who are hyper-intelligent. At the beginning, Mulan does not know how to handle herself when she is in the test. She immediately isolates herself in the army. At the end, when Shang approaches her, it’s basically a social awkwardness showdown. Shang has no idea how to act, and then Mulan just sort of responds with “Oh- ah- sure- see ya.” Mulan can also be very bitter in her movie, and at times, she even seems kind of vindictive. After Fa Zhou is drafted and tells Mulan not to challenge it in the street, Mulan erupts at dinner. She is very angry and runs out in her charged state. Mulan also kid of wallows. Also, when she is in the Imperial City, after Shan Yu shows himself again, we pan back to Mulan and see that she had this sort of “I-told-you-so” expression on her face. She also is undisciplined and unmotivated door nature. She is just lazy. She put off her studying until the last minuut and then has to cheat and write notes on her arm, which then leads her to be late starting her chores. She couldn’t memorize “Fulfill your duties calmly and respectfully, reflect before u act; this will bring u honor and glory”- I clearly have just memorized it from watching the movie. She is late to her first dag of training. She needs the motivation of the army and Shang constantly being on her to actually put in the effort she could have. I zei earlier that Mulan wallows. She can be very self-pitying. She has a tendency to perceive things as being against her. Mulan is a very melancholy person. She is rarely optimistic and very clearly does not see things through rose-colored glasses. There are several times in the movie where she feels that all hope is lost. She goes to the war and fights for her family, but wasn't interested in the matchmaker and family honor enough to memorize one short paragraph. She is extremely smart and can find split-second solutions to extremely tight binds, but she doesn't think things entirely through and doesn't put effort into learning. She has a ton of talent and ability, but needs someone else to push her for it to be realized. She moves on in situations, but also is self-pitying in Reflection and because she can't measure up (though she didn't put the effort in.) Mulan can be rather pessimistic.
Neutral: Mulan is not very social. She’s a meer introverted person. She only has four vrienden in the army including Shang. However, if she is a friend to someone, she will be very loyal. She doesn’t seek out the company of others. She bathes door herself (well, there are logistical issues at play there) and no one seems to think it strange that she isn’t in the swim party all the other soldiers had. Mulan is also, like Pocahontas, a much calmer princess than the “Threatening Three” and Snow White (unless u count the sequel, where they totally botch her personality.) Other than her one outburst back at her house, she is very temperate when speaking with anyone, even when she disagrees. When Shang wouldn’t listen to her, Mulan never really raised her voice. Mulan is also very resourceful. She uses what she has to create a new solution. Of course, we all know these times. She uses the weights to climb the poll; she has Yao, Ling, and Chien Po dress in drag to get into the palace; she has Mushu light the fireworks to kill Shan Yu. Of course, the most obvious and well-known is that Mulan using her fan to wrest the sword out of Shan Yu’s hand.
Border: Mulan has a hero complex. Remember in Harry potter and the Order of the Phoenix when Hermione zei Harry had a “saving-people thing?” That fits Mulan perfectly. Yes, she is brave and selfless, but she has a compulsive need to take on the role of the hero if she can. One example is when she stays in the city to try and find someone who will listen after Shang turns her away. She could have felt that Shang made his bed so he should have to lie in it, but instead she had to find someone who would listen. However, the scene I think shows this meer than any other is the matchmaker scene. She knows that speaking out of turn and messing up her tea-pouring will result in failing the test, but she HAS to try and keep her from drinking the thee with the cricket in it. It is a good thing because she wants to protect others, but it can also get her into bigger trouble than the situation might be worth. Mulan is also very unique and original. She is neither the ultimate femme fatale nor a tomboy. Now, there is nothing wrong with this in itself. However, life is difficult for the odd one out. This is part of the reason why Mulan struggles with who she is in the movie- she tries to fit into what society tells her she needs to be. She has difficulty with her test at the matchmaker because of this. However, because she is so different, she also is the intelligent, opinionated (she has them- just because she doesn’t shout them at every opportunity doesn’t mean they aren’t there,) awkward, heroic character we all love.
Heroic but with a realistic personality
Sorry if I came across like I was bashing the “Threatening Three,” I really do love them (well, I have my mixed feelings about Jasmine) and they are all great characters as well.