Fa Mu Lan Quotes in The Woman Warrior
After I grew up, I heard the chant of Fa Mu Lan, the girl who took her father’s place in battle…. I had forgotten this chant that was once mine, given me by my mother, who may not have known its power to remind. She said I would grow up a wife and a slave, but she taught me the song of the warrior woman, Fa Mu Lan. I would have to grow up a warrior woman.
I saw two people made of gold dancing the earth’s dances. They turned so perfectly together they were the axis of the earth’s turning [….] Chinese lion dancers, African lion dancers in midstep. I heard high Javanese bells deepen in midring to Indian bells, Hindu Indian, American Indian [….] Then the dancers danced the future—a machine-future—in clothes I had never seen before. I am watching the centuries pass in moments because suddenly I understand time, which is spinning and fixed like the North Star. And I understand how working and hoeing are dancing; how peasant clothes are golden, as king’s clothes are golden; how one dancer is always a man and the other a woman.
The swordswoman and I are not so dissimilar. May my people understand the resemblance soon so that I can return to them. What we have in common are the words at our backs. The idioms for revenge are “report a crime” and “report to five families.” The reporting is the vengeance—not the beheading, not the gutting, but the words. And I have so many words— “chink” words and “gook” words too—that they do not fit on my skin.