“Yes,” said her old father, “I heard about it in town. Well, I may as well go pack up.” He put down his carving, stood up and walked very slowly to his room.
“Wait!” said Mulan, “Father, you have not been well. If I may say so, why at your age must you keep up with all those young men?”
“What else can be done?” said her father. “Your brother is a child. He cannot go.”
Mulan's father was an older gentleman, and it was clear that he would not be able to fight in the battle. Nonetheless, he wanted to participate in the fight since it meant following the king's orders. He told Mulan that he had received the announcement and needed to pack his belongings to join the fight. He then put down his carving work, rose, and proceeded slowly into the room to pack up his belongings. Mulan, on the other hand, stopped him for a reason. Mulan's father was also unable to walk normally due to his age and illness.
Mulan's father was old, and he also had health issues that concerned his daughter. She reasoned that, he couldn't work with young people at his age. As a result, she did not want him to join the army. But, according to her father, Mulan's brother was a young child who could not be sent to the battlefield to fight, so he was the only one left. Mulan's father decided to join the army since the emperor's announcement demanded one man from each family.
Mulan's father's opinions were similar or common among Chinese people at those times, as women were not allowed or expected to serve in armies. Furthermore, though it is not stated explicitly, the order only required men to join the army and did not include women.
As a result, Mulan's father was more concerned with himself and his son than with his daughter joining the army.
Meaning of difficult words:
|Keep up||To proceed or progress at the same rate.|
State Council of Educational Research and Training (2018). English Standard-10. The Story of Mulan (pp. 88 & 89). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation