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Pocahontas

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Darcy Mickalow

on 21 January 2014

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Transcript of Pocahontas

The True Story
Pocahontas is the name by which history remembers Matoaka, daughter of a chief of the Powhatan Confederacy and ruler of the land known as "Virginia". Pocahontas, a nickname given by her father, was 11 when English settlers arrived in Jamestown. In the company of these settlers was a man named John Smith, who among exploring on the Chickahominy River December 1607 was captured by a hunting party led by Powhatan's close relative Opechancanough. At this point there are different accounts as to what happened next.
The True
The details of this event and the events that follow are inconsistent in John Smith's writings.
In a 1608 account, John said he was brought to Powhatan's home where he was welcomed with a great feast that was followed by a big talk with Powhatan himself. There is no mention of meeting Pocahontas.
In 1616 John Smith revised the story in a letter to Queen Anne, he stated, "...at the minute of my execution she hazarded the beating out of her own brains to save mine; and not only that, but so prevailed with her father, that I was safetly conducted to Jamestown.
This story was further embellished in his book "General Historie" years later.
Historians have expressed doubts about John Smith's accounts, it has been suggested that he may have exaggerated or invented the encounter to enhance Pocahontas' standing.
Once John Smith returned to Jamestown, Pocahontas visited the settlement often, bringing food to keep the settlers from starving in the harsh winters. In late 1609, John Smith returned to England for medical care, whereupon the English told the Indians that Smith was dead. There is no mention of Pocahontas in history until many years later, during the first Anglo-Powhatan war. Captain Samuel Argall pursued an alliance with the Patawomencks, a northern group of natives with hesitating loyalty towards Powhatan. The allies tricked Pocahontas into boarding Captain Argall's ship and held her for ransom, demanding the release of English prisoners and supplies held by Powhatan. Upon failing to meet Argall's demands, Pocahontas was kept as prisoner for one year. During this year, a minister named Alexander Whitaker instructed Pocahontas in Christianity and baptized her with a Christian name; Rebecca. Also during this year, Pocahontas met John Rolfe, a very religious farmer who requested permission to marry her. Once they were wed, they lived on John Rolfe's farm for two years and Pocahontas gave birth to their son Thomas Rolfe. Pocahontas became a symbol of Indian religious company and the Virginia Company thought it appropriate to bring her to England as an example of the tamed 'New World' savage. The Rolfe family left for England in June of 1616. Upon arriving in England, the Virginia Company presented Pocahontas as a princess and she was even brought before the King. In March of 1617, the Rolfe family once again boarded the ship to return home, but Pocahontas fell ill and was taken ashore at Gravesend where she eventually died and was buried.
Disney's Story
Pocahontas
A group of English adventurers, led by the governor general of the Virginia Company set sail in hopes of finding riches, including gold, in the New World. Meanwhile in Virginia, a native girl named Pocahontas , the daughter of Chief Powhatan, is concerned about her path in life and which one she should take. Her father has told her she is to marry Kocoum, the bravest warrior in the tribe, but Pocahontas does not know if that is her destiny. Upon their arrival, the English settlers begin digging up and exploring the land. Captain John Smith is given the task of scouting the area and meets Pocahontas. Despite their first apprehensions, the pair are attracted to one another and Pocahontas shows John Smith a world he has never known; every object has a living spirit . Relations between the English and Indians; when John is captured by Powhatan and to be executed, Pocahontas throws herself in front of John, bravely putting her life before the man she loves. John then saves Chief Powhatan's life by taking a bullet, but is wounded in the process. In order to live, John is required to seek medical help in England. John and Pocahontas part ways, but for how long?
Disney's Story
Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World
Pocahontas is still living in Virginia when a royal emissary named John Rolfe travels to Jamestown under the orders to bring the Chief of the Powhatan to England in hopes of preventing a British-Indian war. Upon hearing of John Smith's death in England, Pocahontas takes her fathers place in order to start anew and travels to England with John Rolfe as her guide. When the company arrives, General Radcliffe informs the King that the Jamestown Indians are savages and cannot be trusted. Pocahontas plans to prove Radcliffe and the King wrong by entering high society and providing a civilized appearance. Radcliffe schemes to sabotage Pocahontas' plan and gets her sent to the dungeon. The non-deceased John Smith hears of her imprisonment and comes to her rescue. Radcliffe is exposed as evil man that he is and Pocahontas is allowed to return to Virginia, but John Smith is not her companion on the expedition home, John Rolfe is.
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Pocahontas
Romance
After analyzing the true story of Pocahontas and Disney's story of Pocahontas it is evident that the romance between Pocahontas and John Smith is inaccurately portrayed. In fact there was no romance at all between the pair, it was just fabricated in order to heighten suspense and create a relationship between the audience and the couple. It is historical fact that Pocahontas was between 10-12 when John Smith (a grown man) was captured by the Powhatan tribe. While Pocahontas may have had a crush on Smith, nothing came to fruition.
Verdict: Inaccurate
2/10
Culture
Voyage to England
In Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World Pocahontas travels to England on a diplomatic mission to save her people from being harmed. With her is John Rolfe, a royal emissary and stranger to Pocahontas. In reality, Pocahontas and John Rolfe had already been married for two years when they came to England and brought their son. Once again Disney wants to create suspense and entice the audience with the idea of new love between the two. The real reason for their voyage is different too. The Rolfe's came to promote Jamestown and Mr. Rolfe's new tobacco industry. The idea of a very dire mission in Pocahontas II created motive for Pocahontas to see England and assimilate their culture.
Peace
Verdict: Inaccurate
4/10
At the end of Pocahontas, the English settlers and the natives become friends that are able to coexist. This did not actually happen; waves of infectious disease from the settlers and genocide wiped out up to 90% of the native population. The English believed that anyone who did not follow their religion was not worthy and needed to be culturally and ethically cleansed. The native people that survived were confined to reservations. Although Pocahontas brought food for the settlers during their first winter, her kindness was not reciprocated as that she was captured by the English in later years.
Verdict: Inaccurate
4/10
Portrayal
In both Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World, the characters are all seemingly accurately portrayed. The roles of individuals are correct in the sense that they play the same role in the films as they do in the true story. Although the ages and physiques of some characters are altered, they are all identified. Pocahontas, John Smith and John Rolfe play major roles in both the true story and the Disney stories. Governor Ratcliffe is mentioned in both accounts, as well as Chief Powhatan and Kocoum. Correct names such as Jamestown and the Powhatan Confederacy are also used in the multiple movies. While the films may be historically incorrect, the detail concerning the names of people and places during the time period is impressive.
Verdict: Accurate
8/10
In conclusion, Pocahontas and Pocahontas II: Journey to the New World are wonderfully animated movies but both lose points for incorrectly telling the story of Pocahontas and events surrounding her life. Both films portray real historical figures and easily mislead children by interfering with historical events that will be later learned about.
Final Verdict: Inaccurate
4/10
Verdict: Accurate and Inaccurate
5/10
In 1607, in both the true story and Disney movie, John Smith and his crew set sail from Jacobean England for the New World. Their ship is also flying the brand new Union flag that was designed in 1606. This expedition is led by the captain, John Ratcliffe. In Pocahontas, Captain Ratcliffe has a pet pug. Pugs were brought to Europe from China by Dutch traders in the 16th century and became very fashionable. The detail to the culture of the English settlers is very impressive as well as very accurate. The dress of the Natives however is inaccurate; men did not wear headdresses or skirts. While Natives were in touch with nature, it is highly unlikely that they picked up wild animals like Pocahontas did in the Disney movie.
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