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John Smith and Pocahontas: A Disney Romance

Uploaded by seanmscanlon on Feb 28, 2000

It can be easily assumed that almost everyone has heard the tale of the American Indian princess, Pocahontas – the narrative of a mysterious young girl who rescues an English explorer from death only to fall in love and win his affections in return. It is one that is quite popular and has even been developed into an animated movie by Walt Disney Pictures. Regardless of which version they may have heard, most people are familiar with the legend now thanks in part to Disney. However, what they are not familiar with, are the facts. All too often, we accept what is presented in films as history without any thought into the matter. Did Pocahontas and explorer John Smith ever actually meet? If so, how did they, and was there ever the feeling of love between them? There are similarities, but more differences between historical fact and what is presented in the Walt Disney motion picture. Aside from obvious deviations of the film, such as the language , there are others including how Pocahontas and Smith meet, which they did in fact do. In the movie from the beginning, Pocahontas is an independent, curious woman who stumbles upon the English settlement. As a result, Captain Smith notices her and assures her that he will do her no harm. The two instantly warm to one another. While this makes a wonderful opening for a movie – we view a great scene of the English working hard to establish a settlement – it is not how they met at all. In his book Pocahontas and Her World, Philip L. Barbour offers a more accurate account of the two’s first meeting. He explains that John Smith was the one who was adventuring, not Pocahontas (as Disney depicts). He says that "on or about December 29, 1607" , Smith was led into the chief’s hut as a "prisoner" by Indian braves. Inside, he witnessed chief Powhatan – Pocahontas’ father – lying in comfort, surrounded by women he thought to be the chief’s wives . According to Barbour, Smith was treated well and given food and drink. What happened next was more exciting than a modern day film could depict, but also very complicated to explain in a film geared toward younger audiences. After some dicussion among the elders, "two big stones were brought in, and Smith was forcibly stretched out on them. What appeared to...

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Uploaded by:   seanmscanlon

Date:   02/28/2000

Category:   Film

Length:   4 pages (1,001 words)

Views:   2235

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