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Pocahontas in American Culture Discussion

Pocahontas in American Culture Discussion



Choose an adaptation of the Pocahontas story (the 1995 Disney film or the image on the Capital RotundaLinks to an external site., for instance), and write about what that adaptation tells us about how American culture views Pocahontas and her story. Why has this story remained so popular in American culture for so long? What do the differences between the original story and the adaptation tell us about the original story and American culture? Avoid too much plot summary or a long catalog of differences. Use at least two quotations from our reading assignments for this lesson.

Your response should be at least 300 words and include quotations from the original text and the adaptation (you can also link to video clips) you choose. Quotations do not count towards your 300 words.

Please also respond substantively and thoughtful to two of your classmates by this lesson’s due date:

This is one of my classmate’s post:

I will reference both the 1995 film and the Links to an external site.“>image on the Capital RotundaLinks to an external site. to explain the American view on the story of Pocahontas. The story of Pocahontas is known to many Americans a tale of romance and connection between the natives and settlers originally told by John Smith. His false tale about his relations with Pocahontas has been widespread during his time to the Englishmen back home as well as still being told to this day. A more recent example of this romanticized myth is the 1995 Disney film, in the film they portray Pocahontas as an adult around the same age of John Smith to tell this tale of romance. She “saves” him from her father and they develop a relationship while John Smith is working with the tribe. While John Smith is working with the tribe for the time being for trading, Pocahontas at the time was a child when she “saved” him, which we now know today, “It’s even disputed whether or not Pocahontas, age 11 or 12, even rescued the mercantile soldier and explorer at all, as Smith might have misinterpreted what was actually a ritual ceremony or even just lifted the tale from a Links to an external site.“>popular Scottish balladLinks to an external site..” The idea that John Smith wanted to portray was the connection between England and Americas by giving the false pretense that the Natives were easy to manipulate. Some time later, the Anglo-Powhatan war broke out and the Englishmen basically kidnapped Pocahontas and took her to England and performed a baptism on her as well as changing her name to Rebecca. This can be seen in the Links to an external site.“>image on the Capital RotundaLinks to an external site.. She later fell ill and died in England before ever making it back to her tribe. Back to the American values of the story. The reason this story has remained in our culture for all these decades is because it makes Americans but more specifically white people less guilty for taking over the Natives land and makes them feel like the “good guys”. The fact that a Native “wanted” to adopt the Christian lifestyle and learn our culture makes us seem like the good people in the situation.

Here is another one:

Something interesting I found about John Smith was how he happened to be in Virginia, saved from hanging in England because his name was found on a list of possible candidates to lead a group. He was a farmer’s son as opposed to an aristocrat, and led an interesting life before going to North America, and this influences his writing. On page 117, Smith recalls how the Native Americans were impressed by a compass, stating “Much they marveled at the playing of the fly and needle, which they could see so plainly and yet not touch it because of the glass that covered them”. This passage is followed by the capturing of Captain Smith, who they were going to kill with bows. I believe that Smith did portray the Native American as being easily manipulated, however he did state many instances where they were willing and able to fight back. These two emotions are portrayed in his writing, he comes back to acknowledging that they can be frightful, but continuing to challenge them or try to trick them into trade. On page 114, he begins recalling how they went to pillage a nearby village for supplies, but upon contact, the Native Americans were prepared for battle and willing to fight; “Expecting as it happened that the savages would assault them, as not long after, they did with a most hideous noise”. I think that Smith depicts the Native Americans as uneducated but not meak because he did in fact fear them and wanted to relay this emotion to those reading. 

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