Comparison Of Collective Memory And Disney's Romanization Of Pocahontas

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Collective Memory and Disney’s Romanization of Pocahontas
Disney has a penchant for taking old stories, which were typically unsuitable for children, and turning them into movies with beautiful animation and songs which are generally regarded as “timeless classics.” As a result, the original awful tales are forgotten by the children who watch these movies and the shiny, new Disney retellings are passed down through generations and held in our collective memories. The same thing has happened with Disney’s adaptation of Pocahontas, only now it has changed how a generation of children viewed Native Americans. The interactions of the colonists and Natives and the goals of the colonists were accurately portrayed and made more understandable for children through the use of songs. However, Disney took liberties with a story that is completely fictional, appropriated Native American culture, and invalidated Native Americans’ constant struggle throughout American history.
The first song, “The Virginia Company,” is played as the
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John Smith, who was known to embellish when he wrote, described the incident in his Generall Historie. He tells it dramatically, saying, “…and being ready… to beat out his braines, Pocahontas…laid her owne [head] upon his to save him from death…” (Smith, Generall Historie). However, as Gail Tremblay points out in her article “Reflecting on Pocahontas,” he had told the story of different women saving his life on other journeys, and the surviving settlers were not present during the incident to confirm or deny Smith’s story. Even then, the Pocahontas in Smith’s story is only about ten, but in order to fulfill the desire for the classic Disney romance, Pocahontas is aged “…into a flirty, full-grown vixen…concerned with finding Mr. Right.” (“‘Pocahontas,’ Romantic and Revisionist,” New York Times,

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