Pocahontas Term Paper

1989 Words Apr 24th, 2014 8 Pages
A detailed interpretation and analysis of the historical accuracies and inaccuracies in Disney’s Pocahontas

In Camilla Townsend’s book, Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma, Townsend points out that there are many historical inaccuracies and myths that are associated with the story of Pocahontas. Using historical evidence to support the story of Pocahontas, Townsend attempted to create an accurate timeline bringing the past to the present. At the same time, the Disney film Pocahontas attempted to depict Algonquian culture accurately, however, according to history, much of the material presented in the film is full of misconceptions and is historically imprecise. In fact, Disney’s Pocahontas epitomizes John Smith and
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According to historical records, Pocahontas, at the time of Smith’s arrival to the New World, was only ten years old.7 Additionally, the film depicts Pocahontas as being shocked and in awe of the English, however, evidence shows that “at no point did Powhatan, Pocahontas, or any of their people look on the strangers with wide-mouthed awe or consider them gods.”8 In fact, it is because of her young age that Townsend believes that “Powhatan and his advisors were hardly under her influence” when it came to policy decisions. Thus, her representation as a young adult is historically inaccurate and was clearly put in place to support the imaginary love story between her and John Smith and make this fairy tale seem more believable.
In Disney’s Pocahontas, it is evident that Powhatan desires Pocahontas to marry a Native American. In fact, the film even depicts Powhatan selecting Kocoom, one of his strongest warriors, to be Pocahontas’ future husband. However, Townsend shines light on the idea that Powhatan did not have a strong preference about who Pocahontas married because Pocahontas’ mother lacked “political significance.”9 For this reason, any male child that Pocahontas was to bear would have not been placed in a seat of power, so it was not particularly necessary that she marry at all. As a result, she was given the choice of whom she wanted to marry. Interestingly, historical records indicate that Pocahontas “married a man named Kocoom, around the age of twelve or

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