Disney’s Pocahontas has understandably received a lot of flak about the historically inaccurate story that is told about the legendary Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. There is a good reason for that. The movie does little that can be construed as historically accurate, yet Disney claims that was never their intent. Disney, in their previous movies, has been attacked for being racist and unsympathetic to racial minorities. Their answer was a movie whose sole purpose, as stated by Disney, was to promote racial tolerance. The question is, then can a movie promote racial tolerance when the issue is built on false history, history that if told accurately would depict the exact opposite?
 First, I feel that it is important to establish exactly what Disney’s intentions were in making the film. Secondly, I intend to show that Disney provided enough historical information that it is questionable whether or not one can assume that they were trying to teach history, history that is specifically aimed at children. Lastly, I will show that the real story of Pocahontas was not about racial tolerance, that it was not about understanding one’s culture, but it was in fact about trying to change one’s culture.
 From the movie’s start Disney has been preaching innocence about trying to accurately depict history. Disney, in their press kit, expressed that, “Pocahontas is a story that appealed to us because it was basically a story about people getting along together… which is particularly applicable to lots of places in the world today” (Pocahontas 33). In addition, Thomas Schmucher, who is the senior vice president of Disney feature animation, says, “It is a...
... middle of paper ...
... 11 June 1995: 46.
Muldoon, Paul. “Barbie, but no Bimbo.” Times Literary Supplement 13 October 1995: 21.
“Pocahontas: Press Kit.” Burbank: Walt Disney Pictures, 1995.
Rasmussen, William, and Robert S. Tilton. Pocahontas: Her Life and Legend. Charlottesville: Virginia Historical Society, 1994.
Rollins, Peter C., and John E. O’Connor, eds. Hollywood's Indian: The Portrayal of the Native American in Film. Lexington: UP of Kentucky, 1998.
Rosenstone, Robert A. Visions of the Past: The Challenge of Film to Our Idea of History. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1995.
Schlesinger, Arthur M., Jr. The Disuniting of America. New York: Norton, 1992.
Turan, Kenneth. “Disney Tries Again to Find the Magic; The Kids May Like it but the Adult Viewers May Feel that Pocahontas is More By-The-Numbers than Inspired.” Los Angeles Times 16 June 1995: 1.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Many times, things are not what they seem. Deception is often used to publicize things in a different light and it distorts actual historical content and facts. One example of this is when Disney inaccurately portrays the actual life of historical characters such as Mulan and Pocahontas. In the movie Mulan, based on the “Ballad of Mulan,” Disney inaccurately portrays her life causing many incongruities. In the movie, Mulan is portrayed as being weak and unskilled with weapons and horsemanship.... [tags: Mulan, Pocahontas]
913 words (2.6 pages)
- Post-Colonialism Reflective Essay The historical attempts of Europeans to claim lands that are not their own and forcibly take them from previous owners have created a repeated scenario of fierce conflict between the colonizers and the colonized. This scenario is seen so often in history that it has become a sort of universal theme, a fact not missed by writers and filmmakers. In both The Power of One and Pocahontas, the colonization of an existing culture creates tension between the colonizers and the colonized.... [tags: cultures, The Power of One, Pocahontas]
891 words (2.5 pages)
- The first film that was viewed in class is Disney’s Pocahontas. Pocahontas is supposed to be based off of history, but Disney fails horribly. They had the money and the resources that they needed to invent the film closer to the actual recreation of history. It was the drive of greed which made them produce Pocahontas in reel history instead of real history. If Pocahontas is full of inaccuracies, even though, the film is trying to recreate what happened, why do people still love it. In the film Pocahontas, there are numerousness inaccuracies, but there is also some truth.... [tags: Native Americans in the United States, Pocahontas]
924 words (2.6 pages)
- When many people mention Pocahontas the first thing that comes to mind is the Disney movie. Like many movies they stem from many true facts and sometimes tailor it to only portray what they want or sometimes they don’t have all the real facts. One thing that can be said is that “She came to symbolize for white Americans the possibility of cultural unity, for many Native American’s she symbolizes the loss of traditional culture.” (Barrett 2005) Pocahontas was just a nickname given to her as a child.... [tags: Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Jamestown, Virginia]
706 words (2 pages)
- Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma, provides a vivid and brutally honest account of the atrocities committed against Pocahontas and her people, unlike the popular animated film released by Disney. We will never know the absolute truth behind Pocahontas and her people, or the early settlers who emigrated to Jamestown, but one truth, however, remains evident. The English had succeeded in destroying an entire culture, rich with diversity. This may not have been what the English had intended at first, but it untimely was the result of their actions against the Powhatan people and the other tribes of the surrounding region.... [tags: Native Americans in the United States, Pocahontas]
1135 words (3.2 pages)
- Pocahontas was a vital mediator who maintained a flimsy peace between two opposing forces. When the English settlers came to Jamestown in 1607 Pocahontas was a young girl of only 11, and she was fascinated by the settlers. The English settlers thought of Pocahontas as a harmless child who, because of her standing as the Powhatan chief 's daughter put her in the perfect position to make and maintain a peace between the settlers and the Natives. One of the settlers, John Smith, wrote about all that happened in Jamestown.... [tags: Pocahontas, John Rolfe, Powhatan, Chief Powhatan]
730 words (2.1 pages)
- POCAHONTAS Many people know Pocahontas from the Disney movies. They think of her as an Indian girl who wears a mini dress and fell in love with John Smith and thought John Smith had a dog named Percy. First of all Pocahontas didn’t even wear clothes as a kid and never was in love with John Smith. And Percy was actually a colonist who followed John Smith and wrote books about the experiences. and Disney just created this movie for entertainment. Therefore they left out lots of important details and historical events that actually happened.... [tags: Biography Biographies Bio]
1155 words (3.3 pages)
- Pocahontas Introduction  Disney’s Pocahontas has understandably received a lot of flak about the historically inaccurate story that is told about the legendary Pocahontas and Captain John Smith. There is a good reason for that. The movie does little that can be construed as historically accurate, yet Disney claims that was never their intent. Disney, in their previous movies, has been attacked for being racist and unsympathetic to racial minorities. Their answer was a movie whose sole purpose, as stated by Disney, was to promote racial tolerance.... [tags: History Native Americans]
2786 words (8 pages)
- Pocahontas For more than two centuries since the death of the Indian princess Pocahontas, legends and stories of romance have been imbedded into our minds, but her dramatic life was more important to the creation of a segment of American history than legend. Around the year of 1595, Pocahontas was born to chief Powhatan, the powerful chief of a federation of Algonquian Indian tribes who lived in the tidewater region of Virginia (Sahlman). She was but one of the many children of Powhatan, who ruled more than 25 tribes.... [tags: essays papers]
957 words (2.7 pages)
- Many moons ago, an Indian girl was not yet born but there were many problems with Indians and the white man as the Indians. This unborn child would become a huge part of colony history between the Indians and the English; this child was to be recognized in history by many different names the most famous name would be Pocahontas. The book I read was about Pocahontas by Grace Steele Woodward. This book covers many different subjects in Pocahontas’s life. The book begins with a background of The Powhatans, Pocahontas’s people.... [tags: essays research papers fc]
1018 words (2.9 pages)