The True Story of Pocahontas

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The true story of Pocahontas is about a 10 year old. When using different theories to analyze work, one may uncover the truth about the realms. Pocahontas shows hints of post colonialism and feminism. Post colonialism is the political and social supremacy and domination of land and its citizens by a foreign power. It also looks at issues of power, economics, religion, and culture. “Savages, savages!”(Gabriel and Erick), cry the English colonizers when they see the Native Americans. This exemplifies the tensions of postcolonialism that is present in the film. Disney tries to romanticize the life of Native Americans in this movie. Disney does not portray the accurate story and tries to rewrite the story making it seem like a magically romantic fairytale, but in reality it is a tale of tragedy and heartbreak.  

Native girl who gets abducted, raped, and allegedly murdered by the English colonizers. Disney tends to glorify their way of life and their interactions with the English men, while trying to create an inaccurate love story between a white man and a Native woman. The real Pocahontas did not want anything to do with the men who were invading and robbing her territory and her culture. But the animated Pocahontas’ life has been sensationalized and romanticized. In the movie, when the English men barge in, Radcliff, the governor tells John Smith, “I'm counting on you... to make sure those filthy heathens don't disrupt our mission”.

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The English men look up to, Eurocentrism, a belief that Europeans are superior than any other culture (Postcolonialism). The Eurocentric prejudice define the Native Americans as others, which objectifies and dehumanizes the tribe in order to oppress, dominate, and take over heir land. The Englishmen construct the Powhatan tribe as intrinsically foreign from alien to oneself. They marginalize them and characterize their differences as flaws, thus making the English men superior to the Natives. To the settler, the Natives are characterized because they do not have the advanced technology and knowledge, so the settlers have the advantage in colonizing the Native Americans’ land. Radcliff, for English men says, “This is a land I can claim, a land I can tame”.

The script is written in a way where the English men are depicted as heroes because of their eagerness to ‘help’ the Powhatans, but it actually ruins the lives of the Natives. They justify their actions by educating them, imperializing them, and polishing their cultures, but this erosion creates genocide of Native Americans. In the arrival of the settlers, they refer the Powahatans’ territory as a New World, where they can discipline its people and use their resources to prosper. The film displays the indeignous peoples as ‘savages,’ ‘filthy heathens,’ and ‘injuns.’ When Pocahontas first encounters John Smith, he says, “We’ll show your people how to use this land properly”. 

John Smith says that he will help the Natives by teaching them how to utilize their land correctly and how to make the most of it. He also mentions that savage is just a term to describe people who are uncivilized. John tries to convince Pocahontas to the ideology that civilization is accepted and appropriate way to live. Following, feminism is the ideology that women and men should be equal. In Pocahontas, Pocahontas’ father tells her that she must marry another Native man named Kocoum because a husband makes a woman. 

The image of public and private spheres are endorsed when the Native men go out on adventures and hunt for animals, while women have to stay home to take care of the children and do the domestic work. The gender roles of femininity and masculinity are displayed when the women in the tribe have to stay in the village and not speak until spoken to, and when men are permitted to give their opinions and hunt outside of the villages. Pocahontas is being subaltern as she is a colonized women that is being marginalized. The viewpoint of these criticisms help one understand the truth about a literary piece of art. 

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