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Comparison between Disney’s and John Smith’s Version of Pocahontas

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Although Disney's version of Pocahontas continues to gain success around the world, it can be obvious that the film was directed after John Smith had learned his fiction. To a substantial extent, John Smith's version of the story has remained original since his writing arrived earlier than Disney's film. As a result, John Smith's writing accounts for certain facets of Native Powhatan history with its originality relative to the Disney edition of the film. Although the two variations of the story sound a bit different, there are certain parallels that this paper tries to compare.
In both John Smith’s writing and the Disney film, the setting of the story is similar; that is, the story takes place in Jamestown, Virginia. When the colonialist first arrived in Jamestown, they started to look for gold. John Smith was portrayed as an active soldier who was adventurous and as a result, he found himself just about to be executed, but Pocahontas rescued him (Custalow and Angela 34).

In Disney’s film, John Smith is portrayed as a tall and a clean shaven man who used to put on tight pants with armor. On the contrary, John Smith’s writing depicts John Smith as a short and a full beard man. He used to put on puffy pants with armor as indicated in Figure 1.

Consequently, in the Disney’s film, Pocahontas and John Smith met in the wilderness and fell in love just like Romeo and Juliet. In John Smith’s writing, Pocahontas and John Smith met each other when John Smith was just about to be executed, but he was rescued. Powhatan afterward adopted John Smith as his son; ‘Nantaquoud.' It is at this point that new kinsman and Pocahontas became good friends. Figure 2 illustrates the two scenarios as indicated in both the Disney’s film and in John Smith’s writing.

Conversely, in Disney’s film, Pocahontas wore a leather mini-dress with one side of her dress, strapped and had a tattoo on her shoulder. She also had a beautiful, athletic build body. In John Smith’s writing, Pocahontas was twelve year girl who stayed naked. To keep warm, she wore far. She also used to wear a mantle that was covered with feathers and was decorated with pictures of animals. These comparisons are well illustrated in figure 3.

In both John Smith’s writing and Disney’s film, Ratcliffe was portrayed differently. In the Disney film, he is described as a huge man who used to dress in a flashy manner. He used to be accompanied by his dog, which he named Percy. He was the governor of the entire colony, and he was in charge during the voyage. In John Smith writing, Ratcliffe used to dress in traditional clothing of the time, and he did not have a dog. He is portrayed as the president of Jamestown, Virginia (Suissa et al. 45). These differences are illustrated in figure 4.

The mode of romance in John Smith’s writing was also portrayed differently in the Disney’s film. In Disney’s film, Pocahontas was engaged to Kocoum, but chose John Smith. In John Smith’s writing, John Smith was engaged to Kocoum, but chose John Ralph. The following picture (Figure 5) can justify this information ("Watch Pocahontas 1995 Online | Free Movies").

Conclusion

Based on these comparisons, it is evident that Disney’s film has caused controversy of the story of Pocahontas to the extent that the historical accuracy of the story is lost. In the movie, the main characteristics of the people involved, and the events have taken the best outcomes. For instance, Pocahontas is a free spirit, beloved by John Smith as well as her father. Everything works in favor of a desirable outcome. This is contrary to John Smith’s writing, which depicts Pocahontas as the journey to England, and the abduction as well as conversion.

Works Cited

Custalow, Linwood, and Angela L. Daniel. The True Story of Pocahontas: the Other Side of History. 2007.

Suissa, Daniele J, et al. Pocahontas: The Legend. 2013.

"Watch Pocahontas 1995 Online | Free Movies." Fmovies, fmovies.is/film/pocahontas.wmwl/4z059o.

October 26, 2021
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