Pocahontas and the powhattan dilemma

6 June 2016

It is said that there are many different versions to a story. There is one persons story, then there is an other person’s story, and then, there is the truth. “Our memories change each time they are recalled. What we recall is only a facsimile of things gone by.” Dobrin, Arthur. “Your Memory Isn’t What You Think It Is.” (online magazine). Psychology Today. July 16, 2013. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/am-i-right/201307/your-memory-isnt-what-you-think-it-is. Every time a story is told, it changes. From Disney movies to books, to what we tell our friends and colleagues. Sometimes the different sides to the story challenge the way we think about ourselves and other people. The Pocahontas story is no different, from the productions of the Disney movie Pocahontas, to the writing of the book Pocahontas, and the writing of Powhatan Dilemma by Camila Townsend.

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Each individual person has an opinion. What they choose to believe in all depends on what they want themselves to think. We can all pretend we live in a nice happy place where there are no problems, such as to believe that the English settlers came in strictly for peace and strictly for that one reason alone, but life isn’t always how they portray it to be. Where are these happy endings where everyone is nice and if they were not, they were later regretful of their malicious actions. People are ruthless; instead of peaceful settlers setting out to explore a new world and try to learn about it’s mysterious ways with the help of natives, Pocahontas was in all reality captured by the English settlers and was forced to abide not only by their customs, but by their religious thoughts, and indigenous ways.

After her unwanted adventure, she was “let” by the English settlers to have a second “opportunity” to go over to Europe, and explore a new world for her people and learn about the “right” ways to live life. She was a brave woman who faced a horrific adventure with unknown people for the good of hers. Contrary to the Disney movie, Pocahontas meets John Smith by a waterfall and quickly gasped by love meant to be by the shaking of their hands. Townsend examines the following months on the settling of the English, as well as Pocahontas’s kidnapping, to her imprisonment, down to her marriage to John Rolfe, her conversion to Christianity, and finally her death.

A major contrast between the Disney Stories and movie of Pocahontus, was that they had failed to mention her kidnapping. Pocahontas’ kidnapping was unjust and surprising as it was by the community of the man who would be her husband and later the father to her child, although Pocahontas had already been married since the age of twelve or thirteen to a man named Kocoom. Pocahontas’ early marriage was then ended when her warrior Kocoom had then disappeared, for reasons unknown. After this disappearance, Pocahontas later then married to John Rolfe as she had the choice to choose any man she wanted without the fear of being judged and called cold for her remarriage.

Another major difference between Disneys portrayal of Pocahontas and Townsend’s portrayal of Pocahontas is her decision to be baptized. Although it would have been seen as a betrayal to her tribe, Pocahontas chose to be baptized, with the consent of her father. Even though it was well known to Powhatan (Pocahontas’ father), that with his consent of Pocahontas’ baptism (now Rebecca), he would lose not his people’s respect, but as well as their trust, he allowed the people pursuing “God’s Will” in converting the “uneducated” into his faith because of his knowledge and understanding that it was better to view the English as friends or alliances so he can later use their friendship for knowledge, and not have them as enemies. Pocahontas’ eventual disease caused death was never portrayed in the Disney movies of Pocahontas which is something that should have been evident.

The way you perceive Pocahontas, and the way I perceive Pocahontas, and the way Uncle Billy Bob perceives Pocahontas, all depends on how and who the story was told by. If Uncle Billy Bob had only read Disney’s book of Pocahontas and you had only watched the movie, and I had only read Townsend’s Pocahontas and the Powhatan dilemma, we would have a completely different theory on the events and would all tell a different story when trying to explain it to any one person.

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