Essay on Pocahontas

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[1] 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?

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It is also about having respect for each other’s cultures” (Pocahontas 35). In a sense that is what the story of Pocahontas promotes, racial tolerance between two groups who are seen as “different” from one another. The problem that most people encounter is that Disney chose an actual person and an actual legend in which to display that theme.

[4] Disney even goes on further to suggest that their intentions have a modern relevance when they say that “It is an important message to a generation to stop fighting, stop killing each other because of the color of your skin” (Pocahontas 37). It is quite clear that Disney never intended to write or rewrite history, as they have been so viciously attacked for doing. They are writing about tolerance and understanding, while at the same time they are giving back some respect to the indigenous people of America. James Pentecost, the producer of the film, feels that “moviemakers shouldn’t be handcuffed when using real stories as jumping-off places for works of entertainment” (Kim 24). Disney simply liked the idea of Pocahontas; they liked the message that it conveyed, and they made it applicable to Hollywood.

[5] Gary Edgerton and Kathy Merlock Jackson, in their review of the movie, conveyed these same ideas about Pocahontas. They insist that “The filmmakers at Disney never really intended Pocahontas to be historically accurate, despite all the

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