Pocahontas Sparknotes

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Pocahontas takes place around 1607, just as the new age of exploration has begun. A group of British adventurers led by the greedy governor of the Virginia Company, John Ratcliffe, and including a fearless soldier named John Smith, have set sail for the New World aboard The Susan Constant, seeking gold and other treasures.

Meanwhile, in Virginia, a Native American woman named Pocahontas is trying to find her path in life and dreams about what lies ahead of her. She is the daughter of Chief Powhatan, and she is to marry Kocoum, a stern warrior her father has chosen for her. Pocahontas is curious to see what lies just around the riverbend, and what destiny has planned for her. To help her guide her on her journey, she turns to her forest friends; Meeko, a mischievous raccoon, a feisty hummingbird named Flit and Grandmother Willow, a 400 year old mystical spirit residing in an ancient tree.
Upon their arrival, the British settles begin digging up the countryside in a frenzied and naïve quest for gold. They immediately start to tear down trees dig up the land, and also start developing settlements from the resources found in the New World. John Smith is given the responsibility of protecting the colony and scouts the area for “savages”. While exploring the area just outside the colony, he stumbles upon Pocahontas. Despite their initial apprehensions and conflicts, they are attracted to one another and she introduces him to a world unlike any he has ever known.
The life of the Native and Americans and the British soldiers is like night and day. Pocahontas teaches John Smith that ever rock, tree and creature has a living spirit and explains how the Indians are able to live in harmony with Mother Nature and the life that surrounds them.
In one scene, John Smith asks Pocahontas is she has ever found gold before. She seems to know exactly what he is referring to and she explains that they have it all the time. When he asks her to show him, she brings him to a corn field near her village and pulls an ear of corn off a stalk. As she peels back to reveal the “gold” John Smith looks confused and disappointed. It shows that the British and Indians had very different priorities.
As their friendship blossoms, relations between the British and the Indians continues to deteriorate with fear and hatred mounting daily. When Smith is capture by Chief Powhatan and set to be executed, Pocahontas bravely places her own life on the line to save him. She explains to her father that in order to kill Smith, he must kill her first. As Chief Powhatan realizes how much his daughter cares for this man, he releases him, hoping that they may be able to establish a more coherent relationship amongst his kind. John Ratcliffe is appalled by such behavior and attempts to shoot Chief Powhatan with his gun, but instead it is intercepted by John Smith and he becomes wounded. In the end, he and Pocahontas must part, knowing that their spirits will be forever joined on a path that never ends.
While this movie is animated and is fictional, there are some parts that deem to be factual for this time period. Disney is known for sugar coating any situation that occurs in any of their movies. As stated earlier, this movie is set in the year 1607, which was the time period for exploration. We know that during this time, many companies were funding charters to the New World, and these ships carried wealthy men to indentured servants and families. While the movie itself glorifies the excursion from England to America, textbooks inform us that times were very difficult aboard these packed ships. Those who were aboard these ships living in harsh conditions, such has spoiled food and contaminated water. The spaces on the ships were very crowded and many were infected with diseases and unfortunately, not many survived the trip itself. In the movie, they show how some of the soldiers were treated by Governor John Ratcliffe. He lives in a spacious room aboard the