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Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma Review Essay

This book was the bases and the most informative piece I have seen on a review of Pocahontas life in my perspective. Pocahontas life is a difficult piece of history to analysis for the fact that her life is only denoted by other persons of history writings. She has no known piece of writing of her own so all knowledge is personal based of outside parties. This makes it for sometimes difficult to truly believe everything for many of the views were from white men during a time period where they had not seen many females weren’t around. I believe the author thesis of the book for the Pocahontas part was her involvement with the English and her growth throughout her life. The other thesis of the book from the Powhatan side was there involvement with the English as well and there plan to use the culture but at the same time push them away.

Within the first five chapter of Pocahontas and the Powhatan Dilemma it gives you a base review of history. This first part of the book it explains the culture of the Powhatan and how they are laid out. At this point in the book within the first chapter we find out that Pocahontas is only 9 years of age and her mother is nowhere to be found, but her father is Powhatan the chief of many native people and villages. It talks about the arrival of English in 1603 and we learn that many ships have come before us truly being to talk about John Smith and Jamestown. It also mention the arrival of Don Luis and the Spanish, but doesn’t get into much detail he just seems to pop up with the first few chapters her and there. We learn that Pocahontas name means “mischief” or the “little playful one.”

The author tells us that the native were not completely different from the Europeans just simply behind the times. We also learn that within the native culture of the Powhatan that there chiefs do not come from the next up son, but from marriage of the daughters. We also learn that the Europeans felt that the women of the tribes need to be saved due to their work in the fields and other jobs around the village. It speaks of the native’s religion of their belief in spirits within everything. John Smith comes into play in 1606 when the English begin to prepare for the Virginia campaign. What I learn from John Smith was that he was a captain that has been captured a lot and has numerous stories of being saved by women that fall lustful in love with.

As kids watching films and stories we are told of Pocahontas is her and John Smith fall in love, but at the time of them meeting Pocahontas would’ve been ten years of age. The plans of the English and John Smith was to: improve native culture, use the land properly, get there before the Spanish, and bring English enlighten, and a place to send the unemployed English. One of the main fears that I read about in the reading was the fear of the English to become like the Indians. The term we learned in class for this is recolonization.

After the landing John Smith gets taken by the Powhatan and convince them not to kill him by way of trade. He promises them weapons which out of smarts gives them a cannon which cannot be moved. Both the native and the English realize the need of each. Without one another the English could not survive without food and the natives want weapons or easier put there technology. Over time many English were sent to live with natives to learn their culture and a native would be sent with the English. The most notable was Pocahontas herself was sent with the English to learn their language and lifestyle. The book talks of Pocahontas marriage first to a native warrior, but it fails to mention what happens to him.

She later marries John Rolfe an English man who experience much of the reverse colonization. Before her marriage though Pocahontas was kidnapped one of the main characters they looked over her kidnapping was Sir Thomas Dale who was the first Marshall of Virginia. Pocahontas would declare herself a Christian in 1616 and then start her life with John. They would build a log on the land John was granted from the Virginia Company. They would have two children together in their lifetime. Shortly after being settled in there Pocahontas would go to London and experience true English culture. Pocahontas would become very ill around the time the Rolfe family was ready to head back to Virginia. Pocahontas died on March 21, 1617 in the Rolfe inn.

What I learned from this book that for someone of her time period and of native culture Pocahontas got to see much more than any Native American of her time period for sure. I learned that much of what we were taught or told of her in are childhood was wrong. I learned that john smith stories could not be trusted. The feeling I receive as well is Pocahontas rejected her culture and tribe, but in return was probably rejected in a way due to her mother situation. Though she might have be royal in a way just from some of the information I read. The book was good though and I enjoyed the insist of Pocahontas life.


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