Sunday, November 17, 2019

The Environmental Aspect of Pocahontas Essay Example for Free

The Environmental Aspect of Pocahontas Essay â€Å" Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect. † This is a quote said by a Native American chief, shows the attitudes of the Native American people as a whole and Pocahontas’ Mattaponi tribe. Disney’s highly acclaimed movie, Pocahontas, is about a female Indians battle to be with an Englishman named John Smith; even against her tribes culture and traditions. Throughout this story, we find that there are huge gaps in the way that the Englishmen and the Native Americans treat and view nature; through their culture and religion, the ways they acted towards earth, and the songs that they sang in the movie. One can tell a lot about a person or people by the culture they come from, ranging from: the way they dress, the way they talk etc. In Pocahontas, that could not be truer; we first have the Native Americans. Their culture was solely based on nature and nature alone. They believe they are one with the earth, that earth is their mother; everyone should respect it because we do not own it, but rather that we are borrowing it. Native Americans look to the spirits and the forces of Nature to guide them through life and help make important decisions and sort out dilemmas they will encounter in life. For example, Grandmother Willow, who in fact is not really a human but an actual willow tree who has the face and wisdom that one would find in their grandmother; as she also is Pocahontas’ guiding force and wisdom provider. Now on the other hand we have the Englishmen’s culture: their culture was very self-centered based due to their religion of Catholicism/Christianity; which to them are human-centered religions. Basically saying that their world view of their religion makes them think that everything in this world was created for them and that they can do what ever they choose to do with it, regardless of how it is come about acquiring what they want. Another difference between the two groups is their distinguished appearance. The Englishmen for example are pompous and actually very fat, showing how they gorge themselves into the luxuries of food and self-centered living. As for the Native Americans, only take what they need and no more, as they look healthy and strong. These examples give a glimpse of their true attitudes towards the earth, and Mother Nature. The attitudes of both the Englishman and the Native Americans towards Mother Earth are very obvious and different in this film as from their culture. â€Å"The gold of Cortez, the jewels of Pizarro / Will seem like mere trinkets by this time tomorrow. The gold we find here will dwarf them by far. / Oh, with all you got in ya, boys / Dig up Virginia, boys. † This quote was said by Governor Ratcliffe, the leader of the Englishmen, showing the English’s self-centered, egotistical way of thinking when it comes to the earth. They do not care for nature or the creatures, even the other people of the world; the world and everything in it, is solely theirs for the taking and no one person, people or thing can stop them. However, the Native Americans attitude towards the earth and in general is more humble and nurturing. Since their belief system is that they are one with the earth; in order to take care of ones self they must take of the earth. So this caring way of living in turn makes them a humble people. One can also tell how the attitudes of the two groups through the songs that they sing throughout the movie. â€Å"And dig, boys, dig ‘til ya drop. Grab a pick, boys. Quick, boys, shove in a shovel†¦It’s gold and it’s mine, mine, mine†¦Make this land, My Land,† this is one of the lyrics sang by Governor Ratcliffe in the song called, â€Å"Mine, Mine, Mine. The name of the song in itself shows the Englishmen’s view of earth, which is very greedy and narcissistic of him and his men. Another quote from the song showing this selfish way of thinking was at the end of the song where all the Englishmen sing in unison, â€Å"This land and what’s in it is Mine! † They only view the land as theirs and not the Native Americans even though the Native Americans were the native people! On top of that they refer to the Native Americans as savages, â€Å"What can you expect, from filthy little heathens? Their whole disgusting race is like a curse. Their skin’s a hellish red. They’re only good when dead. They’re vermin, as I said. And worse, they’re Savages! Savages! † Even though this one lyric does not have to do with nature directly they are disrespecting the people of mother nature completely, degrading not only their land with their actions, but the people of the land with their words and hatred. â€Å"Drive them from our shore. They’re not like you and me. Which means they must be evil. † The Englishmen in this song show the lust of power to kill anyone and anything who isn’t ike them only to get gold and riches. Now on the other hand, the songs that Pocahontas sings are not so harsh and self indulged. â€Å"You think you own whatever land you land on. The Earth is just a dead thing you can claim. But I know every rock and tree and creature; has a life, has a spirit, has a name,† she sings to John Smith explaining, that the earth is more than just something to dig up and take from. The Earth and everything in it, like her and Smith, have the same qualities that the humans do. She also sings in that song , â€Å"Come run the hidden pine trails of the forest. Come taste the sun sweet berries of the earth. Come roll in all the riches all around you. And for once, never wonder what they’re worth,† she tells Smith to bask in the earth and all its resources without thinking about how much money or the worth it could be sold at. Also another aspect of that lyric is when she says riches, she is not referring to money but rather the richness of beauty and quality the Earth gives us. Another song that reflects the Native American culture to nature is, Just Around the River Bend. † This is a song where Pocahontas compares life to the river and asks the Spirits a question regarding whether she should marry Kocoum or not. â€Å"Should I choose the smoothest course, steady as the beating drum? Should I marry Kocoum? Is all my dreaming at an end? Or do you still wait for me, Dream Giver; Just around the River Bend? † Pocahontas does not know whether she should take the path chosen for her or to continue on the path of her free spirit. She asks the Dream Giver is she should the safe path and do as her customs say or is the Spirit waiting for her just around the river bend. These are just a few examples of the many through the music in this movie. One can now see how both the Englishmen and Native Americans way of thinking environmentally are polar opposites. Through their culture, attitudes, actions and musical numbers, we view the sanctity of Mother Earth to both the groups. But this movie did show that the humbler the attitude towards the earth did in fact become the victors in the situation.

No comments:

Post a Comment