What is the setting of the Disney classic, Pocahontas?

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Noelle Thompson | High School Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Hmmm, I would argue that (considering the movie was made in 1995) Pocahontas cannot be considered a Disney "classic" quite yet, but that being said, I will be happy to explore with you both elements of setting that are important: the setting of time and the setting of place.

First, the film is set in 1607.  How do I know this?  The very first song entitled "The Virginia Company" the very first line is "In 1607 we sailed the open sea, for glory, God, and gold and the Virginia Company."  To there ya' go.  It's also reveals the iconic first trip of the European settlers on task to settle in the new world and create Jamestown.

I find the setting of place to be a bit ironic.  In reality, the "current" setting of the film is Jamestown, Virginia.  The irony is that the "Jamestown, Virginia" looked absolutely nothing like the Jamestown, Virginia of today.  Why?  When John Smith arrived in a "new world" of complete wilderness with no settlements at all, ... and absolutely no settlers other than himself and the Virginia Company that traveled with him.  So perhaps the more correct term for the place that is the setting of this film is exactly what is quoted above:  the "tidewater region of Virginia (called Tenakomakah by the Powhatan)."  Part of Disney's goal in the setting is to show the profound beauty of the region before European settlers arrived.

I must end my answer with a request for you to read John Smith's account of the story in The Generall Historie of Virginia (which you will see romanticises his involvement quite as much as the movie).  It's actually fun to note the differences and similarities here and consider the difference between history and fiction and how a piece of literature can actually blend the two (to the detriment of future generations knowing the "real" truth).

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