Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Portrayal of Pocahontas Analysis

During the past few Social Studies classes we have been analysing 12 different representations of Pocahontas' appearance and what is signified to the Powhatan and English civilizations. This has helped us by teaching us how to deal with different types of sources (primary and secondary), and has also contributed to our learning of English colonization in the New World. I believe that the most accurate out of all the documents is the work of Simon van de Passe.

Van de Passe's portrait is the most accurate because it was drawn in 1616, making it a primary source because it was during the time that Pocahontas lived, leading us to believe that he was actually the only one of the artists that actually met her. We compared his work to the one of Ellen Howe, and saw corroborating evidence, adding to its reliability. Howe's work is a compilation of facts and research about Pocahontas put together into one painting, which makes it the second most reliable source. We chose van de Passe's work however, because he actually met, her while Howe was just basing her portrait on works and creations of other people. It is undeniable to say that his work is not biased nonetheless, his goal being to show how and indigenous women could convert into and english lifestyle. However, the objective of this activity was to find out what Pocahontas looked like, her facial features and everything, and that is what stand outs the most of this portrait. It shows common characteristics that the Powhatans possesed, like an overbite for example.

It was thanks to the OVPL that my partner and I were able to come to this conclusion. It's a process in which we can compare the pros and cons of all the representations of Pocahontas, allowing us to come to a more precise conclusion more efficiently.

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