You Know Nothing, John Smith

When John Smith first arrives on the shores of Powhatan’s land, he’s really good at being a captain and a little clueless about most other things.

He’s come to Virginia with a villainous governor, he’s there to tame the wilderness, build forts, and shoot things. At this point, he’s either unwilling or unable to open his eyes, see what’s around him, and appreciate it. To which, we have to say: you know nothing, John Smith.

Pocahontas sings how can there be so much that you dont know


Our first introductions to John mostly involve him leaping around the wilds, expressing vehemently how psyched he is to be there. He makes grandiose gestures like this one …

John Smith jumping across waterfall in Pocahontas

…and it’s clear that the only one who needs to be tamed is, in fact, John himself. Pocahontas agrees:

Pocahontas peeking around a tree as John Smith walks away

When they finally meet, John has nothing but the best intentions, but he is a tiny bit lacking in self-awareness, hence this early exchange with Pocahontas:

John Smith tries to help Pocahontas out of her canoe

John can be forgiven for not realizing this, but Pocahontas just spent the first half hour of the movie parkouring through the woods and scaling trees in the blink of an eye. She is an athlete. She can get out of her canoe just fine.

But we’ve got bigger issues, here. While Governor Ratcliffe and his merry band of sailors are off digging for gold, John begins digging himself a hole of his own.

John Smith tells Pocahontas his plans

Oh no, he did not.

John Smith tells Pocahontas she doesn't know any better

Oh, dear. Pocahontas, understandably, is so done with this conversation by this point that she climbs the nearest tree to get away from his nonsense.

Pocahontas climbs a tree to get away from John Smith

Fortunately, he’s willing to learn.

John Smith in the Wind in Pocahontas

Pocahontas teaches him to look at things from a different point of view.

John Smith and a Bear Cub in Pocahontas

And that nature isn’t something that has to be claimed, it’s there for everyone to enjoy.

John Smith and Pocahontas in Nature

And, that maybe people aren’t as different as they might seem.

Pocahontas and John Smith


He’s even willing to believe in things beyond his control, and reason, like talking trees.

John Smith and Grandmother Willow in Pocahontas

And his priorities have changed.

John Smith and Pocahontas in Tent


John Smith now knows enough to try and affect the way things work within the Virginia Company. He’s gone form knowing nothing to knowing a lot of things, and trying to inspire positive change. He might only be one drop in the river, but that’s how rivers begin. Great job, Pocahontas. Great job, John Smith. Great job, one and all.


Posted 3 years Ago
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