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Love and Hate in Jamestown

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Love and Hate in Jamestown by David A. Price follows the story of the creation of the new world where the state of Virginia was formed after the settlement of the Englishmen in the tribal area of Powhatan where the Indians lived. The state was met with initial troublesome consequences on part of the Indians as well as the Englishmen, but due to the relationship of trust and faith between John Smith and Pocahontas, things took a revolutionary turn and reshaped the destiny of the state which had been doomed otherwise. John Smith was an English Explorer who joined the Virginia Company of London in 1606 and took on the challenge to explore the ‘New World.’ Pocahontas was the daughter of the chief of Pawhatan, the Indian tribe. The Indians did not welcome the Englishmen and to the Englishmen the Indians were nothing but savages occupying a valuable piece of land that they believed would be a positive addition to the British Empire and for that John Smith was the man hired. But things took a rather drastic turn when John Smith met with Pocahontas. How together they changed the fate of the state and brought the birth of the ‘New World’ under the unwelcoming and dangerous circumstances owing to the harsh relationships between the Indians and the Englishmen, is very interestingly put forward by Price in the book Love and Hate in Jamestown. The book has political as well as social aspects, whereby social aspects are the main area of discussion of this essay.

Many debates have been put forward about the princess Pocahontas and the Pocahontas –Smith relationship. Knowing the truth is important as it forms the foundation of the state of Virgina. Pocahontas, together with the support of John Smith, played a crucial role in bridging the gap between the Indians and the founding fathers. If that had not hapened, the Indians would have never welcomed any strangers to their state and the birth of the new state would not have taken place (Price, 2003).

Why were the Indians so unwelcoming? The Englishmen were literally invading their territory and claiming it as their own. To them the Indians were uncivilized savages who had not had their share of civilized societies. Although, that was not true, Indians lived in societies and villages where basic cooking and hygiene was present. In fact Indians possessed arts of magic and spiritual understanding that gave them an edge over the Englishmen, coupled with the ancient forms of weapons and spears that were quite handy with and used effectively. While on the other hand, Englishmen coming from the developed city of London were quite handy with the modern weapons such as guns and rifles and bombs, that they had brought with them on ships to conquer the land. Their weapons were the main element of surprise and threat to the Indians who knew at the mere sight of them that these new strangers were up to no good. Precisely, both were a threat to each other, but the reason for that was that their intentions and objectives were seemingly unclear to each.

This is where Pocahontas came in, who met with John Smith. They shared a bond that was stronger the threat the two world-apart groups of people obtained. Pocahontas, according to Price, was a ten year old daughter of the chief of Pawhatan (Price, 2003). In 1607, when John is captured by the Indians due to their indication regarding him as having the highest threat to their existence, he is saved by the brave Pocahontas, who convinces his father and the rest of the tribe to reconsider. In this way Pocahontas, acted as the communication bridge between the two tribes. John Smith with this surprising experience returns to his crew with a rather diifferent impression of the Indians, and understands that the way to them is not through by the mere use of force, but through bridging the communication gap and establishing clear objectives. He understands that the Indians were not complete savages and they too understood and felt things. Pocahontas, who acted as his savior, infuses this realization unto him and this changes history for the state, which otherwise had been the home of utter hatred and doom resulting from the severe conflict between the two parties and the death of the Indians forever. Pocahontas further improved the relationships between the English and the Indians, when the first English settlers arrived in the state. She was recorded to have married John Ralfe, who was among the first English settlers there. John Smith did not forget the gesture and after his realization of the Indian’s state of mind and heart, he offers his gratitude by supplying them with food in their time of need. Then John became their savior. Both, thus, fulfilled their share in establishing good relationships between the two social groups and removed the barriers of conflict forever.

What starts off as the most brutal incident in the history of the state of Virginia takes on a rather pleasant and revolutionary notion when John Smith and Pocahontas combine and together embark on a journey to improve the relationships between the Indians and the Englishmen. Had Pocahontas, not saved the life of John Smith and had John Smith not understood what Pocahontas tried to convey to him, the history of Virginia may have been entirely different and the victim of hatred and cruelty like many of the historic events of the colonial past have been. The love and understanding depicted by John Smith and Pocahontas in Jamestown, thus eventually overcomes the hatred among the Indians and the English Settlers.

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