Pocahontas allows her own feelings to guide her, even when they go against her loved ones and her culture. At the climax of the film, as she rests her neck upon Smith’s to be crushed by her father’s weapon, if he so chooses, she tells him that this is where her path has brought her; and now he must decide what he will do. She has made her decision, is willing to die for it, and this inspires him to change his mind, release Smith, forgive the death of one of his warriors, and bring them all to peace. Pocahontas cannot go against her heart; even though she loves and wants to please her beloved father, the ‘slow and steady path’ does not interest her. It’s not for her. She listens to her heart, trusts it, and establishes a bond with Smith that soon turns into love. She is super aware of her environment and loves to immerse herself in it – raging the rapids, swimming, teaching Smith to notice and care for the animals, leaping off a cliff into the river and then throwing her friend off a boat, rescuing her hummingbird friend from drowning (she notices him underwater where no one else does), and loving the river because ‘you never step into the same one twice, it’s always moving, always flowing, always changing.’ She craves new experiences and to see new lands, saying she would like to go to London and view the houses and the court. She is forever climbing trees and following settlers around, sneaking out in the middle of the night, slipping away through the corn fields, and leaping into action. Pocahontas, however, is unable to understand her own intuitive insights; she dreams of a spinning arrow which later reveals itself to be Smith’s compass. She turns to Grandmother Willow for advice on how to interpret it, but knows that it is somehow important, she must follow it, and listen to it. She has a deep spirituality that connects her to all life, and enables her to understand that making peace with Smith and the settlers is the right thing to do. She knows her “dream means something, I just don’t know what.” Under pressure, Pocahontas becomes forceful and blunt. She angrily tells off Smith for being prejudiced against her people, calling them a savage (because it’s an insult to her, and to those she loves), and tries to attack Thomas for killing Kocoum.

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Pocahontas feels constantly torn between doing what she wants to do, independent of what others want for her, and her own need to listen to and obey her father. Even though she finds Kocoum to be too dull and ‘serious’ for her taste, she still wonders if she should take the smoothest course, ‘steady as the beating drum,’ just because her father suggests it. She is open-minded and tolerant where others are fearful, aggressive, or automatically assume the ‘white man’ is their enemy. She patiently teaches John Smith about their laws, and encourages him to embrace the native teachings that ‘every rock, and tree, and creature, has a life, has a spirit, has a name,’ rather than approach them with distrust and violence or through seeking to take from nature whatever they want. She becomes angry easily, such as when John Smith infers that their homes are not good enough, thus implying that they are only happy with them because they don’t know any better; when he accidentally uses the word ‘savages,’ she storms away from him without speaking to him further that day. She knows in her gut that what her father has decided to do is wrong, so she is willing to die to save Smith—also trusting that he will make the right decision (and she’s right).