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Titanic, The Unsinkable Ship Sank: A Marxist Criticism Approach
The film began with the search for the valuable and precious Heart of the Ocean necklace. It was believed by Brock Lovett and his team that the necklace was submerged in the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean together with the Titanic. They failed numerous times until they found a vault which they believe, holds the necklace. As it was lively broadcasted in the television, they opened the vault only to be greatly dismayed for there was no diamond necklace inside. Only a sketch of a naked woman wearing the treasure they were looking for. Lovett was hopeless until he received a phone call from an old woman claiming that she knows who that naked woman was.
Rose together with her granddaughter landed on Lovett’s ship. He did not want to believe Rose. Not until she said that she is the woman in the drawing. She began to narrate her story as a first-class passenger in the “unsinkable” vessel.
The flashback started with the arrival of a carriage with Rose DeWitt Bukater, her mother Ruth and her rich, ignorant fiance Caledon Hockley in it. The first class passengers boarded Titanic. At the same time, a young man Jack Dawson won third class tickets for the Titanic in a poker game with his friend Fabrizio.
Rose was forced by her mother to marry Cal to save their downgrading wealth status. Unhappy about marrying a man she doesn’t love, she ran to the edge of the Titanic near the propellers, and planned to commit suicide by throwing herself to the ice cold ocean. Luckily, Jack saw Rose trying to jump off from the railing. He successfully convinced her not to jump. “You jump, I jump.” he said. As a thank you to Jack, Rose urged Cal to invite him for dinner. After the said dinner, Jack secretly invited Rose to “the real fun”. That is in the third class party. They had so much fun and Rose was free to do the things she never got to do with the first class people. They started falling in love with each other.
On the other hand, Bruce Ismay the ship owner proposed to Captain Thomas Andrews to fasten the course of Titanic to gain publicity. And yes indeed. They gained publicity in a different way.
Jack and Rose kept seeing each other on the boat even though Rose’s mother disapproved. Rose asked Jack who was an amazing artist, to draw her nude wearing only the Heart of the Ocean. They were enjoying the night until Titanic hit the iceberg. The first to be affected were the lowest part of the ship where the workers were located.
As the Titanic was sinking, all women and children were ask to climb aboard small boats and some less fortunate poor people were left locked downstairs. On the other hand, Jack was framed by Cal for stealing the Heart of the Ocean and was locked down in a room as a prisoner. Rose refused to board the lifeboat with her mother and some first class passengers. Instead, she went back to find Jack. The two fought against odds. They came across with Cal who forced Rose to board the lifeboat and told her a lie that he and Jack have their own lifeboat to catch. While lowering down the lifeboat, Rose just could not bear the thought of being without him so she jumped back to the sinking Titanic.
Cal was so infuriated that he tried to kill them by shooting at them but was unsuccessful. After the ship sank, Rose and Jack were holding each other’s cold hands while Rose was lying on a floating door and Jack was freezing by the icy waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Jack was already dead frozen before help arrived. When Rose got to safety she saw Caledon looking for her and she hid from him. In the pocket of the coat Cal lent her, was the Heart of the Ocean. When she was asked what her name was, instead of saying her true name, she said Rose Dawson.
The film ended with old Rose tossing the Heart of the Ocean overboard. That night she dreamed of being met by Jack on the grand staircase of the Titanic, they kiss and are applauded by those who were lost in the disaster.
The film presented a lot of events but this review will focus mostly on its Marxism approach. In the foremost part of Rose’s flashback, the different social classes were already presented. The ship was divided into three classes; the first-class, middle-class, and the third-class. The film however focused mainly on the first-class and third-class. Before entering Titanic, everyone except the first class passengers would undergo a certain lice and baggage inspection. The first class passengers have a different entrance where they don’t even have to join with the rest of the passengers and can freely enter without any inconvenience. It was also shown in the story how wrong it was for first-class passengers to mingle with third-class passengers and vice versa.
Next, when Jack saw the stunning beauty of Rose, his friend Fabrizio, instantly told him that she is a very rich woman and it would be almost impossible to be with her. Another, when Jack was invited for a first-class dinner, it was evident from Rose’s mother and Cal, the unlikeness they felt with Jack because he was not like them. But of course not every first class people are like that because there were Rose and Molly Brown who did not care at all about the social class of Jack.
It was also shown in the film the difference of the social gatherings of the first class passengers and the third class passengers. In a first class social gathering, men and women have mellow classical music, tobacco, and expensive wine as their drinks. They were expected to act sophisticatedly. Whereas below, in the third class party, loud upbeat classical music were being played, everyone can freely dance, laugh and enjoy. They have large mugs of beer as they jump up and down to the beat of the music. Rose had fun with this experience but in the society they were living in that time, it was very wrong. Being with Jack was forbidden by her mother because she was supposed to marry Cal, a rich man who can save them from their big loss of wealth.
Finally, that devastating moment came when Titanic hit an iceberg. A greatly disappointing and upsetting thing was presented as the passengers were boarding lifeboats. The women and children of the first-class passengers were the first one to board but not only that was upsetting. A boat that was designed and tested to withstand 64 men was not filled with its capacity because first-class passengers were afraid and bothered that they would be too crowded in the lifeboat. 3,327 souls were onboard yet such people still thought of their selfish convenience. Another injustice was presented when third-class passengers were locked down in their ship level while the Titanic was sinking. Despite the depressing situation, people still thought of nothing but themselves and did not even held conscience in their hearts. Last depiction of unfair system was when the whole Titanic sank. A lot of people managed to float in the middle of the ocean wearing life jackets, crying and shouting for help. The boat which held the first-class passengers, despite having a lot of space left, did not even extend help to the dying passengers. Yet, the boat which was filled and crowded with third-class passengers went back to save any survivors. The capacity of 20 lifeboats which Titanic held was questionable enough for it can only accommodate 1,178 people. Yet, not even 1, 178 people survived. Only 706 lived to tell the tale.
The film won a lot of awards for a lot of reasons as well. It gave justice to the sinking of Titanic. It did not sugarcoat the things that happened. Starting from the social classes down to the actual sinking of titanic; all of it was commendable and outstanding. The story of Jack and Rose, although fictional, was presented realistically except for the part that they madly fell in love with each other for a very short period of time. But for me, it was pretty acceptable even though it lacked a little realistic plot because Rose found genuine happiness with Jack and he found it too with her. Love can’t be measured with the time they had with each other anyway. The cinematography was praiseworthy as well. The sinking of the Titanic ship was factually presented. It was really based from the true event. The soundtracks chosen were accurately made for the movie. According to Janet Maslin of The New York Times, Titanic is a huge, thrilling three-and-a-quarter-hour experience that unerringly lures viewers into the beauty and heartbreak of its lost world. And it really did. The film holds farm more important lessons and insights in life. First, up until this generation, social discrimination is still happening. It is everywhere no matter where you are. I can’t give any direct solution to it but the only thing I can do is to tell you to look around and see if we will live a better life if we continue judging people based from their social class. It is true indeed. There are wealthy, middle and poor people. But that doesn’t mean we make the poor poorer, and the wealthy wealthier. Second, fight for what is right. We are living in a world where evilness exists and yes, we can’t completely eradicate it. But we can lessen it and prevent it to dominate. Start with yourself. Be an ambassador of righteousness and hopefully, everyone would follow. In times of despair and hopelessness, how far will you go to save your life and the lives of your loved ones? Everything, something, and nothing. You can do everything, to the point of being selfish just like Cal and some first-class passengers or selfless just like Jack. You can do something, and this is rarely found in people for this something doesn’t step a foot to anyone but instead, give out a helping hand just like Rose. And lastly, you can do nothing at all, as the hopelessness deeply swallows you and darkness creeps into your heart, just like the rest of the victims of the Titanic, the unsinkable ship that sank.
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