Titanic (1997), Looking Back At The Past: Marxist Criticism Approach

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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 fiancĂ© 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 asked 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.

From the beginning of the film up to the end, the difference between rich and poor was evidently shown in the film. From the part before they got on the ship, until they got off in the water. The iconic couple Jack Dawson, acted by Leonardo DiCaprio, and Rose DeWitt Bukater, acted by Kate Winslet, shows this division between the rich and the poor. Jack was the poor, nomadic type. He didn’t even buy his ticket, but got it by winning the third-class tickets in a poker game that happened minutes before the ship left. Rose Bukater however, was not just rich, but they were the wealthiest people in the entire world during that time period. They were in the elite first class where they get to enjoy the complete luxury of the RMS Titanic, and all of the pleasures it offers. Not only they get to board the ship and sleep and eat at the best part of the ship, but even their cars, which are no doubt also the best of the best at the time, also get to ride along with them at the bottom of the ship. But that’s just the beginning of the film.

After some time aboard the ship, Jack saw Rose planning on jumping off the stern of the ship, which was where they first met. This part shows that even if you have a lot of money, it really can’t buy genuine happiness. Jack saw him and convinced her not to jump, and was later invited to dinner. After dinner, Jack then secretly invited Rose at where the 3rd-class passengers party, where Rose had so much fun that she didn’t get in the 1st class. Another part where the film shows the difference between the “rich” and the “poor”. The clips were flashing back-and-forth from the quiet atmosphere of the 1st class, drinking and smoking expensive alcohols and cigarettes, to the noisy, chaotic, and fun bottom deck of the 3rd class, comparing the two, where Rose and Jack enjoyed the rest of the night, until the iceberg finally hits the ship. At this point, the strategic placements of the 1st class and the 3rd class makes sense. If a ship was damaged, hit by an iceberg and was to sink, people that are below, which is the 3rd class, are the first to experience the waters slowly swallowing the ship. While the people in the 1st class can calmly board the emergency boats without even getting a single drop of water on them, because they are placed on the high decks of the ship, where they could receive the news from below and decide what they have to do while the passengers on the lower decks panic. But this is where things start to change.

After the Titanic got hit by the iceberg, it began sinking, slowly moving downwards and being swallowed by the cold water of the North Atlantic Ocean. The damaged hull of the ship caused the waters to come rushing in starting from the bottom most part of the ship up to the top. People from the lower decks start to wonder why water was getting in to the ship. While the 1st class have no idea, what’s happening below. But when the latter receives the news, they were given life vests while the 3rd class passengers worry of drowning. The ship continues to sink, the 1st class passengers are already outside the cabins of the ship and on the deck, waiting to board the emergency small boats, while the 3rd class passengers are locked down below deck so that they won’t interfere with the 1st class trying to get to safety. The small boats were also not enough to keep everyone on board safe, not even half. That’s why they decided who gets to live and who gets to die by their class, if you’re rich, you live, if you’re poor, well, sorry. That’s why they we’re locked below, while the 1st class passengers calmly get on the boats. But even so, not all the 1st class passengers get to go on board first, they let the women and children board the small boats first before the men. But before they get everyone to safety, people from the 3rd class passengers like Jack, who was with Rose, broke the barrier between the 1st up to the 3rd class and everyone made their way to the top deck of the ship, which caused a riot. The ship then sank, some of the people, mostly 1st class passengers, women and children, are on the emergency boats, and the rest either went down with the ship, or in the freezing cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean.

Overall the movie is no doubt one of the greatest movie of all time. It has many interesting themes to ponder on and the iconic love story of Jack and Rose which proves that love will find a way to bring people together, even if one is a 1st class passenger, and the other is a low class. How ’bout you? Are you going to let socioeconomic statuses and labels hinder your connection and interaction with others?

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