Titanic, Social Injustices Go On and On: A Marxist Criticism Approach

It was said to be the ship of dreams. Would you gamble and leave everything behind just to set foot on the ship but asked only to stay on the lower decks and be humiliated by the upper classes? Or, would you go aboard with a heavy heart knowing that this ship ensembles a slave ship taking you back to America in chains while being engaged into someone you barely want just to keep your family’s legacy? Titanic was directed and written by James Cameron which is a fictionalized ill-fated romance account of the sinking of RMS Titanic. Cameron felt the Titanic sinking was “like a great novel that really happened”, but that the event had become a mere morality tale; the film would give audiences the experience of living the history. Since the film has two timelines, one in which Brock Lovett, the treasure hunter, dived to the ruins of the actual Titanic in the modern era while the other one set foot in 1912 where in the maiden voyage of the said ship started. It was the Edwardian era where it is portrayed as a romantic golden age of long summer afternoons and garden parties, basking in a sun that never sets on the British Empire. However, the division between classes were still so evident from this. Given that the boarding of Titanic has three classes namely, first class or the bourgeoisie, middle class which is the working class, and the lower class known as the proletariat. Generally, this review approaches the texture of each classes and their capacity in living, literally and symbolically. However, the classes aren’t bound to restrain an individual in who to see, socialize, and love. As shown by Rose DeWitt Bukater and Jack Dawson’s star-crossed relationship.

“It’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the ship of dreams, and it was. It really was.” said Rose DeWitt Bukater while reminiscing her young self who sailed on the Titanic and its iconic tragedy. While sailing aboard the Titanic on the upper class level, she met a man named Jack Dawson who was a proletariat and just won his ticket to sail the Titanic by gambling. Even though they’re heaven and earth apart by their social classes, they chose to see each other frequently even if it means betraying Rose’s mother and her fiance, Caledon Hockley. One night, the Titanic hit an unseen enormous iceberg they couldn’t avoid. That is when the Titanic began to sink fairly quickly. All women and children were ask to climb aboard small boats and some less fortunate poor people were left locked downstairs. Rose did survived but her true love, Jack Dawson did not. Rose went on to live a full life, but no doubt she was waiting to rejoin her beloved Jack in the afterlife. She remembered everything like it was yesterday.

Focusing on the Marxism’s approach, there were undeniable social conflicts in this story. James Cameron gave justice into every aspect of the film without overlooking another, especially the social injustices. First reflected in the film was when lower class passengers had to go through a long inspection queue just to look for lice in their body while the working class and the bourgeoisie went aboard smoothly and conveniently. It was also depicted in Molly Brown’s situation wherein they call her by the rich snobs “new money” which means one who doesn’t know how to act and live aristocratically, it was so easy to judge a person for rich people just because they are capable of it, like how Caledon Hockley, Ruth DeWitt Bukater and others eyed Jack Dawson tactlessly. Another was when dogs were taken to lower decks just to take their potty, reminding passengers of what scheme their society have. But the epitome of injustice was portrayed when the Titanic ship was already sinking. Given that there are only numerous lifeboats available, women and children were prioritized from the upper class and those who stand below that were kept locked below decks which led them to a frantic rally and fought the crews and officers of the ship. This situation briefly depicted that social classes is the key determinant of who will survived and who will be perished. As a matter of fact, only 3% of the first class passengers drowned compared to the 16% in second class and the 45% in the third class.

Titanic was an iconic film that will surely mark a place in your heart as it was filled with overwhelming scenarios that could relate you in what’s really happening in this world. It’s effective expression of the natures of man deserved all of its awards. Especially as it seemed to be the trailblazer for high standards in cinematography, script, production, actors and almost all aspects of the film. With the switching of timelines and the transitions of each scene were remarkable for it to be a classic film. The actors were commendably professional and very talented for giving life to each characters be it a main or an extra. The ending wherein Old Rose DeWitt Bukater throws the “Heart of the Ocean” to the vastness of the water symbolized the tranquil acceptance of the memories of Jack Dawson and the ship of dreams, Titanic.

Source by Tisha Dela Rosa

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