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Sociological Perspective of Titanic

Essay by   •  April 17, 2011  •  Book/Movie Report  •  1,793 Words (8 Pages)  •  8,246 Views

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Titanic begins with a salvage crew looking through the ruins of the massive ship, hoping to find the "Heart of the Ocean" diamond. They instead find a photograph of a young woman wearing the diamond around her neck. A lady named Rose Dawson Calvert sees the photograph on television and sets off to find the men who found it. She joins them on there ship and through her eyes the story begins. She is a well off socialite who is traveling to America with her mother and fiancé. The other lead character, "Jack Dawson" is a down on his luck artist who won the ticket in a poker game. Rose is unhappy with her life, and her family is in deep debt and the only way to save their name is for her to marry Cal Hockley. But she sees that he will be an overbearing husband, and with her mother being just as overbearing, she tries to kill herself. This is when Jack steps into the picture. He saves her life, and keeps up the pretense that she fell while trying to look at the ships propellers. Jack and Rose begin a close friendship thereafter. She brings him to the upper decks to have dinner with the wealthy. Jack has to borrow a tuxedo to attend. She even goes down to the lower decks with Jack and finds out that there is happiness without money. They soon begin to fall in love with each other, while Cal is seeing this. But right when all the cards fall into place, the ship hits the iceberg. There is severe panic on the ship, therefore Jack and Rose cannot find a life boat. They go down with the ship holding on to the stern. They miraculously survive the plunge and Jack helps Rose onto a wooden plank while he stays at her side holding her hand. She is eventually rescued, and then she realizes Jack has succumbed to hypothermia. She tells the officers in charge that her name is Rose Dawson and leaves her family behind. Then we see the elderly Rose again and the stern of the salvage boat. She pulls out the Heart of the Ocean and lets it fall into the ocean.

In this essay I will state and describe four examples of sociological perspectives being demonstrated in the movie Titanic. Social stratification plays a major role in the movie Titanic. Social stratification is defined in the text as "a system by which a society ranks categories of people in a hierarchy" (Macionis, pg.283). Such as the level of the decks demonstrate the social classes of that era. It is clearly shown in the movie where people stand in this cramped social situation. Jack lives in the overcrowded lower decks, while Rose lives in the upper decks where there is ample space to walk around and mingle with the other high society types. Rose's conditions are extremely elegant. Her fiancé and she have their own bedchamber with all the privacy they could ever want. Jack on the other hand lives in cramped quarters with countless other individuals. It actually resembles a World War 2 barracks, where disease can spread easily. These lines are crossed though when Rose's family invite Jack to dinner for saving her life. You can clearly see the discontent coming from the social elite while Jack is talking about is poverty filled life. They cannot comprehend that he does not want more out of his life, and that he is happy where he is at. When Jack invites Rose to come down to the lower decks, it is completely different. She is accepted because she is a good person. She drinks beer, and dances with them all night. Jack is amazed at how fun loving Rose is, and seems to have found a kindred spirit. It amazes me how the elite would look down at the middle, and lower class with such disgust. Not only that, they looked down at Rose because she seemed to enjoy their company, especially the company of young Jack.

"Social stratification is not just about class, gender, and race it is also about age" (Macionis, pg.390). Rose is young in the movie, therefore she was thought of as childish and immature by her elders. Rose is having many issues during her trip, and not just her new romance with Jack. She is constantly looked at like a child in the eyes of her mother. Although she thinks of herself as an adult, she cannot seem to speak to her mother as one. There is a very tense relationship with Rose and her mother. She is constantly trying to explain to her mother that money is not going to make her happy. Her mother on the other hand could not care less about Rose's feelings. All she cares about is her family name. Apparently her family is in great debt, and if Rose marries Cal, their debts will be gone, and her mother can live in luxury for the rest of her life. She will ruin her daughter's hopes and dreams so that she can live in



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