The Unsinkable Ship

         In 1997 the hit movie Titanic came out to theaters. The movie is directed by James Cameron and stars Kate Winslet as Rose Calvert and Leonardo Dicaprio as Jack Dawson. Titanic is a buried tale of love, bravery, treasure and treachery, hidden by time and tragedy.

         Titanic, the ship of dreams, is also known as the Unsinkable. It was believed to be one of the most spectacular ships of its time. The Titanic was an Olympic passenger liner. According to Wikipedia, Titanic was 882 feet 9 inches (269 m) long and 92 feet 6 inches (28 m) at the beam. The ship departed on April 10th, 1912, from England. Titanic was the most luxurious liner of its era and was built at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast, Ireland. Titanic exceeded the lifeboat standard, with 20 lifeboats, but obviously not enough to save all 3,547 passengers and crew. Titanic was the largest passenger in the world. The "ship of dreams," ultimately carried over 1,500 people to their death in the ice cold waters of the North Atlantic. On April 15, 1912, the ship sank at 2:20 a.m. It took two hours and forty minutes later for the ship to sink and broke into two pieces at the aft expansion joint.

         According to Wikipeda, the Titanic was more advanced and luxurious for its own time. It offered an onboard swimming pool, a gymnasium, a Turkish bath, libraries for each passenger class, and a squash court. First-class common rooms were adorned with elaborate wood paneling, expensive furniture and other elegant decorations. The accommodations for first class was arranged to provide 39 private suites, 30 on the bridge deck, with the remaining nine on the shelter deck. Titanic's first class was completed with a balance of 350 first class standard cabins, all of which were all fitted with single beds producing a total accommodation of over 750. Second class passengers had their accommodations arranged as two or four-berth rooms to a maximum complement of 668 passengers. The rooms were finished in enamel white with mahogany furniture covered in moquet material and linoleum tiles to the floor.

        For the 1026 third class passengers, however, it was an enormously different story, as Wikipedia has noted. In their areas the passenger accommodation consisted of four or six-berth cabins with only 66 two-berth rooms being provided. White Star ensured that Titanic provided what were probably the best conditions possible for this class of passenger and was probably equivalent to second class in other comparable vessels.

        Titanic had three elevators for first-class passengers to use and offered on elevator for second-class passengers, as stated in Wikipedia. The Titanic was known for its first class grand staircase located in the center of the ship. The staircase was decorated with oak paneling and gilded balustrades; it was topped by an elaborate wrought-iron and glass dome which some would say brought in natural light A lot of scenes in the movie are focused on this magnificent piece.

         According to Wikipedia, the ship was extremely technological. It had an extensive electrical subsystem with steam-powered generators and ship-wide electrical wiring feeding electric lights. It also included two wireless Marconi radio sets manned by operators who worked in shifts, allowing constant radio contact and the transmission of many passenger messages.

         The story begins with a poor artist named Jack Dawson and a rich girl named Rose DeWitt Bukator. Rose is an actress in her twenties and comes from a wealthy family. They end up falling in love and into a forbidden love triangle with Rose’s fiancé, Caledon Hockley (Billy Zane). Once Rose’s fiancé finds out her love affair and betrayal, he is determined to destroy Jack Dawson. Rose’s fiancé. Hockley cannot believe and will not accept that Rose is leaving him for a poor artist. During their fairytale love affair they turn to one another during the struggle for survival on a ship about to sink to the bottom of the North Atlantic. The Titanic regrettably collides with the Iceberg; and, then when the ship sinks, Jack dies and Rose survives. In the movie, eighty-four years later and Rose (now played by Gloria Stuart), being 100 years old, tells the story about her life on the Titanic to her granddaughter and friends. This group includes her daughter, Lizzy Calvert, Brock Lovett, Lewis Bodine, Bobby Buell, and Anatoly Mikailavich. She explains the first sight of Jack that made her fall into love and her fight for survival.

         When Rose gets saved by one lifeboat that comes back, they take her to the Carpathia, along with the other 700 people saved in the lifeboats. The Carpathia Immigration Officer asks for Rose’s name; and, since she loved Jack so much, she told him her name is Rose Dawson instead of Rose DeWitt Bukator. At the end of the movie she sees Cal looking for her, but he does not see her. They never ended up together; and her mom, Cal, and friends of the family have no choice but to think that she died on the Titanic. But after the crash, in 1929 Cal is married but ends up committing suicide.

         After gathering all the survivors a ship was sent to gather the deceased. The Mackay-Bennett ship recovered 306 bodies, 116 were buried at sea and 190 taken to Halifax, Nova Scotia. The grueling details of the way the bodies were maintained goes as follows: Crew members--put in the ice-filled hold steerage, third class passengers--sewn in canvas bags, second class passengers--sewn in canvas bags, first class passengers--placed in coffins. I think that segregating the way one is buried based on class is incredibly inhumane. Each person died in the same disaster and should not have different treatment from one another.

         The United States Senate investigation reported that 1,517 people died in the catastrophe, according to Wikipedia, while the British investigation has the number at 1,490. No matter what is the exact death toll we all know how horrible the sinking of the Titanic was. The disaster ranks as one of the worst peacetime maritime disasters in history and by far the most famous.

Jaclyn Ramage

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