Demonstrations of Class Distinctions in the Movie Titanic

On April 15, 1912, the British ocean liner RMS Titanic sunk in the North Atlantic Ocean losing nearly 1500 lives. (Hall, 1986) After 85 years, it was fictionalized in the film, Titanic, and earned multiple awards, praises, and sympathy from its viewers. Up until now, no movie can beat the impact of Titanic to the masses.

The film might have focused on the romantic sequel between Rose DeWitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) and Jack Dawson, but it also discussed some sociological implications within class divisions among the passengers of the liner. It was recorded that almost two-thirds of the victims died (Hall, 1986) because of their social status and gender, excluding the mass hysteria theory and hopelessness among the victims.

Social classes among the passengers were based on the type of tickets they acquired. There were three types of tickets: First, Second, and Third class tickets. The accessibility of the facilities was also determined by the difference of each ticket. First and second class passengers were free to move around and use the finest facilities of the ship, while those with third class was confined at the lower section of the liner and was not allowed to interact with those staying above. For instance, Jack Dawson was only able to eat and join the first class group through Carl’s (Rose fiancé) invitation.

Social distinctions are also pronounced in the clothing style between the rich and middle – low class passengers. As portrayed in the film, rich passengers wore expensive and branded clothing with jewelries and gold chained pocket watches. This is contrast to the third class boring and simple style. The food served to the people were also classified and distinguished according to their class distinctions.

The movie showed a great portrayal in the  inequality of treatment to people belonging to different social strata in the 20th century. Unfortunately, this social distinction did not end on 20th century. Due to capitalism, the gap between the rich and the poor still grows up to now.

Dave Fowler. (n.d.). The life and loss of the RMS Titanic in numbers.Titanic facts. Retrived on  May 1, 2014. http://www.titanicfacts.net/

Hall, W. (1986). Social class and survival on the S.S. TITANIC. Social Science and Medicine, 22, 687 – 690. http://rue89.nouvelobs.com/sites/news/files/assets/document/2012/04/hall ssm2261986.pdf

RMS Titanica. (n.d.). In Encyclopedia Titanica online. Retrieved from http://www. encyclopediatitanica.org/.

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