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The Titanic, Or “Why I Would Have Stayed With Cal Hockley”

Have you seen the movie Titanic? If not, how have you gotten away with such a thing?

I was 9 years old when the movie came out, and I still remember it vividly. Stupid brain won’t let me forget anything – I still remember most, if not all of the lines to the movie Coneheads.

Regardless, I watched the movie again recently. I don’t watch it for the story between two lovers born to two different social classes – I watch it for the story of the Titanic. Like a lot of other people out there, I am completely overwhelmed by the tragedy and wonder all the usual questions; ‘If the Captain hadn’t done this, if he had done that…’ IF ONLY THERE WASN’T AN ICEBERG!!!

I decided to try and understand the love story but became a little perplexed with the character of Rose. Why is she choosing this Jack Dawson fellow over Cal Hockley? The more I watch the movie, the more it doesn’t really make sense to me.

So, I thought I would give my two cents on why, if I were Rose, I would stay with Cal instead of run off with Jack.

ROSE IS A 17 YEAR OLD (TEENAGE) GIRL

Need I say more?

Sorry to say, Rose, but EVERY 17 year old feels like the world is not listening to her. Every 17 year old girl feels like (and often is) screaming at the top of her lungs. Hormones are racing, teenage angst is on high, of course you’re going to want to disobey authority.

You’re being pushed into a marriage you don’t want? It doesn’t even seem like you and Cal have been together all that long; perhaps he might grow on you? I was pushed by my mother into a lot of things that turned out to better my life. Sure, she is only doing it with the object of money in mind, but it’s not like she has picked a dude 35 years your senior, or a gentleman that is, in fact, a complete jerk.

CAL CLEARLY LOVES ROSE

Let’s just forget that he has given you the most expensive and rare diamond in the world for one second – I’m not impressed by jewellery either. Let’s focus more on the fact that Cal Hockley is IN LOVE WITH YOU.

The man passed up the opportunity to get off the Titanic in relatively calm safety to go looking for you; even when you spit in his face and ran off to find Jack. When you stood in that blanket at the end of the movie in steerage, he walked around the deck searching for you. From someone looking at this objectively, I’ve had boyfriends that have done far less.

Sure, he might have been a little possessive and jealous, but if Jack started running off with another woman, how would you feel?

Even though he thought the paintings you wanted were “silly” and a “waste of money” he still brought them.

Have you seen the way he looks at you? Us skeptic types may think it’s because you’re not yet married, but it’s not as if he is marrying you for further social ranking or money – seriously, what is there in it for him other than you? It’s not like he has to “pretend” to love you, or even like you, who’s going to call him up if he treats you badly?

WHAT’S TO SAY YOU WON’T HAVE ADVENTURES WITH CAL?

Rose is pretty caught up in this idea that a marriage to Cal means the death of any type of adventure in life.

Let’s just think about those paintings again. Cal seems like a bit of a push over when it comes to what Rose asks for. To quote him, “there’s nothing I would deny you, Rose, if you would not deny me.”

Sure, Rose has been groomed for a life in high society with dinners and brandy nights, but with that fire in her, that Jack ends up falling in love with, I’m sure she could convince Cal to give up a little of his “business man” time to travel to exotic places. If he didn’t want to, she could go alone. There are plenty of examples of women from that time period achieving great things without their husband constantly around.

She ended up having those adventures alone anyway.

BUT CAL DIES IN THE END TOO?

At the end, Rose tells the audience that Cal ends up shooting himself in a stock market crash. I think the director wants us to feel like Cal was “all about the money” here, but what if he did it because of the tragedy of losing Rose all those years before? What if, because of his broken heart, he just didn’t feel as if he could carry on – the stock market crash was just the straw that broke the camel’s back? I often wonder; if Rose had been by his side, would he still chosen to do so?

Perhaps I’m being a touch cynical.

But I could see the love Cal had for Rose. Even though he had different ideals, a different up-bringing, a different sense on the world to Jack, the love was still there.

You could argue that he chased Rose only because of the “other man”, but if that was the case, why was Cal so eager to win over Rose in the beginning before Jack was in the picture? He had no father-in-law to impress. He was the one with all the money.

So there you have it. My two cents on imaginary love between imaginary lovers.

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7 thoughts on “The Titanic, Or “Why I Would Have Stayed With Cal Hockley”

  1. I agree. The romance between Rose and Jack Dawson almost make the movie unwatchable for me. In fact during re-runs I’ve had to turn it off because the stretching of reality that occurs , I find that annoying. Now I still am a fan of the movie , because the Titanic was a beautiful ship, and I have had historical interest in the tragedy. Of course James Cameron, wrote the romance in for two purposes , because sex sells, and because the characters are from different classes, it’s an excuse for the camera to follow them around the ship during various phases of the sinking.

    I don’t believe the plot point of Rose wanting to commit suicide either, because to most women, marrying a zillionaire who looks like BILLY ZANE, would be a dream come true, then and now. Billy Zanes “bad points”: he doesn’t like Picasso (BOO HOO 😥 ), he expresses anger when his fiance runs off below deck with a homeless unwashed drifter( who draws prostitutes), he’s angry with Jack , who DISHONORABLY SLEEPS WITH ANOTHER MAN’S FIANCE!!!! .. and he thinks poor people are dead beats, which stretches the imagination that he would actually voice a callous opinions about the poor when the ship is at 45 degrees!!

    Jack’s good points: well he saved Rose’s life… and he’s an unemployed artist of which there are probably millions around. And that’s it . At a time of zero social programs an unemployed drifter who draws prostitutes ( Rose has no idea whether he sleeps with them either, at a time when there was no cure for syphillis!) … who coincidentally sounds like he wants to continue on this way would to any SANE woman would be terrible marriage prospect! Additionally in 1912 people didn’t jump into bed with someone they just met like it’s WOODSTOCK! Additionally, she’s turning her mother out into the streets, and STEALS the diamond worth 200 zillion from Cal , who gives it to her as part of the engagement. Rose And Jack actually behave quite badly and dishonorably themselves, but for some reason a modern audience die not see this. Film could have used better writing, with Jack outlining a future job prospect as an illustrator for a newspaper in New York, with Billy Zane’s character replaced by Wilfred Brimley in a wheelchair playing a depraved arms-dealer.

    1. Hahaha love all your points.
      It was on television the other week and I walked in on the scene with Zane presenting the diamond to her. He looked at her with absolute adoration, and says the “there’s nothing I would deny you, if you would not deny me” line and it just cemented my thoughts.
      But hey! Teenagers are notorious for making odd choices and following their hearts but yeah, who wouldn’t fall in love with Zane hahaha.
      I think Jack is the catalyst to Rose actually realising that there is more to life than fancy dinners and being objected to the horror that is corsets. Again, teens just want to be teens, and Jack was her out. She would have done it with any steerage passenger with an arty side – Jack was just the one who saved her. Hahaha.
      Movies are fun to pick at.

  2. The movie came out when I was nine, too! I fell in love with it and remain in love to this day. I have *always* thought that the market crash was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as you said. I’ve always attributed his suicide mainly with losing her, along with all the other traumas of that night. It wasn’t until much later that I realized the line about the suicide was supposed to cement the audience’s view that he was just a money grubber. It looks like Cameron accidentally accomplished depth with that character, because I could see a lesser actor playing someone flat and villainous. Cal actually breaks my heart. I’ve always had a soft spot for him.

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