Rhetorical criticism of the Titanic

Criticism is the act of a person determining the psychological response of an individual by using symbols or speech. The critic analyzes symbols, words, phrases, and images that can be used to undermine a persons’ emotional response.

Thesis: Titanic is mostly considered to be a love story. The film portrays love of two people from different social classes. Titanic also features the story of the first cruise ship which was the biggest and the best in the world in that time.

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In the first scenes of the film, we see Rose trying to commit suicide in order to evade a forced marriage.
Jack, one of the young men from the lower deck, is there to save Rose’s life.
Jack and Rose develop a friendship
They walk round the ship and explore all the hidden areas
The people of the high class treat and see the employees and people from the lower societies
There is a description of how the food service and the cleaning of the rooms are done as well as the privileges given to the elite on board

Conclusion: Rhetoric criticism is a tool used by people to enslave people and keep them in their mercy. It is a weapon that is the most effective as the parties involved receive the desired outcome. However, in the Titanic, we see Jack being able to handle the amount of pressure inflicted on him.

Rhetorical Criticism

Criticism is the act of a person determining the psychological response of a an individual by using symbols or speech. The critic analyzes symbols, words, phrases, and images that can be used to undermine a person’s emotional response. critic could be positive or negative. When it is meant to approve the work or something, the rhetoric figures used in speech sound in a polite manner, and sometimes, they are used to show that the critics want to help a person consider the need to change certain aspects in his/her lives.

On the other hand, rhetoric criticism may be used to injure the emotions of a person. Such a manner of communication humiliates an individual and can be referred to the way the wealthy slave owners would speak down on their slaves in order to show the owner’s control and power over those subdued people. It also happens with people in different economic classes.

Rhetoric criticism also shows a discrimination against the other people not equal in rank by those who consider that their high social status gives them the right to be arrogant. This is depicted in the manner in which they speak and treat other people. The way they communicate as well as their speech should reflect their superiority in order to maintain their social status. We view the acts of rhetoric criticism in the Titanic movie.

Titanic is mostly considered to be a love story. The film portrays love of two people from two different social classes. Titanic also features the travel of the first cruise ship which was the biggest and the best in the world in that time. However, regardless the love story and the ship itself, there are some scenes that show severe cases of criticism occurred in that society. Firstly, the ship was divided into sections where the people from low class were only allowed to be on a lower deck of the ship.

This was just the first sign of discrimination which also reflected in the privileges offered on the ship (Anderson 45).. It is, however, noted that those people on the lower deck enjoyed the cruise more than those on the upper one. The thing is that those people were mainly immigrants from Europe seeking for a better life in the USA, thus they considered it a real success and honor to get on that ship, while the elite did not feel the same excitement (Temple 10).

In the first scenes of the film, we see Rose trying to commit suicide in order to evade a forced marriage. She leans forward on the edge of the ship trying to fall in the water. Jack, a young man from the lower deck, being on that deck pulls her back on the ship and saves her life.

The guard on duty that night accuses Jack of trying to molest Rose as he heard some screams. This judgment is the one that is past to Rose’s fiancee. He admits that that is the thing one can expect of a person from a lower social level. However, after Rose tells them what happened, Jack is set free.

Rose’s fiancee offers him a twenty dollar note as a reward for saving his future wife’s life. He also asks him a rhetorical question if twenty dollars would be enough for him. This is one of the instances of rhetorical criticism in the movie. It shows that elite think that people of Jack’s social status can be easily paid off for any action or favor their do as the best regard for them is money, and they are not worth respecting or approving.

It also implies that Jack always needs the money for settling some bills. Such a humiliated form of speech is mostly carried out in the presence of other people in order to lower the self-esteem of a person addressed. It is a play to ensure that an individual is humbled and cannot do a thing but to serve the one humiliating him/her. Thus, Jack has no power over the flow of the events. Even when he does an act of good will, he is still considered an immoral person because of his background (Eaton and Haas 12-14).

In another scene, we see Jack and Rose developing a friendship based on their common love for art and music. They walk round the ship and explore all the hidden areas. At one point, Rose invites Jack to dinner with her family and friends. Jack is not used to such a kind of dinner as he has to wear a suit and well prepare for an event in advance.

Rose’s close circle worries of her socializing with people of a lower social level. This leads to a number of questions on Jack’s background and his knowledge on finance and politics. This is a plot to embarrass him more in front of Rose. However, we see Jack taking a stand on his background and answering all the questions quite intelligently.

As dinner is about to end, Rose’s fiancee makes a comment on that Jack cannot join the company of men because of his background as they are going to another room where they enjoy their cigars while discussing their business. Jack then invites Rose to go with him to a lower deck where they have a party after dinner. We see a huge contrast between the two societies. On a lower deck, Rose is invited and welcomed by all the people. She is able to socialize without any hurdles (Barczewski 21).

There are other scenes in the film where the people from the high society humiliate the lower paid employees. This is seen in the way the food service and the cleaning of the rooms is done and the privileges given to the elite on board. In todays’ world, ships are still divided into sections from first class to coach; however, there is minimal or no interaction between them as they respect each other.

However, in the days of Titanic, elite was used to entertain themselves by making fun of people of a lower class. Some of them would also go as far as to parade them and then ask them rhetoric questions so that they would entertain themselves on how they would answer their questions (Rasor 15).

Rhetoric criticism, as we have seen, is a tool used by one people to enslave the other and keep them in their mercy. It is a weapon that is the most effective as the parties involved receive the desired outcome. However, in Titanic, we see Jack being able to handle the amount of pressure inflicted on him. He is able to resist the people who are humiliating him and make a stand against a criticism concerning his background.

Besides being a love story, Titanic is also a story of how a young man is able to stand his ground and believe in himself. We also see how rhetorical criticism is used to enslave people in the early nineteen century. This story goes beyond the basic story and features the strength of the ship and a touching love story. It also shows a story of betrayal, deceit and hatred but most of all, Titanic is a story that covers some basic issues of life of that time and how one can overcome them.

Works Cited

Anderson, Brian. The Titanic in Print and on Screen. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. 2005. Print.

Barczewski, Stephanie. Titanic: A Night Remembered: Centenary Edition. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. 2011. Print.

Eaton, John, and Haas Charles. Titanic: Triumph and Tragedy. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 1995. Print.

Rasor, Eugene L. The Titanic: historiography and annotated bibliography. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group. 2011. Print.

Temple, Bob. The Titanic: An Interactive History Adventure. Minnesota: Capstone Press, 2008. Print.

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