Cal and the Societal Effects of the Disaster


Status
Not open for further replies.

Matthew Welsh

Member
Jul 16, 2004
23
0
131
Near the end of ANTR Kenneth Moore's Lightoller is involved in a brief dialogue with Colonel Archibald Gracie in which he says that with the Titanic they'd been so sure of themselves about everything and that he felt that he'd never be sure of anything again. I tend to think of the progression of Cal's character in Cameron's film in a similar context with that statement. In the beginning Cal is boundlessly confident in everything around him. He believes in the power of money, he believes that he has Rose for himself, and he believes that Titanic is unsinkable. In fact Cal states several times (perhaps more than any other character) over the course of the film that the ship is unsinkable. As the ship is sinking Cal sees all these ideals he had believed in whirling in ruin around him. In this sense Caledon Hockley not only serves as the antagonist to the story but also as a view into the societal effects of the Titanic disaster, an event that ushered in an age of uncertainty leading up to the first world war. Is this view reasonable?
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,661
871
563
Easley South Carolina
>>Is this view reasonable?<<

In the grand scheme of things, I don't think so. At least not if one is talking about the seeds being sown for the First World War. The seeds for that had been sown long befor that and the tensions were only getting worse over time. Absent Titanic, the war would have happened anyway. The anarchist who's bullet started the whole thing couldn't have cared less about a ship versus an iceberg. He had his own agenda.
 

Matthew Welsh

Member
Jul 16, 2004
23
0
131
While I don't think I suggested that the Titanic disaster could be traced back as one of the causes of the First World War, if I did then I apologize. I was referring to the disaster as a catalyst for uncertainty and disillusionment (something Walter Lord and others have cited it as). In that manner is it plausible to say that the progression of Cal's character through the film works in the same manner, albeit more subtly, as Lightoller's dialogue in ANTR?
 
Jul 9, 2000
58,661
871
563
Easley South Carolina
>>In that manner is it plausible to say that the progression of Cal's character through the film works in the same manner, albeit more subtly, as Lightoller's dialogue in ANTR?<<

In my opinion...no. The ANTR dialogue struck me as something intended to be a something of a moral statement. Quite typical of the time I suppose. Cal was just interested in looking out for Number One, right up to the end of the film. At least that's my take on it.

Your results may vary.
 

Mary Hamric

Member
May 4, 1999
139
4
263
Some believe it wasn't the catalyst for societal confidence in technology, but that it was the beginning of the end of that belief (at least in its current form).

There is a very well written Titanic fan fiction story on Cal's life after the sinking exploring the way the disaster affected him for good. It's under Anne's Story Page I believe.
 
Feb 24, 2004
907
3
183
Hi, Matthew!

>>Near the end of ANTR Kenneth Moore's Lightoller is involved in a brief dialogue with Colonel Archibald Gracie in which he says that with the Titanic they'd been so sure of themselves about everything and that he felt that he'd never be sure of anything again.

Had to work WL's famous "if only" list in there somehow. I believe "SOS Titanic" also contained such a "summing up" speech at the end - as if people could have made such an informed, visionary, sociological judgement call so soon after the event.

While I don't think I suggested that the Titanic disaster could be traced back as one of the causes of the First World War . . .

I don't think you did either, Matthew. Titanic was no WW1 catalyst, but it certainly was indicative of the national rivalries, suspicions and jealousies that would soon break out into that war. A couple of good examples are the Titanic's famous brush-off of the Frankfurt and the practice of lumping all non-British/American males into the category of "Italians," (whether or not they were) as a synonym for "uncivilized non-Anglo/Saxon coward." That kind of talk would certainly get my dander up.

Roy
 
Status
Not open for further replies.

Similar threads

Similar threads