Rose

Velvet crimson hair. A delicate smile. A dreamer. Rose DeWitt Bukater, Women Who Wow Wednesday’s paradigm of perseverance. The actress. The horseback rider. The spitter.

Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater
Kate Winslet as Rose DeWitt Bukater

When Rose walks aboard the Titanic, who many call The Ship of Dreams, for her it is anything but. She likens it to a prison where her soul cries out for freedom and there is no escape. Her fiancée, Caledon Hockley, a man of wealth and viable means, promises her the world if she wouldn’t deny him. His wish? Open your heart to me, Rose. The price sounds too costly.

Enter Jack Dawson, the free-spirited young man who would change Rose’s life forever. He travels from place to place on tramp steamers and such. He won his ticket on the Titanic in a lucky hand of poker. A very lucky hand. They meet in the moonlight, she, wanting to take her life, he, wanting to save it. Give me your hand. You don’t want to do this, he says. Come on. One more step and she would’ve found herself floating in the middle of the Atlantic with the water so cold it would’ve hit her like a thousand knives. You saved me, Jack, in every way a person can be saved.

Rose meets Jack in First Class, among the most important on the ship. His art captivates her. Her cheeks grow hot at his drawings of the women. Did you like this woman? I think you must have had a love affair with her. Not at all, he says, just with her hands. She was a one-legged prostitute. Rose melts knowing she promised her heart to Caledon. All the wedding invitations have gone out, there’s no escape of the inevitable. She has to marry him.

Rose
Rose

Do you love him? Oh, Jack, what a silly question to ask. It’s simple, do you love him or not? Rose props her head high, and declares her departure. Wait a minute, it’s First Class, he has to leave! Not before he teaches her how to spit. Strange kids. On the First Class deck, he aims for the sunset bathed ocean. It went far. They’re one. No denying they belong together.

But then there’s Cal. Caledon. What to do? Rose’s heart tears from knowing if she gives him up, she’d be giving up her security. He’s been good to her. If you don’t break free, Jack says, your heart will die. Maybe not right away but the fire will eventually go out. Rose makes her decision. It’s not up to you to save me, Jack. For both our sakes, leave me alone. As strong as she tries, she can’t muster the courage to ignore Jack. Nothing can quench the fire within her not to be with her secret lover.

Jack and Rose
Jack and Rose

When the iceberg finally hits, they can smell the ice. But Rose had decided. When the ship lands, she will disappear with Jack. Before that happens, he will have to free himself. Cal frames him with stealing The Heart of the Ocean diamond. Into the belly of the ship Jack goes, handcuffs and all.

As the ship sinks, Rose’s desperate search for Jack leads to a water-filled grave. Where, oh, where has my Jack gone? In the bowels of the beast, her back against the wall, the vessel groans. She will find him. She will rescue him just as he had done for her. Except this time, she will never doubt him again. Ever.

Rose eventually finds Jack, rescues him from his watery prison, and he leads her to the top of the ship where they consummate a promise of life. Whatever you do, Rose, don’t let go of my hand. We’re gonna make it. Trust me.

I trust you.

The ship bobs for a bit. Stays still. Then flounders. In a rush, waves swallow the couple whole. A few minutes later, the ocean regrets taking the lovers and releases them to the surface.

On a scrap of debris, Jack asks Rose one thing of her. With every last trembling breath he can collect, promise me you will survive. That you will never give up. No matter what happens. No matter how hopeless. Promise me now, and never let go of that promise.

I promise.

Never let go.

I promise. I will never let go, Jack. I’ll never let go.

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11 thoughts on “Rose

  1. Such a devastating love story. Doomed from the beginning, and yet the tiniest hint of hope is enough to keep us on the edge of our seat cheering, praying, plotting for them only to see their love come to a chilling end (pun intended).

    I’ve only seen Titanic once. Someday I’m sure I’ll watch it again, but quite honestly it was emotionally draining. I sat in my recliner staring listlessly into space long after the credits were through.

    Was there really no way Rose could have made room for Jack on her makeshift life raft? I’d like to think I could have figured something out if I were in her place. But then, I’m not a Victorian socialite. She would have, most likely, been a little short on survival skills outside of surviving high tea. On second thought, she did survive the Titanic. In a dress. Which is impressive.

    • Incredible what hope will do to a person. It will allow them to continue to live, having known love and lose it.

      I saw Titanic in the theaters. That moment when she’s calling Jack’s name, over and over again, I could hear the audience’s sniffling echoing in the theater. One girl had to walk out ’cause she couldn’t control the tears.

      Last year Director James Cameron finally spoke out about the driftwood dilemma in the movie Titanic. According to him it was all about buoyancy: http://www.avclub.com/articles/james-cameron-has-heard-all-about-your-little-they,84996/ To me though, I wouldn’t change the ending in a million years, even if I wanted Jack to survive–which I did. I’m a sucker for happy endings. As for Rose and the dress, Kate Winslet hated that dress. It looked light, but once it took on water, she could hardly move. Cameron had assigned special divers to cruise under Winslet and unravel the chiffon that constantly clung to her legs as she moved. What an experience, to say the least!

  2. *sniffle* I caught the last couple scenes of Titanic on tv this weekend, and now I’m verklempt all over again! This was wonderfully done – so evocative. LOVE that you brought up the spitting, too. That’s so Rose!

    • I couldn’t have let the spitting scene pass. I did leave out the spitting in the face scene, though, with Cal. I felt she’d done so much already, been through so much that I didn’t need to bring it up again. Now I’m second-guessing myself. What do you think?

      • Hmm, tough call … but I think I would’ve left that out too. We all know Cal deserves to be spit on – makes a more interesting read to highlight her other awesome accomplishments 🙂

  3. Great post. The best of this of this movie was when the ship was sinking. Forget all the mushy love stuff in the beginning ツ

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