The movie Titanic, directed by James Cameron, was a fictional story based on the true ship, Titanic. Cameron's movie was based on a love story; however, the focus of this paper will be on some of the differences between the two classes aboard the Titanic. This movie clearly portrayed how differently the first and second-class people were treated during the time of the Titanic. This can be related to many other times in American history when groups were segregated as well. The movie began by showing many second-class citizens surrounding the ship, waiting to board the Titanic. The first class had their cars driven up to the dock, beeping their horns so the second-class people would move out of their way.
They were immediately escorted out of their cars, with their many pieces of expensive luggage being carried for them. The first class boarded the ship through the main, top deck, while the second class waited around while they were checked for lice and other diseases. The second class kept their belongings in one sac each and waited until all of the first class were aboard, then entered the ship through the steerage entrance. The living quarters for the upper class were lavish, with everything from fireplaces to private bathrooms. A first class room was extremely large with access to the decks, and had all the comforts of home.
These rooms were located on the top of the ship, each with their own personal servants. The rooms were decorated extravagantly, with beautiful paintings and furniture. Underneath the first class, slept the second class in the bottom of the ship. Instead of beautiful artwork and ceramics surrounding them, these people had drainpipes and narrow hallways. The second-class rooms were packed tight with about four people to a room and two sets of bunk beds. These rooms were about half of the size of a first class bathroom.
The first class ate their meals in private dining rooms, among other people of their own standings. They were served caviar and champagne, while second class ate what they could find. The Titanic was separated into two different deck areas, one for the first class and a separate for the second class. The second-class were not allowed up to the first class decks; however, the first class dogs were brought down to go to the bathroom on the lower-class decks.
The first class were catered to for their every need and second class were ignored and looked upon as garbage that was lucky to be aboard the ship. In one scene in the movie, it was very clear how differently the first and second class were. The rich were up in their dining halls, smoking cigars, sipping champagne and drinking tea, while quietly and formally chatting about new money, old money and married money. This was considered to be a party, while downstairs, in steerage, there was dancing and loud, lively music being played. People were chugging beer, bumping into each other and spilling their drinks all over the place. The second class walked among the rats, while the first class walked along red carpets.
Once the Titanic had hit the iceberg and the crew were trying to get people prepared to abandon the ship, it became even more evident, how differently the two classes were treated. The first class were warned politely and calmly, handed life jackets and asked to please dress warm and get to the decks. The upper class had entertainment while waiting to board the lifeboats. Each upper class person was assured that they would be taken care of and kept safe. The lower class did not have it so good. Crewmembers ran through their halls, banging on doors and throwing life jackets at them, telling everyone to evacuate their rooms because the ship was sinking.
While the first class were up on the decks, waiting to board the life boats, the lower class were locked downstairs, closed in by gates. They were not allowed to even leave the basement of the ship until the upper class had been taken care of. Crewmembers threatened to shoot them and hit them if they attempted to break through the gate or speak back to them. They were kept in a sort of prison. The lower class were left to drown, while the upper class ran back and forth to their rooms trying to gather their belongings to take off the ship with them. There were only enough lifeboats to save half of the people on the ship, so it was obvious that only the rich would be making it off the Titanic alive.
Women and children were supposed to be taken off the ship before any men were; however, many first class men made it before second-class women and children. After the Titanic went down, those that survived were still separated into classes on the rescue boat. People's families had died, many lives were lost, and still first and second classes were separated. It would have seemed that the surviving Titanic passengers would want to unite and support each other as a whole, but still, class separation was to important. This has been the case in history and still may be today.
People are still being separated not only by economic standards, but by racial and religious standards as well. Today it may not be as evident as it was during the time of the Titanic, but it still is in existence.