Symbolic Interactionist Perspective Media Analysis
February 13, 2013
In the movie THE TITANIC the perspective view of conflict is very evident throughout the movie. From the point where they board the ship to the sinking of the ship we see how class structure is important and is enforced. The lower class are allowed on the ship but it is also expected that they will know there social place.
In the movie there are few scenes that emphasis the social order of the passengers on the ship. When the ship hits the iceberg and is taking on water we see that the upper class are the ones that get to board the lifeboats first and whatever is left behind will take however many lower class it can. Rose’s mother behavior and attitude toward her changes when she finds out Rose has been hanging around with Jack. The living quarters on the ship are vastly different from each other and the lower class is expected to stay away from the upper class.
Throughout the movie it is clearly seen that upper class see themselves as being better than the lower class. In the movie Cal Hockley scoffs at the lower class on many occasions, just through is body language you can tell he considers himself better than them. The upper class are dressed in elegant wears and fancy jewelry for ball room dancing while the lower class wears very cheap clothes and are stuck in less that desirable living quarters. The relationship between Rose and her mother show instances where she uses her eyes to scold Rose for wrong doings.
The nonverbal communication in this movie was used for multiple reasons. First between Rose and her mother it was as a disciplinary type means, a way of keeping Rose in check and reminding her she should not be socializing with Jack. Cal Hockley uses his nonverbal communication as means of being
arrogant, further emphasizing that he is superior in status to Jack and the lower class. The symbols used to distinguish between classes where clothes, money and jewelry.
The conflict perspective believes there has to be a social order, how the rich control the poor and a competition for resources and material. In the surrounding of the ship we see that the wealthy do whatever they wanted to, Jack is even arrested because he is setup by Cal. The lower class seemingly had no rights and had to come to accept it. “I know how the world works. I’ve got ten bucks in my pocket, I have no-nothing to offer you and I know that”. (Jack Dawson, The Titanic 1997).
The interpretation of the behavior seen in this movie still take place in today’s society. The conflict perspective proves that the social class still exists, it was more obvious on the movie but as we look at society right now we see it. The social elite get away with crimes the lower class cant. The social elite believe that because of whom they are that they are entitled to certain perks and put themselves above the lower class. The lower class has come to accept or expect that the upper class will get away with things that they would not. Society today seems to just have accepted their roles. Wealth and power is still used to control the poor and weak. The social elite still looks down and scoffs at the lower class, while the lower class consider the upper class to be arrogant and pompous.
In conclusion The Titanic is a love story but the movie also highlights the conflict perspective society. Cal uses his power, money and influence to try and control Jack and Rose. The attitude and behavior of the upper class in clearly shows that they are superior to the lower class and because they are, they are entitled to and given certain rights. The lower class know there place and do not seem at all surprised about the upper class still trying to take the little they have left and controlling them.
The Titanic 1997 Retrieved from