Titanic’s Jack and Rose: NOT True Love

So I recently saw Titanic for the first time– my mom finally said I was old enough to go see it.

I was blown away by the story, the special effects, and the overall amazing-factor of the movie. The old couple hugging in the bed! The Irish mom tucking her kids in! Jack! After I wiped away my tears at the end of the movie, I left the theatre feeling a bit forlorn about the lack of a Jack Dawson figure in my life. I sighed to myself, wishing that one day I could experience a love like Jack and Rose.

Then I actually thought about it.

Do I really want a love like Jack and Rose? To be honest, Rose was a bit of a floozy.

I know this seems rather harsh, considering that Jack died a frozen death in the North Atlantic after surviving a shipwreck, but hear me out:

a) Rose was only 17 years old.

b) Rose was already engaged to another man.

c) Rose was clearly mentally unstable, considering she nearly flung herself off of the Titanic when it wasn’t sinking, and she threw herself back on when it actually was.

d) Rose and Jack had sex two days after they met each other, after only a post-suicide-attempt conversation, a dinner together, and a romantic nude drawing session.

Two days is definitely not long enough to establish a life-long true love relationship.

Parents: if your 17 or 18 year-old daughter went on a cruise and slept with a random boy two days after she met him, would you be pleased? Rose couldn’t have been sure that his name was actually Jack Dawson; he didn’t exist anywhere else but on the Titanic. He was essentially a vagrant, with no roots anywhere.

The movie’s distortion of what we consider to be “true love” is most troubling. Jack and Rose’s “relationship” is the furthest thing from true love. It was a short burst of passion that peaked with a romantic meeting in an automobile in a cargo hold of a passenger ship.

Sure, it’s tragic that Jack died in the end, but what are the chances that their relationship was actually going to last after the boat docked? Plenty of college students go on spring break cruises, meet someone cute, have sex with said person (most likely not in a cargo hold), and make “plans” to “keep in touch” that usually fall through and they never see the person again. Would you call that relationship true love? Rose’s relationship with Jack was no different, except that it was set to a Celine Dion soundtrack.

Girls my age shouldn’t be wishing for a love relationship like Rose and Jack’s. They deserve better. Although movie theaters pass off these intense, brief, passion-filled romances as “true love,” they’re not. For instance, take this gem of a scene:

Rose: When the ship docks, I’m getting off with you.

Jack: This is crazy.

Yeah, that’s what true love looks like right there.

People’s distortion of true love has bad consequences for culture as a whole. What Jack and Rose had was not a real relationship, and we shouldn’t strive for something similar because it’s simply not possible. Movies like Titanic and books like Twilight paint images for women about what “perfect relationships” should be like, and they simply don’t exist in the real world. That passion is not everyday life.

Not to say that true love isn’t real— it most certainly is. It just wasn’t present in this particular case, and we shouldn’t be tricked into thinking this way. There are better relationships to emulate than Jack and Rose, the so-called “greatest love story of our time.”

And there definitely wasn’t room for two on the piece of floating wall. Watch the movie again; it started sinking when Jack climbed on.

Christine Rousselle | Providence College | @CRousselle

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