Discuss the imagery in Titanic.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Part of what makes Cameron's film so compelling is that it is a large scale epic that does not lose sight of the imagery that helps to convey its story.  The story of immense wealth matched with equally immense sadness is reflected in nearly every scene.  Even from the opening scenes of the excavation of the ruins of the ship that are contrasted with the fleeting splendor of the maiden voyage are brought out with stunning clarity.  The images of the splendor of the boat are contrasted with the reality that undermines it.  Rose's extravagance is sharply undercut with Jack's simplicity.  The elegance of the ballroom is matched up with the rat infested condition of steeridge.  The speed and swiftness of the vessel is set on a collision course with the iceberg, and from this point on, all of the competing narratives become one in the same.  Cal's money "is no good" in buying a seat on an escape boat.  The opulence of John Jacob Astor's tuxedo and top hat is matched with the horrifying expression on his face when he sees the water overcome him.  In being able to bring out these images of wealth undercut by poverty, and then images of overall sadness, the film is able to continue its story, retaining it despite its large scale.

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