Explain how the historical situation in James Cameron's  Titanic contributed to the understanding of the audience.

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

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Cameron's central premise is an interesting one from a historical point of view.  It is from here where the audience's understanding can be developed in a more significant manner.  The idea of this boat being seen as "unsinkable" is something that Cameron brings across repeatedly, contrasting it with the historical reality that everyone realizes in that it did in fact sink.  This historical situation is something that probes the understanding of the audience.  The most basic question that the audience has is how this could happen.  It is here where the explanation of the historical situation contributes to the audience's understanding.  The computerized graphic that details the elder Rose's explanation is the starting point where most would be able to possess a basic historical understanding.  From this point, Cameron delves into the personal stories aboard the vessel.  This manifests itself into a historical analysis, with the pressure on the captain to arrive even earlier than anticipated, the architect's confession that less lifeboats were suggested in order to maximize speed and cost, and that the boat represented an obsession with "bigger, faster, and more powerful."  In these, the historical conditions that set in motion the disaster are revealed and through detailing this, the audience's understanding is enhanced.


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