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Is the construction of the RMS Titanic a good representation of the Industrial Age?    

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Deborah Sheldon eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It is not a giant leap to consider the Titanic a mammoth metaphor of the Industrial Age. The Titanic was a massive ship, the likes of which were not even imagined fifty years earlier. It seems to represent the entrepreneurial spirit of thinking big and the idea that no dream was too grand. The production of the ship required a vast sum of natural resources and the use of thousands of laborers. The construction of the ship itself was a trophy to industrialism. The hyperbole of the descriptions of the vessel, like "unsinkable" and "feat of engineering" are almost humorous to think about today.

The Titanic is also representative of the class struggles that existed between the industrialists and the workers in the factories. The average cost of a first class ticket was $50,000 when inflation is taken into consideration. Only the wealthiest capitalists could afford that expense. The first class passengers had access to whatever amenities existed on the voyage. The lower class passengers did not have access to these accommodations and were not even allowed on many parts of the ship.

Symbolically, the iceberg and disaster that befell the Titanic demonstrate the limits of industrialism. In the same way that workers revolted and demanded labor rights, the North Atlantic demanded an end to the crowning achievement of industrialism that was the Titanic.

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