We will write a custom Report on The Role of the Social Institution in the Cameron’s “Titanic” specifically for you
807 certified writers online
Synopsis of the movie
The movie selected for this paper is “Titanic”, with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet and Billy Zane as principal characters. The movie is situated in most of the part inside the ship, the Titanic. It is not a movie about the drama of the Titanic in general, but it focuses on the drama of a family. The story is about a rich English aristocracy family, habituated with all of the facilities and privileges of an aristocratic family. It was a family bound by the rules, norms and values of the British aristocracy. They decide to get to the New World aboard the most famous of ships, the Titanic. Parallel to that, the movie describes the journey of a poor English boy, Jack, which incidentally got aboard the Titanic.
Most of the movie is about the encounter and relationships of this boy with the members of the aristocratic family mentioned above. The main theme is the love that was born between Jack and Rose, the youngest member of the aristocratic family. She suffered from a suicide depression and wanted to end her life while aboard the ship. Only the intervention of Jack saved her from killing herself. Gradually, they became very connected to each other until they got in love. Here is where the problems began because there was a significant class division between the two. Rose’s family would never accept Jack as her partner, and in fact they did not. Furthermore, Rose was promised to another man, also coming from an aristocratic family with friendship ties with Rose’s family. This situation continues even during the evacuation of the ship where many people were running for their lives. Ultimately, they manage to be together till the last moments until death separated them. Jack, decided to sacrifice himself in order to save Rose.
The role of the selected social institution in the movie
The family is at the epicenter of this movie. Even though many would argue that love and the relationship between these two characters, Rose and Jack, is the principal theme of the movie. Nevertheless, one cannot deny that they intended to be together in order to form a family and were encountering difficulties because of that. This movie is a perfect example of the transformation that the world was undergoing at the beginning of the twentieth century. This was a transformation due to the processes initiated by industrialization and modernization.
The family could not have been untouched by these transformation processes. In fact, the movie describes that even within the ship there existed two different social worlds, that of the aristocracy and that of common people. The film describes the isolation between the two and the roles that were expected by each member of these social groups. The aristocratic family had very strict rules and protocols in terms of communication and relations. On the other side, Jack symbolizes the common family already changed by the industrial revolution that did not know what the future holds and lives by the moment, with no strict rules and communication protocols. Jack played the role of the change initiator for the aristocratic family. In fact, the mother of Rose had arranged for her to be married with a young man from a fellow aristocratic family. In the movie the aristocratic family did not allow to Rose the liberties that nowadays a modern woman enjoys. In fact, the family was the main source of oppression for the liberties of young woman because of the strict norms and traditions of the English aristocracy.
Sociological perspective review
Feminism has been one of the strongest and most active sociological perspectives in the twentieth century. It is a view that tried to change the situation of women in society. This view begins by assessing that the traditional social status of women has been that of inferiority and discrimination in all of the known societies. In regards to family, the feminist perspective claims that this social institution was one of the major sources of discrimination and violation of rights for women (Jensen & Jensen, 15). The reason for this is because family is the primary source of education and learning for a young woman. In fact, the family is the primary source of learning and transmission for social norms, values and rules.
It is also the first source of role models for the child. Since the traditional family has been dominated by the male, the role of the female was seen as inferior and certain behaviors and attitudes were expected from her. The female taught the female child her duties, obligations, how to construct her attitude and behavior (Somerville & Campling, 34). This is clearly recognizable in the movie we are discussing. Rose, the female central character in this movie, was taught to live her life according to certain rules and norms that she should not transgress. This taught social norms and values were defined by her family status and de facto determined a certain social role that she had to play according to that status. The problem is that because of the radical changes from industrialization and modernity, these social norms and values began to clash with the reality surrounding Rose. They conflicted with her desires at such point to increase the level of stress inside her at the point of wanting of trying to commit suicide. The only thing that kept her from fulfilling her dreams was her family. This is certainly the case also when she met Jack.
In fact, Jack as a character is the representation of all that was conflicting with the traditional social norms that Rose was educated. It is not by case that the major opposition to her union with Jack was the family. And the reasons for this opposition were because the different social norms and statutes of this family which were in conflict with what Jack represented. Thus, the struggle of Rose to be with her love, with her chosen, is a symbolic struggle of a woman for the rights of freedom of choice and liberty in selecting her social status and role. It is this freedom to choose for her life that the family was denying to Rose. It is this lack of liberty that increased her levels of stress at such point as to attempt suicide. It is to obtain such rights and demonstrate to her family that what she desired was the wright thing for her (Das & Gupta, 12).
This is a particular interpretation of the central theme of the movie Titanic according to the feminist perspective. It is an interesting perspective that allows for a researcher to focus on a particular issue, that of rights of women, and analyze each social institution in relation to this issue.
Das, Man Singh. & Gupta, Vijay Kumar. Changing family roles and feminism. London: Macmillan, 1996.
Jensen, Larry & Jensen, Janet. Family Feminism. New York: SUNY Press, 1994.
Somerville, Jennifer. & Campling, Jo. Feminism and the family: politics and society in the UK and USA. London & New York: McGraw-Hill, 2000.