jessica tholmer
November 26, 2018 4:47 pm

I’ve watched Titanic many, many times. I’m not great at estimating numbers, or counting, or doing anything that involves math—but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen this movie close to 300 times. In 1997, I was 10 years old and saw it in the theater 11 times. Thanks to 3D and special re-releases, I have since seen Titanic in a theater 15 times. That’s not me strangely bragging that I’m obsessive and creepy—it’s just a preface to this piece.

Because, even after my nearly 300 viewings, there are still some things I wonder about Rose DeWitt Bukater, Titanic‘s protagonist portrayed by Kate Winslet. And there are even more things that other people still wonder. So I watched the movie again (viewing #301?) and scrolled through Twitter to see what other people have said, and I’ve decided it’s time to talk about Rose again. (But let’s be honest: it’s always time to talk about Rose in my house.)

So I’m going to go ahead and get this first one out of the way since it is the number-one question anybody seems to have about Titanic in general—even Neil deGrasse Tyson and Kate Winslet herself

1Could Rose have just scooted over on the door and saved Jack’s life?

It’s important for you to know that, normally, I will not engage with this silly conversation—but since I’m writing this post, I’ll allow it. We do see Jack climbing on the door at first, but it starts to flip over and they don’t try again. Honestly, Jack and Rose could have tried harder, so I get why people are annoyed by that. But consider this: They are tired. Physically and emotionally exhausted. Also freezing—one of them is about to be literally freezing—and they just survived a shipwreck. I personally believe that by the time Rose is on top of the door and Jack is settled into the icy cold water, they just don’t have the energy to try again. That’s my official stance—also director James Cameron said that, no, they could not have fit because he wrote the movie, and he wrote that they both couldn’t fit. So, argue with that.

2What was Rose’s favorite dress?

This was mine.

3It’s not my business, and if Rose were a real-life person, I would never pry into such a thing…but what was up with her virginity?

Listen, I know Rose is fictional, but I have always wondered. By the way, I am not shaming Rose one way or the other. It’s just that there has been such debate around it, and I personally have never landed on a conclusion. Writer Roxane Gay even participated in a Twitter conversation about this very subject, citing her belief that Rose is a virgin when she sleeps with Jack.

That makes sense to me, but then I remember that some people believe Cal Hockley’s “I hoped you would come to me last night” comment to Rose implies that she and Cal have slept together. But wait! Then why would Jack ask her if she was nervous before consummating her one-day-old love? Though, of course, it is natural for someone to be nervous when they are sleeping with a new person—but he has already drawn Rose in the nude, another erotic activity that could be nerve-wracking…I’ve thought about this too much. Okay, moving on.

4Did Rose’s mom spend the family’s whole fortune on Rose’s wardrobe?

Because Ruth and Rose are dressed to the nines literally always—and if they couldn’t afford it, like, damn, Ruth. She needed someone to teach her to budget.

5How does Rose’s actual, eventual husband feel about her long-lost love?

This is another thing that “casual” Titanic fans discuss: What the hell happens at the end of the movie, after Jack dies and she marries a man named Calvert?

Well, let me tell you. Rose fulfills the life that she and Jack discussed right before he froze to death. As she passes away (spoiler alert!!! she dies!), the camera pans across a bunch of photographs and souvenirs that reference the fact she achieved everything the two of them talked about as they floated together in the sea: Rose on a horse sitting the way you’re supposed to sit, Rose traveling, Rose living a whole life that she could have never lived without Jack’s influence breaking her out of her shell. And lastly, she dies an old lady, warm in her bed, just as she promised Jack. (She never let go of that promise…)

Rose dies and meets Jack in her Titanic heaven, which you will notice is full of the nice people on the ship who passed away, including Mr. Andrews, who Rose has an adorable relationship with.

But all that being said, what about Rose’s actual husband? What happened to Mr. Calvert? That poor guy loved her, married her, and had children with her—and then she dies at 101 and goes to meet some cool teen she knew for a day and a half? Can your heart break in heaven? (I sure hope not.)

6Some people ask why Rose didn’t just pawn the necklace.

You know, instead of keeping it for 84 years and then chucking it into the ocean. But if you wonder this, then you clearly don’t realize the kind of person Rose Dawson is. She would never allow herself to willingly be supported by Cal Hockley in any sense of the word. Sure, she could have been filthy rich if she had pawned it right after surviving the shipwreck, but at what cost? (Also, IDK how pawn shops worked in 1912, but maybe Cal could have traced it back to her and she clearly did not want to see that guy again.)

7Was Rose a Twin Peaks fan?

I don’t think we talk about this enough. This episode of Twin Peaks aired well before Titanic existed, and it features the line, “I’d rather be his whore than your wife.”

So I guess what I’m  actually asking is, “Was James Cameron a Twin Peaks fan?” It’s a verbatim line! It can’t be a coincidence.

8If this all happened in the present day, would Rose have gotten “to making it count” tattooed on her body to commemorate their love?

Or a “you jump, I jump” one, I guess.

9Lastly, and possibly most importantly—where did Rose learn to chug a beer like that?

I’m not saying a first-class girl can’t drink, but…

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