In 1997, James Cameron hit us with his greatest masterpiece to once and for all solidify his place in the annals of cinematic history.
Everyone, young and old has seen Titanic at least a few times since it’s release and you’d have to go quite out of your way to find someone who hasn’t seen it. Titanic remains one of the greatest stories ever told. It’s fueled debates about treasure, diamonds and time travel and even went on to spawn rumors about a sequel. Yes, I know…a sequel?
Anyway, with all this in mind, I ask the question at least some of you might have wondered about over the years…
What if Jack Dawson did fit on that piece of the door with Rose? What if he survived and they did have a life together?
Rose would of course still introduce herself to the nice sailor with the clipboard as Rose Dawson to avoid Caledon Hockley and her mother Ruth and events would go as we know them up to this point. The only difference in our little speculation is that Jack would be with her at this point and the pair would probably have to part ways for a while to avoid detection. They’d most likely have to keep pretty far apart to avoid suspicion as Caledon wasn’t only looking for Rose when we so briefly last saw him at the end of the film.
The Titanic Relief Fund Theory (Debunked)
The fact most people don’t know is that White Star Line actually set up a relief fund after the disaster since they had to cover their asses. This fund was to compensate victims and families of victims. This was called The Titanic Relief Fund and it even assisted with things such as jobs and day to day requirements.
‘Because the sinking of the Titanic was worldwide news, and as so many people from different countries and classes were affected, a great deal of effort was put into raising money for the Relief Fund. Many individuals, as well as companies, contributed to the appeal.‘ – Source BBC
There is one slight problem with this for the happy couple…
Neither Jack or Rose would be able to claim anything from this fund since they can’t technically prove they held tickets aboard the Titanic. Yes, they were on The Titanic and were logged among the survivors but Jack’s ticket (which he won) had some Swedish guy’s name on it and Rose’s ticket said Rose DeWitt Bukater on it. Rose logged herself in as Rose Dawson after the disaster and there was no record of a Jack Dawson either.
Between the two of them, not one can claim to have been recorded as a ticket holder, family member or staff member who was related to or on board the R.M.S. Titanic at the time of the sinking and therefore would not benefit from The Titanic Relief Fund at all.
Scenario 01 – Unimpressive But ‘Not Bad’
There were not a whole lot of jobs in New York in 1920 and while Jack is used to some manual labor and working on board Tramp Steamers (and such), Rose hadn’t worked a day in her life and had no real world skills what so ever. She could sit upright, complain and look slightly sad, that was about it. Her list of career choices at the time was therefore limited to working at a Factory, Farming, Vaudeville or Prostitution, which Jack would never allow. It’s likely that supporting the two would have fallen entirely upon Jack since, you know, Rose wasn’t clutching a fucking diamond that was worth millions the entire time at all.
Jack was also an old-fashioned kind of guy who would have wanted to take care of his wife/girlfriend.
Assuming the timeline proceeds into modern times with Rose never revealing the diamond to anyone, I think The Dawson’s would probably have lived a simple, troubled life together that was neither remarkable or exciting.
It is however also likely to me that they didn’t stay in New York for long to live a life of obscurity since both of them are far too adventurous to just vanish quietly into the night. The pair might have ended up on a farm somewhere, tending to horses or whatever and continued to have adventures within their means until they had kids, grandkids and the drawing of Rose is eventually found in modern times and broadcasted on television.
This would lead us pretty much down the same road we know.
Scenario 02 – Less Than Ideal
We can make a safe assumption from the end of Titanic that Rose went on to ride horses while wearing fancy riding gear, fly airplanes and had many adventures in her life. This was not a poor life. This was not an average life.
To accomplish these things she probably got married to someone (at least) semi-wealthy, as we do know that she did take a partner. I mean, she had grandkids and everything in the film. She did find a way to support herself. Rose was pretty hot and she was 19. There was no way she wasn’t able to find some rich dude and seduce his ass.
However, if Jack did survive and accompany her to New York after Titanic, life would have been somewhat different. With Jack around, he would have actually limited her options as a vibrant, hot, young female in 1920’s New York. Chances are that being and staying with Jack would have never led to Rose doing any of the things they talked about on board Titanic.
I mean, look at the year. This is 1920. Women had no voice, no real options and no say in anything. If Rose couldn’t get married to some rich guy, what could she do? Jack was pretty much a homeless person and those guys you saw in the Boiler Room on Titanic and those poor people singing and dancing below decks, those were the regular people of the time. Do you think they ever saw a fancy horse with awesome riding gear or an airplane?
All romantic ideals aside – Life with Jack Dawson would have quickly developed into a living nightmare for Rose. I doubt she would have been content for long. Rose was used to a very fancy, high-class life of privilege and wanted for nothing.
Do you think she would really have settled for a life on the streets or a dirty shack somewhere with Jack Dawson?
Some ‘what if’ scenario’s…
Let us assume that Rose and Jack realize pretty quickly that this poor life wasn’t what they wanted and then let us also assume that at this point there are a few possible outcomes other than the obvious two scenario’s above.
1. Rose reveals the existence of the diamond she still has to Jack and they make a plan to sell it. Successful, they make enough money to sustain themselves, invest in the stock market or whatever (Rose is smart) and live their lives out comfortably while still having all the adventures they wanted originally.
2. Rose reveals the existence of the diamond she still has to Jack and they get caught while trying to sell it. It was a very expensive diamond, one which poor people like them should not possess unless it was stolen. Cal had filed an insurance claim for his missing diamond lost on Titanic and would be informed it has been found. This would lead to Rose being forcefully reunited with Cal and Jack would probably enjoy a short drop and sudden stop.
3. The two come up with a plan and she marries a rich man. She waits for all the paperwork to be done and then one night Jack brutally murders the rich man (in a non-suspicious way) so Rose can inherit his millions. The two live happily ever after and nobody ever finds out about the diamond.
4. Rose decides Jack is full of shit, dumps him, marries some rich guy and has all the fun in the world while Jack dies from a mixture Syphilis and Pneumonia.
5. Rose dumps Jack and marries some rich guy who later dies of natural causes. At which point she conveniently meets Jack Dawson again who is now either a famous artist or a homeless person. The two hit it off, get married and life is a party.
6. Jack becomes a famous artist in New York and gets rich beyond his wildest dreams. Life is sparkly and awesome until Caledon recognizes both Jack and Rose at a social event, at which point he guns them both down before shooting himself.
7. Jack becomes a famous artist in New York and gets rich beyond his wildest dreams. Life is sparkly and awesome and remains that way forever. Caledon shoots himself in 1929. Nobody finds out about the diamond and life proceeds to the discovery of the drawing in 1999 at which point old Rose & Jack tell their story aboard Titanic.
I do think Rose is better off without Jack but it would have been kind of sweet in that romantic way if both had survived.
What do you think? Would life have been awesome for Rose & Jack or would it have sucked?