Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Because Titanic Is More Than Just A Tragedy

I've been plagued by all the romantic possibilities surrounding Titanic, which ought to be just a tragedy, after watching James Cameron's film of the same name (because how can you ever forget Jack?). 

Strangely enough, I've never considered looking into more interpretations of this oceanic disaster until the lesson when we first did a compare & contrast study on Hardy's Convergence of The Twain (which I like very very much) and Mahon's After the Titanic

Since I didn't manage to attempt a comparative essay on these two poems, let me jot down my thoughts here. 

I absolutely adore the way Hardy portraying the tragedy as one of the whole mankind, focusing on the scale, whilst Mahon chose to show the depth of the tragedy by illustrating it as the tragedy of the person. 

Convergence is narrated by an omniscient observer who takes on a slightly critical tone, seeing past the personal sufferings of the people aboard the Titanic the night it sunk, instead, rebuking the Titanic for it being a fruit of humanity's propensity to indulge in excessive luxury and the ultimate display of human vainglory. I liked the thread of a higher power being at work, referred to as the "Spinner of the Years", almost reminiscent of one of my favorite idioms: Man plans & God laughs. I don't feel sorrowful over the Titanic's sad demise by the end of the poem, but rather I am oddly comforted by how the demise was probably preordained and could not have been stopped anyway. 

The collision between the pride of men and the power of nature "jars two hemispheres", so monumental that perhaps it cracked the complacency of the civilized world. This offers a rebuke stronger than Mahon's sympathetic portrayal, maybe a warning to humans "not to be so proud". 

In comparison, After the Titanic seems more personal and much less unique in perspective. 

However, to be frank, I might be biased since I am an ardent supporter of Romanticism and Hardy's poem is right up my alley! A shout-out here to William Wordsworth whom Hardy was inspired by :)

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