Within 14 amazing lines, David Slavitt took me on a voyage of romance and amazing excitement aboard the historical Titanic, helping me visualize and taste its very glory that must have been felt by all of those who were on board. But then I could feel Slavitt literally throw me overboard into the icy water so that I could also visualize and feel how terribly frightening and horrifying it must have been for every single one of those who died. I felt some confusion and resentment for, what seemed to be portrayed as, death being a joyous and celebratory moment. Why would he do that? I was honestly confused by his reasoning until I read the poem more and more, and also thought through the Titanic's time period and historical details.
I believe that one of Slavitt's purposes was to use irony to send a message to people about a downside, a colder but realistic side, of mankind and life itself. He wanted you to think twice about what life's meaning and purpose is. Slavitt made you wonder about the selfish and materialistic goals that some individuals may consider success and accomplishment to encompass. He made you think about the unfairness of our social classes, our hierarchies, and some of our inequalities. It certainly was of benefit to be wealthy and of a higher class when it came time to choose whom to save on the Titanic and I believe that Slavitt was taking a jab at mankind for this downgrading system. To go down in history is a rare opportunity, and so few of us will be remembered by the world quite so distinctly, but his irony towards some who might actually find it worth this reward, makes you sit and wonder.
I found Slavitts poem to be very Ironic. It glorifies a horrible tragedy. It is as though the speaker wants the Titanic to be celebrated instead of mourned. I understand why after reading and analyzing this poem for so long. I believe Slavitt wants to create a tone of pridefulness. The speaker in Slavitts poem cannot admit that the Titanic was a mistake. I think Slavitt wants to parallel the pride allotted to the Titanic in real life before it sunk. In reality so many people involved with the Titanic overestimated it by not supplying adequate numbers of lifeboats and boasting that, not even God could sink her. Now, through Slavitts poem, a last attempt at holding onto that pride is made; the speaker claiming that everyone dies but only a privileged few get to die aboard the Titanic. Even with such a sad subject matter I personally enjoyed Slavitts poem because of the irony. Through studying this poem, I have learned to better appreciate the subtleties artists like Slavitt express in their poetry.
David R. Slavitt's poem "Titanic" is a poem that initially brought up images of glamour, glitz, rich, power, and prestige. Reading the poem the first time, I visioned all that was taking place on the Titanic. When I read the poem the first time I was somewhat bothered that Slavitt did not portray the loss of human life even if those lives died in a glamorous fashion.
As I continued to read the poem and took tone, irony, and word choice into consideration, I started to get a different perspective of the poem. I realized that Slavitt shed a new light on this tragedy. Slavitt reminds us that people of today would do the same thing if given the chance. He also reminds us that most of us do not mourn as we ought to. Slavtt tries to reassure his readers that dying that night was not such a horriffic death, and most of all, he reminds us that all of us die sooner or later, but "only a few, first-class." The poem portrays happy images of such a tragic day.
After reading this poem quite a few times, I felt a warming of the poem instead of a shock as to who would write such a thing in such a manner. Going deeper into the poem sheds light on something you may not see the first time.
At first reading, this poem seemed rather cold and distant to me. However, eventually I warmed up to it and came to appreciate its images. Slavitt paints a very clear picture of the feelings that one might have on the famed ship as it sinks: yes, I am dying, but I am dying in the lap of luxury, and my descendants will mourn my tragically elegant death. I never really thought that such an accidental death would be enviable, but upon reflection, I realized that the people that died with the Titanic are forever immortalized. They will never be forgotten, just because they happened to meet their inevitable ends on a luxury ship. More likely than not, I will not be remembered by anyone other than friends and relatives after I am gone, and that is a sobering thought. Slavitt made me wonder why those who die in tragedy are so idolized.
After more reflection on the poem, I began to have a distaste for the passengers on the Titanic. They were rich, they were at the top of the social ladder, and they were powerful. Yet, in the end, they died just as the crew did, and all the money in the world couldn't save them from it. That thought brought me to thinking about how death levels the playing field, and that all the posturing and posing in life is essentially meaningless. The passengers on the Titanic may have died with all the luxuries of high society around them, but they still died. I would much rather be alive and poor than rich and dead.