Today's second chapter of our festive "13 Rats of Halloween" series (see yesterday's introduction here) is not from a Horror Film -- these aren't all going to be from Horror Films, since Rats are creepy enough on their own, whenever and where ever they show. This post this morning though will definitely be of the less antagonistic sort, because we're taking a look at the poor drowning rats on the great ship Titanic. James Cameron's Titanic, that is. As the ship is going down and our heroes Jack Dawson (Leonardo Dicaprio) and Rose Dewitt Bukater (Kate Winslet) are trying to, you know, survive that shit, what do they realize? Follow the rats! The rats will lead them to safety. And they do. (Well, you know... mostly. RIP Jack.)
Cameron actually aligns Jack with rats on a couple of occasions over the film -- when he's having his fancy tuxedo dinner with the rich people up top Rose's mom (the gloriously terrifying Frances Fisher) cuts him down in front of everybody, asking how steerage is treating people, and he replies, "Hardly any rats." And later on as Rose is fighting with her hideous fiancé Cal (Billy Zane in full twirling mustache mode) Cal asks her where she's going, "To be a whore to a gutter rat?" And Kate gets to reply with this rightfully beloved line:
Oh my god you guys, Rose Dewitt Bukater is such an icon. And much like the gutter rats Jack is a survivor, and he turns Rose into one -- we all need a little more rat in us, I'd say. Anyway if you'd like a little etymological history lesson today I recommend checking out this history of the idiom "rats fleeing a sinking ship" -- it's interesting! It goes back over four hundred years, although it's early uses weren't in reference to ships, but rather houses -- apparently rats will leave a house early when they sense that the structure isn't sound. They have a preternatural sense of it. Who knew?