|“||A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets.||”|
|— Rose DeWitt Bukater|
Rose was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1895 to Ruth DeWitt Bukater and an Mr. DeWitt Bukater. She was born into a wealthy family. Not much is known about her father, other than the fact that he died while she was still young. According to Ruth, this left the DeWitt Bukater family with nothing but "a legacy of bad debts hidden by a good name." In her teen years, Rose is being forced into a marriage with Caledon Hockley, despite her dislike for him, in order to maintain the family's luxurious life and high social status.
They are to be married when the RMS Titanic reaches New York City. Having being raised by a upper-class family, she was a skilled dancer, able to dance alongside Jack and other third-class inmates and was also able to stand on her toes for several seconds to the surprise of her spectators. In contrary to her upbringing, she was a binge drinker, drinking beer fast enough to shock Jack. Rose was also able to break a man's nose with a single punch and she easily shoved another man against the wall to force him to "take [her] down". These feats indicate that Rose has tremendous physical strength. She wasn't able to fight off a man drowning her to stay afloat although her strength was hindered in the cold water. She could also wield an axe with some potency, able to slice Jack's handcuffs in two without harming him despite having missed her desired practise target seconds earlier.
Rose also had some skill with swimming, though she needed Jack and a lifebelt's assistance to reach a door frame. She was rather fearless, jumping back on to the Titanic to be with Jack despite knowing the dangers of doing so and venture in to a flooded E-deck to locate the former. She could also hide when desiring too, preventing Cal from finding her on the Carpathia.
Personality and Traits
It’s pretty easy to make the case that Rose isn’t really in control. After all, the movie is about an enormous ship crashing into an iceberg -- as Rose wasn’t the one driving the boat, it’s not too much of a stretch to say that the most life-changing event she goes through was completely out of her control. Even before the iceberg hits, a substantial amount of the film is about the pressure Rose is under -- as a result of social class, poor finances and the expectations placed on women -- and Rose’s own sense that she is drifting through life with no real control is very firmly established.
But what’s really interesting about Titanic is that in many ways, it is about a young woman trying to take control of her own life. Rose starts the movie as Rose DeWitt Bukater, an aristocratic young woman who must marry a man she doesn’t love to regain the family fortunes. Rose finds the pressures of upper-class life stifling to the extent that she tries to kill herself to escape them -- but then she meets Jack Dawson, convinces her that she has something left to live for.
As their relationship progresses, she starts to steer her life in a direction she’s more comfortable with -- slowing leaving her society ways behind, becoming more sexually forward, and ultimately throwing off convention for the sake of love. When this is taken away from her, she doesn’t give up and decides to turn her back on her former life, walking away from everything she’s ever known. She starts her story as someone who’s forced into a life she does not want, but by the end of it, she turns her back on all the restrictions that were placed on her and makes a life of her own choosing.
Rose’s hobbies are actually pretty well-established. She’s very unconventional for a woman in 1912, eschewing most of the popular pastimes for young ladies (such as dancing, singing and swooning on chaises longues) in favour of collecting art and reading Freudian theory. She appears to have formed her interests and tastes on her own, too. She prefers Monet and Picasso to more conventional painters -- a preference that her fiancé and family frequently dismiss.
Her goals and beliefs are also very well-established. Obviously, once the iceberg hits Rose’s biggest goal is not to drown, but even before that we see that she’s started working towards taking control of her own life in whatever way she can. She’s also established as a young woman who believes the social conventions forced upon her are unfair, and who values her independence more than physical comfort, family disapproval and -- in extreme cases -- her own life.
We don’t see a lot of Rose’s skills, but for the most part, her character is largely consistent. She’s intelligent, brave, passionate, fiercely determined and very independent. Her outlook on life changes wildly throughout the movie -- she goes from wanting to kill herself to wanting to run away with her lover and start a new life together in a very short space of time -- but as her reasons for this are pretty well-established.
A substantial amount of Rose’s decisions are influenced by her love life. So much of what she does can be traced back to the fact that she fancies Jack rotten: she sneaks off down to third-class with him, decides to leave her horrible fiancé for him, and ultimately decides to turn her back on her social class because of what he taught her. However, this all takes on a slightly different light when you consider exactly what Jack meant to her. Jack wasn’t just a boyfriend -- to Rose, he was also a way out. It’s made very clear at the beginning of the film that Rose hates her upper-class life: she hates the restrictions placed upon her, she hates the lack of control she has, but most of all she hates her horrible fiancé.
She hated her life to the extent that she was prepared to kill herself to escape it -- and then she met Jack, who offered her another kind of escape. She sees that his life is free of the restrictions and pressures she so despises, and after some dithering on her part, she realizes that by leaving the ship with him, she can leave all of that behind. When the iceberg hits, Jack dies but Rose is saved, but instead of revealing herself to her family and fiancé she takes Jack’s last name and sets out to make a new life for herself.
Rose does develop over the course of the story. She starts out depressed, apathetic and constantly looking for small ways to lash out at people, but as the film goes on she finds joy in life, becomes more adventurous and goes out of her way to become more independent.
Rose doesn’t really have much of a weakness. It’s true she can be a little catty, but more often than not this is used to portray either her unhappiness or just who ‘feisty’ she can be. She does some pretty daft things -– like voluntarily going back onto the sinking ship to look for Jack -- but this only makes her more sympathetic, as it’s used to portray the depth of her feelings for him. What really holds Rose back are external pressures more than anything else —- all the decisions she make that hamper her progress through the story can be directly traced back to the stifling social conventions placed upon her. Even her suicide attempt is chalked up to this, rather than any mental-health issues that she might have to address.
Rose is actually a really interesting character to look at in terms of gender stereotypes. Unlike many other fictional characters, gender stereotypes are directly shown to have a negative influence on Rose within the movie. The audience is left under no illusions that expectations of female behaviour are what’s keeping her quiet, what’s forcing her into an unhappy marriage and what ultimately drives her to attempt suicide. When Rose finally throws off these stereotypes she’s much happier for it, and it’s all portrayed as a very positive development -- even the gross stuff like gobbing over the side of the ship is played as a fun, silly little moment.
Rose doesn’t really relate to that many other female characters. She’s often shown surrounded by them but this is more often used to illustrate Rose’s isolation, as she very rarely does anything more than sit there silently and look distraught. She’s shown to remember a few female characters fondly -- such as the unconventional Margaret Brown -- but we don’t actually see them interact much. Rose’s most interesting relationship by far is the one she shares with her mother. Rose’s mother is a very cold woman, concerned mainly with the state of her family’s finances. She is the source of much of the social pressure Rose ends up rebelling against. She won’t let Rose smoke, socialise with people she disapproves of, or attend university. She arranges the match with Cal. She forces the standards of an upper-class Edwardian lady onto Rose, without caring how it will affect her, and seems genuinely shocked that Rose might resent her for this. As far as Rose’s mother is concerned, keeping up appearances is the most important thing, and this is the source of all the antagonism between them, which has clearly been building up for quite some time. Ultimately, it’s what drives Rose to turn her back on her mother completely, allowing her mother to believe that she died on the Titanic -- and that her own actions drove Rose to reject her chance at salvation.
A significant part of this is due to the fact that even though Titanic is a love story, Rose’s love life is not all that makes up her character. She’s given goals, beliefs and hobbies outside of making out with Jack, her status as a love interest doesn’t stop her from growing as a character or influencing the plot, and her story doesn’t stop when her relationship is over.
Rose has fair skin, blue eyes, long red hair, full lashes, full pink lips, and perfect eyebrows. She also has a slim, curvaceous figure and a well-endowed chest.
Prior to Going Back to Titanic
When asked if she knows the whereabouts of the necklace, Rose recalls her memories aboard the Titanic, revealing that she is Rose DeWitt Bukater, a passenger believed to have died in the sinking.
Life on Titanic
The gleaming superstructure of the majestic Titanic stood towering before the thousands of people in the swarming crowd. Beyond its white and shiny railing, its huge four buff-colored funnels stood like great pillars against the ever-blue sky, acting as symbols to represent the greatness of the steamer. The crewmen on the decks looked like tiny ants to the crowd below, dwarfed completely by the awesome scale of the luxury liner. A fancy white Renault followed by a silver-gray Daimler–Bene were currently navigating through the crowd, honking repeatedly so people would clear a path for them. When they finally came to a halt, the driver of the white Renault hurriedly got out and opened the door. A young woman of seventeen stepped out. She was dressed in a stunning white and purple dress. Her beautiful, curly red hair was pinned back in a low bun, and hidden completely underneath a splendid feather hat. Her emerald green eyes studied the ship with cool appraisal. This regal, first-class woman was called Rose Dewitt Bukater. A man who looked to be in his early thirties climbed out behind her. He was her fiancé, Caledon Hockley. The heir to the Hockley Steel Corporations in Philadelphia. Despite being extremely handsome and wealthy, Rose knew him to be extremely arrogant. "I don't see what all the fuss is about," Rose said coolly, unable to bear listening to everyone around her look at the ship in awe. "It doesn't look any bigger than the Mauritania." she finished. Cal laughed. "You can be blasé about some things, Rose, but not about Titanic! It's over a hundred feet longer than the Mauretania, and far more luxurious. It has squash courts, a Parisian café... and even Turkish baths." He turned to help her mother, Ruth, out of the Renault. "Your daughter is far too difficult to impress, Ruth." Cal said. Ruth let out a small, refined laugh, one that Rose knew quite well. It meant she was displeased with her. Then she gazed up at the ship. "So this is the ship they say is unsinkable," she said. "It is unsinkable!" he said with pride. "God himself could not sink this sh–" "Sir!" said one of the White Star Line porters as he scurried over to them. "You'll have to check your baggage through the main terminal. It's around that way, sir." Cal merely reached into his pocket, and brought out a fat wad of bills, which he gave to the porter. "I put my faith in you, good sir. Now, kindly see my man," he gestured to his personal bodyguard, Spicer Lovejoy. The porter stared at the enormous tip he had been given before crying out, "Oh, yes, sir! My pleasure, sir! If I can do anything at all–" "Oh yes," said Lovejoy, leading the poor porter around the car to show him all of their luggage. "All the trunks are in this car here, twelve from there," he pointed to the silver Daimler, "and the safe, to the parlor suite rooms B-52, 54, and 56." Cal checked his pocket watch. "Ladies, we'd better hurry." He led Ruth, Rose, and her personal maid, Trudy Bolt, toward the gangplank, leaving Lovejoy to continue dealing with the porter. As they weaved nearer to the gangplank through the jostling crowd, Rose couldn't help noticing a well-dressed young man was cranking the handle of a new wooden "cinematography" camera that was mounted upon a tripod. She recognized him to be Daniel Marvin, the son of the man who had founded the Biograph Film Studio. He was filming his wife, Mary, in front of the Titanic. She stood very stiffly, and her smile was very self-conscious. "Look up at the ship, darling," Rose heard Daniel call out to his wife. "That's it! You're amazed! You can't believe how big it is! Like a mountain! That's great!" Rose couldn't help but wonder if Daniel Marvin was blinded by his love for his wife to realize that she did not have a single acting fiber in her body, considering the horrible Clara Bow pantomime she was currently doing with her hands raised. Rose frowned as she paused momentarily to watch them. Being a moving film actress had once been one of her own dreams, until she remembered her place in high society. Girls like her didn't become moving film actresses. They were to marry at a young age to wealthy and successful men, and then spend the rest of their lives providing their husbands with sons to take over their businesses when they were older. In her opinion, it was fate worse than death. Rose was brought out of her daze when Cal forcefully grabbed her arm, and dragged her toward the gangplank. As he did, two yelling, excited steerage boys, shoved past him as they ran toward the gangplank. He was bumped again a moment later by a man who looked as though he was their father. "Steady!" he yelled, affronted by the small collisions. "Sorry, squire." the man said before running after his children. "Steerage swine." Cal scoffed as he brushed himself off. "Apparently missed their annual baths." Ruth sneered at the small family. "Honestly, Mr. Hockley. If you were not forever booking everything at the last minute, we could have gone through the terminal rather than running along the dock with the squalid immigrant families." she complained. "All part of my charm, Ruth." he said with a haughty chuckle. "And at any rate, it was your darling daughter's beauty rituals that detained us." "You told me to change." Rose reminded him, using all her willpower to keep her tone tactful. "Well, I couldn't let you wear black on a sailing day, Sweetpea. It's bad luck."
"I felt like black." She replied curtly. Cal chuckled again.
"Here I've pulled every string I could to book us on the grandest ship in history, in the most luxurious suites… and you act as though you're going to your execution."
Rose just smiled politely to him before glancing upwards. The enormous hull of the Titanic seemed to loom over her small being like a great iron wall. Cal motioned them forward, his arm possessively around hers. Rose felt a horrible sense of overwhelming dread wash over her as they went up the gangway to the doors on D-deck.
Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams to the rest of the world, but to Rose, it was the farthest thing from it. This ship was acting as a slave ship to her. It would take her back to America bound and chained to Caledon Hockley. The moment they docked in New York, Cal and her mother would have her on the first train back to Philadelphia for the Engagement Gala, and then they would be married within the next week. To the world around her, Rose was everything a well brought up girl should be: sophisticated, poised, well-mannered… but on the inside, however, she was screaming at the top of her lungs to be freed from the cocoon of her sheltered, limited world...
In the first-class Millionaire Suite, Cal was being escorted around his cabin by one of the room-service stewards. "… and this is your private promenade deck, sir," said the steward, bringing the tour of the rooms to a close as Cal breezed past him without a second glance to look out one of the windows. "Will you be requiring anything?" He shook his head and waved the steward away, sipping at his glass of champagne. What could he possibly require? He had a beautiful fiancé, and was a first-class passenger on board the grandest ship to ever be made by all mankind. Not to mention the richest, at least for the next few hours until John Jacob Astor boarded with his wife Madeline later that day at Cherbourg. He couldn't help but smirk slightly. He felt ever so smug. He intended to spend every moment this afternoon boasting to the other first-class men on being the wealthiest man aboard later on over cigars and a large brandy once lunch was over.
Rose, on the other hand, was in the Sitting Room. With the assistance of Trudy and another maid, she was sorting through the new paintings she had purchased while in France. One of the few, scarce things she was permitted to be able to enjoy as a young, aristocratic young woman, was art. Art was the only thing Rose could use amongst not only her society, but also her mother and Cal, to escape from her confined lifestyle from time-to-time.
"This one?" Trudy asked her, holding up one of the Cubism paintings.
"No… it had a lot of faces on it…" Rose sifted through the packaging they had all been stored in and selected another painting. "This is the one."
"Would you like all of them out, miss?" Trudy asked.
"Yes," she replied. "We need a little color in this room." Lovejoy, who had been ordering the stewards where to put the different pieces of luggage, interrupted them when he saw another one of the stewards enter with a large trunk.
"Put it in there," he directed, pointing down the hall to the bedroom. "In the wardrobe."
"God," Cal said, coming back in from their private deck, "not those finger painting again. They certainly were a waste of money." Rose didn't give him the honor of seeing her anger. Instead, she said to Trudy as she gave her the Cubism painting,
"The difference between Cal's taste in art and mine is that I have some. They're fascinating… like being inside a dream or something. There's truth but no logic."
"What's the artist's name?" Trudy asked her.
"Something Picasso…" Rose replied uncertainly as she selected a painting an artist known as Degas had made of a ballerina.
"Something Picasso," Cal sneered, drinking more of his champagne. "He won't amount to a thing. He won't, trust me," he called after her as she and Trudy walked to her bedroom with the painting of the dancer. Then he added quietly so only Lovejoy would hear him, "At least they were cheap."
Another steward came in, wheeling inside Cal's private safe. "Put that in the wardrobe." Lovejoy instructed.
Rose looked around the bedroom, searching for the perfect place to display the painting. Her eyes came to rest upon the vanity. She gently set it down as Trudy started to unpack her clothes.
"It all smells so brand new," she exclaimed, "like they built it just for us. I mean… just think that tonight, when I crawl between the sheets, I'll be the first!" Rose chuckled slightly. Trudy was the only person she could actually consider her friend. She had always put her friendship with her mistress first, and her duties as her personal attendant second, and so long as she pretended to do vice versa whenever Cal or her mother was around, Rose would always be a good and caring friend to her, just as how Trudy was with her.
"And tonight," a new voice interjected. "When I crawl between the sheets, I'll still be the first." Rose and Trudy turned around. Cal was standing in the doorway, studying Rose with lust in his gaze. Trudy blushed at the innuendo in his words.
"Excuse me, miss," she said, giving a short curtsy before leaving the room. Cal smirked and shut the door behind her. Rose could only blush as she turned toward the mirror, unable to look him in the eye.
"The first and only," he said silkily, walking up to embrace her from behind. If it had been meant to show affection, Rose didn't feel it. She just felt like another possession to him. She was, after all, going to be his trophy wife. "Forever," he whispered in her ear. Rose wanted nothing more than to jerk away from him. The idea of him touching her… of him being inside her… the thought repulsed her. But she didn't let him see her discomfort. Instead, she simply gave him a quick peck on the cheek. She knew what he was like when he was angry, after all…
It was late in the afternoon when the Titanic docked in Cherbourg later that day to collect more passengers. Rose and her mother were just going down for dinner when they saw the new additions to first-class come aboard. Rose almost immediately recognized the Astor's and Mr. Guggenheim with his mistress, but she didn't recognize the next woman. Her mother must have, though, because she noticed that her entire body became rigid, and her smile became even more fake.
A broad-shouldered woman who appeared to be in about her mid-forties, dressed in a red fur coat and an enormous feathered hat, came shuffling through the door, and, to Rose's surprise, she was carrying her own luggage. A porter came running in after her, mumbling his apologies for not collecting her bags once brought aboard.
"Well, I wasn't about to wait all day for you, sonny," said the woman in a Southern accent, setting down her bags. "Here," she said, giving him one of them. "You think you can manage?" She didn't wait for a reply. She just walked on, the porter struggling to catch up with her again while still keeping hold of her luggage. The woman smiled a genuine, friendly smile to her and Ruth as she passed. It wasn't a smile Rose was used to seeing amongst her society.
"Mother," Rose said in a quiet voice once the woman was out of earshot. "Who was that, exactly?" Ruth wrinkled her nose in refined disgust.
"That," her mother said distastefully, " was Mrs. Margaret Brown, though she usually insists on being called Molly." Rose glanced back in the direction she saw Molly Brown go.
"She's appears to be rather... interesting..." Rose said carefully, making sure not to let too much of her wonder and admiration of the guts Molly had shown into her voice. Her mother nodded snippily, thinking Rose meant that her behavior was inappropriate for a lady in first-class.
"Oh yes, that's because she's one of the 'new money' people in society," Ruth explained. "Her husband apparently struck gold out west somewhere. She isn't like those of us that have always had money. She still has bad habits from being born poor." Rose nodded, hiding her disappointment. Her mother would surely do everything in her power to keep her away from people like Molly Brown. Rose thought for sure she could have made friends with her...
That night she peacefully died in her sleep at the age of 100, about a month before her 101st birthday, in 1996. As she died her spirit went to the Titanic wreck and as she walked along it, the Titanic returned to its original splendor and looked like it never sunk. As she entered to the Grand Staircase she was greeted by everyone who perished aboard the Titanic and reunited with her first, and possibly only true love, Jack Dawson. When she did, she turned back into the 17-year-old Rose and they kissed for the first time in 84 years to which everyone clapped as they began their new life in the great beyond.
In the deleted scenes, an alternative ending is shown where the elderly Rose is found by her grandaughter, Brock Lovett and his crew mates as she prepares to throw the Heart of the Ocean overboard. Rose allows Brock to hold the necklace, at his request. After holding the necklace in his hand as he'd always imagined, he laughs with a smile on his face as the necklace is thrown overboard. Brock's crewmates are left annoyed as they stare over the railing.