By Walter Lord
The nonfiction novel, "A Night To Remember" by Walter Lord is about the well known disaster of the luxury cruise ship, the "Titanic". This story takes place on the ship and on its many decks while sailing along the Atlantic Ocean. Walter Lord wrote this book in 1955, but the famous collision occurred on April 14, 1912 at 11:40 P.M. In this novel the author, Walter Lord wants to show what happened at every moment on the colossal cruse liner. The novel does not only have one main character, but rather all characters hold the same importance in the story.
It was on April 14, 1912, at 2:00 P.M., when the Titanic left Queenstown for New York on her Maiden Voyage carrying 1316 passengers and 891 crew members. In the beginning, all was calm cruising along the Atlantic at 221/2 knots and the ocean looked like glass. At one point, the watchman in the crows nest accounts for seeing an iceberg, but since the ship was unsinkable, he felt that there was no need to sound an alarm. Some passengers were playing cards, while others were looking out at the night sky or listening to the band play. Other passengers appeared to have retired for the night. At around 11:40 that night some, people heard a grinding noise that seemed to be coming from the inside of the ship. All but a few cared about it - if they even heard it. The ship's reputation would hold up to some grinding noise any day. After a while the word got around that they had stuck an iceberg. Surprisingly no one cared and everyone continued with what they had been doing. It was known that the captain of the Titanic could, in the event of an emergency, hit an electric button and many air-tight doors would seal off special rooms. This could keep the ship afloat even if it had a hole in its double reinforced hull.
As word soon spread that the collision was a lot worse than had been anticipated, the captain and the crew members went to check the damage. It was soon determined that the blow had caused a two foot gash in the side of boiler room number 5 and that boat would have to be evacuated.
The Titanic only had enough row boats for a fraction of the passengers, so the only likely thing to do was to have the women and children go first. If there was any other room left (which there couldn't be) the men could go leave. The calls came from all around shouting "Women and children on the emergency row boats." That really startled the people on the ship. They wanted to know why they had to go on the emergency boats if the ship was unsinkable. But if they had to... they would. People went back into their rooms and took things that were most valuable to them. One person took a Bible that was given to him by his brother, but almost all of the people (being of the upper class) took jewelry and money.
At 12:15 A.M. the next day, the first wireless call for help was made. The water was getting higher and higher. The departing said their final good-byes. Soon the Titanic would be under the great Atlantic Ocean, so the crew would have to act fast. Some men wanted to remain aboard and were ready to go down with the ship.
As the ship started to take on more and more water, faster and faster, some people panicked and jumped over the edge thinking that they could swim for their lives. The water was much too cold and they died. The ship was now on such a tilt that it was no longer easy to stand. People were tumbling left and right. People were also going crazy because they either saw their spouse or friend drown in front of them.
As the Titanic was in its final stages of being above the sea, some accounted that the huge ship looked like a gigantic jagged rock sticking out of the water.
No one could save the Titanic now and the only hope was to save the people who had gotten off the ship. Fortunately another boat, the Carpathia, was nearby and was able to save the survivors in the lifeboats.
Back home Newspapers printed that all were saved from the massive collision. This was far from the truth as there were only 705 survivors. The sinking of the Titanic was one of the worst tragedies in the history of cruise ships.