- "Winning that ticket, Rose, was the best thing that ever happened to me... it brought me to you. And I'm thankful for that, Rose. I'm thankful. You must do me this honor. Promise me you'll survive. That you won't give up, no matter what happens, no matter how hopeless. Promise me now, Rose, and never let go of that promise."
—Jack's promise to Rose.
Jack Dawson (1892 - 1912) is one of the main deuteragonists in Titanic and the love interest of Rose DeWitt Bukater.
Tragically, Jack dies at the end of the film from hypothermia, protecting Rose by having her float on a doorframe while he stays in the water; he was only twenty years old.
Jack was born near Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin in 1892. It is unknown who his parents were, but he would remember ice-fishing with his father in Lake Wissota (which in real life would not be formed until after 1912).
His parents died when he was 15 in a fire, which resulted in him having to begin living on his own and later travel the world. At some point, he met Fabrizio De Rossi, in most likely Italy, who would become his best friend, leading them traveling together. While growing up, he went to Monterey and worked on a squid boat, then in the pier of Santa Monica, Los Angeles, where he drew portraits for 10 cents a piece which back then would be a night out, and he also spent some time in Paris.
Apparently, he was sleeping under a bridge the day before he boarded Titanic, most likely with Fabrizio.
Life on Titanic
Jack Dawson boarded the RMS Titanic in on April 10, 1912. He was a poor third-class artist and was able to board the ship only after winning tickets in a lucky game of poker against two Swedish men with tickets and playing with his friend, Fabrizio De Rossi.
In his first days on the Titanic, he was able to enjoy his luxury and spend time with Fabrizio until one day, he found Rose DeWitt Bukater, a beautiful first-class passenger, trying to commit suicide by jumping off the stern because of her repetitive lifestyle and forced engagement to Caledon Hockley.
Jack stopped and saved her from commiting suicide. On her way back, Rose slipped and despite Jack saving her, screamed out in fear. This attracted the attention of the crew members, who came running to help. They found Jack and Rose sprawled out on the floor together and called the Master at Arms which caused Caledon to come to the scene. Cal attempted to have Jack arrested and showed how he looked down on third class passengers by calling Jack "filth", but Rose stopped him and explained that Jack had saved her. Cal then reluctantly invited Jack to dinner with the first-class passengers.The next day, Rose went in search of Jack and found him on the boat deck, where they talked for hours about their personal and private lives, as well as Rose's unattainable dreams. Rose then was able to look at some of the magnificent drawings Jack had drawn and was amazed by them. Later that day, Jack showed Rose how to "properly" spit off of the side of the ship until they were caught by her mother, Ruth who took Rose to get ready for dinner that evening.
Then, Molly Brown a feisty and kind-hearted passenger, took Jack under her wing and lent him a tuxedo originally intended for her son. At dinner, Jack charmed the table with his witty jokes and his fascinating stories about his life.
Before he left, he left a note in Rose's hand saying, "Make it count. Meet me at the clock." Rose met him and joined him at a party the crew was throwing, however, they were secretly being watched by Spicer Lovejoy, Cal's manservant.
The next day, Rose was told by her mother that she could not see Jack again. Jack realised this and borrowed a coat from an unsuspecting passneger to speak to her unnoticed. Rose was against such and left him however her mind was soon changed as Cal's horrible attitude, her mother's selfish acts increased as well as seeing just what she was being turned into when watching a little girl being controlled by her mother. That night, Rose went in search of Jack and they shared their first kiss at the bow of the ship as the sun was slowly setting. Then, Rose told Jack that she wanted to be drawn nude wearing nothing but her beautiful necklace, the Heart of the Ocean. She stripped down in her suite and posed for Jack. When the drawing was done, Rose put it in Cal's safe.
Afterwards, Rose and Jack realized that Spicer Lovejoy was spying on them and, although he chased them down the hall, they tricked him and locked him in the ship's boiler room. They then ventured off into the cargo hold and made love in the backseat of a brand new car, a Renault.
Rose informed Jack that she would go with him after the ship docked, just before feeling the ship lurch. It had hit an iceberg and was slowly going to sink. Rose and Jack went and told Ruth and Cal, although the attempt was only a way to arrest Jack and lock him up.
Soon after, Rose found him in a rapidly flooding room. He was chained to a pole, but she used a fire axe to set him free after unable to find a spare key since Lovejoy had taken the other one. He meets Fabrizio giving him a hug and Tommy Ryan behind a locked gate guarded by two crew members. He picks up a nearby bench and with the help of Fabrizio, Tommy and another passenger, and with Rose clearing the way of the bench so it can ram into the gate and destroying it and the passengers behind it are released. On the boat deck Jack tries to find a lifeboat for him, Rose, Fabrizio and Tommy to get off safely, upon failing to do so he tells Fabrizio and Tommy to go to the other side of the ship to look for lifeboats for all four of them but Tommy and Fabrizio eventully die anyway. He then realizes the Crew are enforcing the Women and Children first. policy for launching the lifeboats.
Cal and Jack forced Rose onto Lifeboat 2 to escape the shipwreck, however, in an effort to avoid losing Jack, Rose jumped back onto the ship and stayed with Jack. Cal became angered and chased them through the ship with a handgun, intending to kill them.
Jack and Rose escaped when Cal ran out of bullets and could not keep up with them. The pair thought they were okay only for the door in the dining hall to be locked, preventing their escape. In minutes, Lovejoy showed up having continued the pursuit in Cal's place. Rose and Jack hid behind tables and the room began to fill with water. Lovejoy searches for them and taunted them. Jack separated from Rose to get behind Lovejoy.
Just as Lovejoy finds Rose, Jack attacked the man from behind, and smashed his head into a glass frame. The two fought and ended up on the floor, only for Lovejoy to kick Jack off. As Lovejoy went for his gun, Jack hit him again and pinned him against a pillar and declared "Compliments from the Chippawa Falls Dawsons" and strikes him in the stomach. He then charged at the wooden door and managed to force it open. The pair ran down a set of stairs, having escaped from Lovejoy.
They then found a young boy crying and waiting for his father to return. In an effort to save him, Jack took the boy, although the father then came and became enraged that Jack was holding his son. He snatched the child and left. Then, two doors burst open because the water's pressure on them was too great, sending even more water onto Jack and Rose, who were already drenched. Their last hope was a terrified steward with a key to a metal gate that could get them back to the top deck, however he dropped the key in the water and ran for his life. Jack retrieved the key and took Rose back up to the top deck. Soon afterwards, all of the passengers were forced to grab onto something, in an effort to avoid falling off of the ship, which had cracked into two huge pieces. The ship sunk soon afterwards. Jack was able to find a door that had come from the ship floating in the water, and let Rose lie on top of it. He could not find anything else to float on and began to freeze in the ice cold water.
Jack told Rose that no matter what happened, he didn't want her to give up hope and that as long as she stayed on the door, she would be all right and live a long and happy life. He died of hypothermia, and his body sank to the ocean floor, making him buried at sea. For unknown reasons, there was no record of Jack's existence though one could assume it was due to him never purchasing the tickets and not getting properly check up when boarding the Titanic. Rose was rescued soon after. It is undetermined what Jack and Rose's fate was, but it is assumed that they were reunited in Heaven (which appeared to them in the form of the Titanic, had it not sunk) years later when Rose, only days from turning 101, was assumed to have died in her sleep.
Skills and Abilities
Jack was a skilled artist, able to draw pictures of various women with promise detail; one of which included Rose; despite his relatively poor background. He essentially made a living off of it. Jack also had skill at poker, able to win Fabrizio and himself tickets on to Titanic.
He was also a strong swimmer, able to assist Rose to a door frame despite the temperature, and didn't need the assistance of a lifebelt to stay afloat. He was also a good liar, able to convince Rose he would survive the sinking, though believed he wasn't as good as Cal.
Jack was also a skilled hand to hand combatant, successfully overpowering Spicer Lovejoy during their fight in the dining hall. He even knocked out a man while both were under water with just a few punches. He wasn't always as confident in his fighting capabilities, wincing when threatened by Sven.
Despite not stealing the Heart of the Ocean, Jack was a good theif, able to steal a coat from a fellow inmate. He was also stealthy, managing to avoid detection from Cal and Ruth when trying to speak to Rose.
He was also a skilled speaker and a likeable man despite his financial situation, able to win over a group of first class passengers with a speech about "making everyday count", and was helped by Molly Brown and acknowledged by Thomas Andrews when saying hello. He also became fast friends with Tommy Ryan. He was also very persuasive, successfully convincing Rose to not commit suicide.