The Titanic: The Story Behind the Curtains

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The Titanic: The Story Behind the Curtains essay
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Have you ever met a person who has never ever heard the story of Titanic? Unlikely. And, even if you ask a 10-year-old, they’ll tell you what exactly killed the gigantic ship. However, some survivors of the sinking of the legend would beg to differ. Here’s the story of one of them, and … surprise… it has nothing to do with the iceberg.

Armenian publicist Vaghinak Byurat was 25 years old in the spring of 1912. He described what happened to him during his journey to America by easily the most famous ship in the world in his memoirs.

Quick history quiz: do you remember when the Titanic left the Southampton dock? Did I hear April 10, 1912? Yeah, that’s right.

Now back to the story: in 1912, Vaghinak published some books together with his father, a famous Armenian writer. His task was to take the books to America. He had some health problems, and so he was denied at the consulate at first, but he was persistent and got the papers he needed to enter the US because his father pulled some strings for him. Vaghinak caught the legendary Oriental Express from Istanbul to Le Havre and from there he made it to Southhampton. There, he learned that the nearest ship departing for the New World was the Titanic that everyone was talking about. He was pretty excited about the journey, and so the morning of departure he arrived at the port neatly shaven, smartly dressed with a trendy cap and massive glasses that were popular in the US at that time. The writer met three men with whom he shared cabin 804. They were two Englishmen and a French guy from Alsace named Moren. Because Moren and Vaghinak were around the same age, and Vaghinak could speak excellent French, they quickly became friends. They would hang out at the deck, the onboard saloon, bar, and the library. None of them, as well the other passengers, could possibly imagine what would happen to the “unsinkable” ship just days later. They went to bed rather late on April 14, just like on their other Titanic nights. Shortly after midnight, something that sounded like a big explosion woke everyone up. “Bam”, and the nightlights went out, and the Englishmen fell off their bunks because of a strong push. One of them damaged his head, and another one – his arm. The two new friends helped them up, took a few belongings with them, and left the cabin not knowing they would never step back in it. Vaghinak only took his passport and all the cash he had – 43 British pounds. It was clear that something was wrong, yet it was really quiet in the corridor. The young men tried to find out what was going on. No one of the crew wanted to tell anything, but a few minutes later it was impossible to deny the Titanic was going underwater. Vaghinak noticed the sailors were getting the lifeboats out and commanded they were only for women and kids. Some men tried to sneak in anyway, but gunshots that were heard here and there prevented them from doing so. Vaghinak and Moren looked at each other understanding they had two choices: stay on the sinking ship and say goodbye to the futures they were so willing to have or at least try to save themselves jumping in the water. Both of them wanted to live and both of them knew they could swim well, so the choice was obvious. Moren managed to get them two life-buoys. Vaghinak put his passport and money in a little bag and tied it around his neck. The Titanic’s head was already underwater by that time. Once the lifeboats were somewhat away from it, friends jumped off the not so unsinkable ship and into the ocean. It must have taken them real courage: imagine you are in the middle of the high sea on a sinking ship and you know no one will save you straight away. A lot of people in this situation wouldn’t have dared to take it to the open water.

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So, Vaghinak and Moren jumped and got instantly separated by a sudden wave. It only made things worse, because braving this catastrophe with a friend was one thing, and doing it alone was way scarier. The water in the North Atlantic that night was just below freezing, at a scary 28 degrees Fahrenheit. The young writer felt his arms and legs go numb, and he was understandably getting weaker and weaker every second. He lost the life-buoy and now his only hope for survival was a lifeboat. He was about to swoon and it wasn’t getting any warmer in the water when he bumped into something. That was a life-boat! But if you’re hoping for a happy end at this point – I must disappoint you. The boat was so overcrowded they pushed the young man with a paddle when he tried to stick to the boat. He begged for help but they refused to show mercy. Their logic was simple: one extra man in that boat could have made it sink, as well, and everyone in it would have no chance for survival. He had to let go of the boat and what happened after is a miracle.

Vaghinak woke up perfectly alive on board another ship. That ship was Carpathia, and it was en route to New York with lucky survivors on board. The writer had a terrible headache and he saw double, but what mattered most is that he escaped from the freezing ocean! How did he do it? He couldn’t remember back then. The next evening, the ship made it to New York. Without his passport and money, he must have lost at some point during his rescue, Vaghinak was taken to the hospital. You could tell he needed treatment after spending all that time in the freezing water and the shock he went through. 12 days later, a woman came into the room and all she could say through tears was “Oh my dear boy!”. She turned out to be the person who saved Vaghinak. Missis Astor, that was her name, was in her fifties, and she told the young man the life-boat he tried to get into didn’t actually leave without him. Missis Astor told the sailors in it the young man was her son, and she wouldn’t let them go without him since she had already lost her husband on the Titanic. It turned out she kept Vaghinak’s passport and money and she invited him to visit her when he’d feel better. After he had recovered, the writer was reunited with his family in Boston. He even received all the books he planned to sell in America as they were traveling on a different ship.

Vaghinak lived a long and happy life and, as a great storyteller, he shared what happened to him many times. Interestingly, he has never mentioned an iceberg hitting the Titanic and always spoke about an explosion. If what he said was true, something must have caused that huge explosion. It could have been the fire, and quite a lot of people actually believe the theory saying that coal was burning in the ship’s hull. That fire started long before the ship’s departure, and there was simply no way to put it out. Titanic must have left with the fire still ongoing, and the flames weakened the hull so much it couldn’t survive the meeting with an iceberg. Supporters of this theory use pictures of the Titanic leaving the docks and the port for evidence and they point to a huge dark mark on the hull. Even if that’s true, though, it’s still not obvious the fire had lead to an explosion. And, supporters of this theory don’t deny there was an iceberg.

Another theory that could explain the explosion Vaghinak has mentioned says that there was a German U-boat involved in the sinking of the Titanic. The Armenian writer was, in fact, not the only survivor who mentioned they heard explosion sounds coming from somewhere deep in the bowels of the ship. And, they also claimed they had seen a searchlight coming from some ship shortly after the Titanic had sunk. It wasn’t a vessel hurrying to the rescue, so it could have actually been a submarine that surfaced to see what it had done to the legendary ship. This theory is highly unlikely to be true, though, for several reasons. First of all, as you know, the Titanic sank in 1912, and World War I started in 1914. No country in the world would dare to kill thousands of people and provoke other countries in times of peace. Second of all, a U-boat from Europe couldn’t have gone so far in those times, and it couldn’t have been stationed in that region either. It simply wouldn’t have survived there for a long time. The torpedoes back then were not as powerful as they are today. Finally, hitting the target moving rather quickly at night time is still a challenge for submariners even today, and it was basically impossible in 1912.

It’s hard to tell what could have made a man who survived such a tragedy remember things that did or didn’t happen. Let’s hope that in the future scientists will be able to explain all the mysteries that have to do with Titanic.

Do you believe an explosion might have killed the Titanic, and there was no iceberg at all? Let me know down in the comments! If you learned something new today, then give this video a like and share it with a friend. But – hey! – don’t go anywhere just yet! We have over 2,000 cool videos for you to check out. All you have to do is pick the left or right video, click on it, and enjoy it! Stay on the Bright Side of life!

This essay is graded:
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Expert Review
The essay recounts a survivor's account of the Titanic's sinking and explores theories about the cause of the disaster. It effectively engages the reader with an intriguing narrative style and examines multiple theories, including the possibility of an explosion rather than an iceberg as the cause of the ship's demise. The inclusion of survivor Vaghinak Byurat's experience adds a personal touch. The essay presents the theories but could benefit from deeper analysis and critical evaluation of the evidence supporting or refuting them. The writing style is engaging, but transitions between different ideas could be smoother for better coherence.
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What can be improved
Critical Analysis: Provide a more thorough analysis of the theories presented, evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of each and discussing any existing evidence. Coherence: Improve the flow by using transitions between different points and theories to enhance overall clarity. Connection to Survivor Account: Strengthen the connection between Vaghinak Byurat's account and the theories discussed, explaining how his perspective supports or contrasts the theories. Conclusion: Summarize the main points and theories discussed and offer insights into the broader implications of these theories for our understanding of the Titanic's sinking.
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The Titanic: The Story Behind the Curtains essay

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