Author Topic: The Hidden Ocean  (Read 7001 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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The Hidden Ocean
« on: September 18, 2007, 10:27:20 am »
Why should marine and nautical references appear in a story about Wyoming? There is a very good reason. Let's examine some of these references and explore why they're there.

The first marine reference appears early in the story. I like the way the screenwriters subtly emphasized it. Jack is introducing himself to Ennis with a handshake and Ennis replies by just saying his first name. Jack calls him on the omission immediately: "Your folks just stop at Ennis?" Ennis looks down as he reluctantly says his last name, "Del Mar" with emphasis on the "DEL." As if he were saying he was FROM the ocean, not of the ocean. Why should Ennis want to hide his last name or distance himself from it? We shall see.

This is a random revelation from the Castro showing.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #1 on: September 18, 2007, 10:54:39 am »
Meditation: Ennis on the beach.

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #2 on: September 18, 2007, 12:58:21 pm »
The second marine reference. I'll give you a visual hint:

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2007, 01:22:54 pm »
I'm sure there are other marine references that I'm passing over. But these are a few that struck me as I was watching the movie on the big screen at the Castro Theater.

On the day that Jack and Ennis come down from the mountain, their communications are strained and misfire as badly as the spark plugs on the old truck Jack drives. Then, they part, and Jack swerves around Ennis who is going off on foot. As Jack zooms by, we see an old truck with a one-horse trailer parked by the road. The truck is a solid aquamarine color and the trailer is dark gray.

Later on, when Jack comes back the next year to apply for a job again there (in vain, it turns out) the truck/trailer are still parked there!

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2007, 01:25:44 pm »
I'm sure there are other marine references that I'm passing over.
And one of them, in the story, is the reference to the doomed submarine, the Thresher. The fact that the sub is named after a prairie harvesting machine shows how tightly Annie Proulx has meshed her metaphors in the story.

Sometimes the metaphors come so thick and heavy that I think I will drown looking up!!

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moremojo

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #5 on: September 18, 2007, 05:46:41 pm »
Just wanted to point out that Ennis's very first name means 'island', with its implication of a surrounding body of water. So the 'del Mar' that Jack prods out of him on that initial meeting might almost be seen to be redundant.

I'm remembering the reference in the story to Jack looking up at the clear blue Wyoming sky on that last tryst and imagining himself drowning in the ocean-like vista above him.

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #6 on: September 19, 2007, 11:40:53 am »
Thanks, Scott...Ennis is like a rock in the midst of an ocean, but when we first meet him he is denying the existence of the ocean. In Ang Lee's Taoist way of looking at the world, the solid and liquid worlds are both opposites and complements.

Here's the quote from the story about the Thresher:

"...the submarine Thresher lost two months earlier with all hands and how it must have been in the last doomed minutes..."

And, BTW, that is an incredible sentence in the story, very Joycean. We could probably discuss that one sentence for a couple weeks!!
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moremojo

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #7 on: September 19, 2007, 11:51:24 am »
One thing I find poignant in that sentence is that here we see two rough-and-tumble youths, "inured to the stoic life", giving and receiving little sympathy in this world, expressing empathy, even concern for these lost men in their last anguished moments. Male homosexual love is but one end of the spectrum encompassing the affectivity and emotion between men. Ennis and Jack are imagining what it might have been like to be those men, and feeling for them, perhaps awakening in their hearts the capacity to feel for each other.

Offline SFEnnisSF

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2007, 02:03:34 pm »
Hmmm, submarines are long, hard, and full of seamen.  :laugh:   Maybe some more Freudian sexual banter between the two boys before gettin' busy.  ;)  :D

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: The Hidden Ocean
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2007, 03:30:30 pm »
"...the submarine Thresher lost two months earlier with all hands and how it must have been in the last doomed minutes..."


I can't help myself, this sentence always reminds me of Jack's comment about the boneless blue at their last trip:

"...but the boneless blue was so deep, said Jack, that he might drown looking up."

This is just an inversion of the sinking submarine: the endless blues sky is just the same as the endless blue sea, only above instead of beneath. And instead of sinking down into the blue of the ocean, it's drowning while looking up.


The sentence about the bonless blue of course leads my thought to the next two sentences:

"...he had drowned in his own blood."

"...blood choking down Jack's throat and nobody to turn him over."


It's all about drowning. Gawd, this is so depressing stuff  :'(. I think it is such a cruel, cruel way to die, unconsious or not.