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Brokeback Mountain: Our Community's Common Bond => Brokeback Mountain Open Forum => Topic started by: Rayn on March 31, 2006, 04:26:16 pm

Title: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on March 31, 2006, 04:26:16 pm
The line is cryptic and open to interpretation.  I thought he meant, "Jack, I declare, life is tough and strange."  But then he touches the postcard of the mountain and I thought maybe he meant, "Jack, I swear I'll get you (Jack's ashes) up there like you wanted."  I realize there may be no way to know exactly what he meant, but I'm very interested in hearing what others think about it.

Thanks,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: horo04 on April 01, 2006, 12:38:20 am
I always wondered that line too.  I think he means that he swears he will never forget Jack or maybe he swears he will never pass up a good thing again or not take situations or life for granted?  Hard to say what he meant...best to ask Proulx that question.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 01, 2006, 01:41:12 am
I think he means that he swears he will never forget Jack or maybe he swears he will never pass up a good thing again or not take situations or life for granted? 

Those are possible too.  There are a lot of ways to take that line.  I think Annie would say, "It's up to you to determine what you think he meant."  At least that's the feeling I get from what I've read about and by her lately.   It's more or less open ...   I just wanna hear what others say about it, so hey, thanks man.  Take it easy.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on April 01, 2006, 07:57:48 am
Great question, I don't know how many times I've seen "Jack, I swear..." appear in a discussion where it is used as the justifying conclusion to the argument - me included!  Ok, so everyone is going to have their own version of this and every one of them will have credibility.  Most will want it to be the start of a sentence that ends with the words that mean most to them.  Here are a couple of endings along the lines of regret and revelation:

Jack, I swear...  I won't forget you
Jack, I swear...  I always loved you
Jack, I swear...  I won't make the same mistake again
Jack, I swear...  If you didn't die things would've been different


You could also argue that it was a more about the sadness or lonliness:

Jack, I swear...  You really messed me up good
Jack, I swear...  You didn't have to die to quit me


And then there's a slightly abstracted sense (regarding Alma Jr):

Jack, I swear...  As long as he (Kurt) loves her, then it's ok

For me it is all of these because it is only at this point that Ennis is finally redeemed and accepted his love for Jack.

I'd be interested if people have some more lines or contexts that I haven't thought of yet.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: opinionista on April 01, 2006, 10:57:38 am
I like to think that Ennis meant to say: "Jack, I swear I always loved you and I'm so sorry things weren't they way you expected. I'm sorry I let you down again and again. Jack, I swear, I swear I love you so much and always will".
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Br. Patrick on April 01, 2006, 12:43:05 pm
"Jack, I swear...   I shouldn't a let you out of my sights."

courtesy of Annie Proulx
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: JCinNYC2006 on April 01, 2006, 12:46:16 pm
"Jack, I swear...   I shouldn't a let you out of my sights."

courtesy of Annie Proulx
Oh wow, did she really say that?  Where did you read that?  Very interesting.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Br. Patrick on April 01, 2006, 01:11:33 pm
"Jack, I swear...   I shouldn't a let you out of my sights."

courtesy of Annie Proulx
Oh wow, did she really say that?  Where did you read that?  Very interesting.

It's in the short story, Brokeback Mountain.  Ennis says it to Jack in the motel room.  But, as ever - conflicted, he adds, "Too late then by a long, long while."

The motel scene in the story is my favorite part of Annie's tearjerker.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: JCinNYC2006 on April 01, 2006, 03:54:06 pm
Ohhh I gotcha.  I misread and thought you meant that's what the writer said in an interview.  I forgot that Ennis used that phrase in the motel room.  Thanks.  J
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: BBMGrandma on April 01, 2006, 04:32:16 pm
Ahhhh....that emotionally thought provoking sigh....."Jack....I swear....."  To me it's ALWAYS meant......"Jack....I swear....I will always love you and I'd do things SO much more differently....given ONE more chance with you....."    I can't seem to interpret that phrase in any other context.  It haunts me all the time though.  I find myself repeating it over and over again.  Doing the dishes....vacuuming....driving!!  It TRY picturing different endings....but I always come back to regrets....and a great epiphany in Ennis' heart and soul. 

".....around that time Jack began to appear in his dreams...."   
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 01, 2006, 11:38:09 pm
Hi All...

Well, the "Jack I swear, I should've never let you out of my sight." said in the motel room is enlightening, but in the book when Ennis says "Jack, I swear.." at the end, Annie also adds word to the effect (not a quote) "....though he never was one to swear, nor did he ever ask Jack to swear anything." and that further adds to the "openness" of the line "Jack, I swear..."   

And of course the book does go beyond the line and on to his dreaming about Jack and the revealing line, "There was some open space between that he believed and what happened, but nothing could be done about that."  And the last line of the book, is that "realist" statement of Ennis's  "And if you can't fix it, you gotta stand it."   It's interesting that the movie didn't go on to Ennis dreaming etc, but uses the "Jack, I swear..." as the end.  It does really leave the ending open and more mysterious.   Anyway, I'm enjoying what others are saying here.  Thanks!

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: bbm_stitchbuffyfan on April 07, 2006, 09:06:23 am
My personal interpretation of the line:

"Jack, I swear... [I will always love you, and I will never forget you.]"

I love how ambiguous that line is; also, that one line is a complete gut-wrencher.

www.jlodown.com (http://www.jlodown.com)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Fla_Tim on April 08, 2006, 09:01:36 am
It's interesting that the movie didn't go on to Ennis dreaming etc, but uses the "Jack, I swear..." as the end. 

Rayn

The dreams and final scene were nice and important bookends to the story, I thought the dreams in the story placed it morefully in the context of Ennis's mind. It reminded me of the opening to Out Of Africa where Karen Blixen is dreaming at night of the farm and life she had had in Africa.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Impish on April 08, 2006, 07:06:56 pm

Jack, I swear...  You really messed me up good

I've always preferred this sort of take on it: that he wasn't vowing anything, just commenting on how sad he is and how much he misses him.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: opinionista on April 09, 2006, 09:28:01 am
I think when Ennis says Jack, I swear he is expressing his regrets for not allowing himself to be more open and to spend more quality time with Jack when he was alive. What I noticed at that scene, when Ennis is looking at the shirts, was a huge sense of loss in his face, not just because Jack was no longer around but because Ennis had little to remember him for. As Jack said, they spent a few times together in 20 years, and 20 years is a whole life. All Ennis had from the person he loved the most were the shirts and an old postcard of Brokeback Mountain. The real mountain, the real thing, as we can see through the little window at Ennis' trailer, was no longer there, but not because Jack had died but because Ennis himself had killed it. He killed it by spending those 20 years living in fear, keeping Jack away and breaking his heart over and over again.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: silkncense on April 09, 2006, 01:02:24 pm
I agree w/ BBMGrandma  & Opinionista -

The look on Ennis' face clearly shows regret & heartbreak to me.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on April 09, 2006, 04:10:14 pm
The line is cryptic and open to interpretation.  I thought he meant, "Jack, I declare, life is tough and strange."  But then he touches the postcard of the mountain and I thought maybe he meant, "Jack, I swear I'll get you (Jack's ashes) up there like you wanted."  I realize there may be no way to know exactly what he meant, but I'm very interested in hearing what others think about it.

Thanks,
Rayn

I love the ambiguity--there's that word that gets used so often about this movie!--of Ennis not completing the thought aloud. As a romantic at heart, I want to think the completion is, "Jack, I swear, I will always love you." However, I'm finding myself thinking more likely it's something like, "Jack, I swear, I will never forget Brokeback Mountain," in this case the mountain really meaning their relationship, because what they had was all founded on Brokeback Mountain.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on April 09, 2006, 05:55:27 pm

Jack, I swear...  You really messed me up good

I've always preferred this sort of take on it: that he wasn't vowing anything, just commenting on how sad he is and how much he misses him.

I agree 100%.  And to me, that's his way of saying he loves him.  It's not a declaration, just like you said - it's a comment on what he's meant to him.  Kind of like that song:  "Love, look what you've done to me..."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on April 09, 2006, 09:48:00 pm
Jack, I swear...  You really messed me up good

I agree 100%.  And to me, that's his way of saying he loves him.  It's not a declaration, just like you said - it's a comment on what he's meant to him.  Kind of like that song:  "Love, look what you've done to me..."

This was always my favourite too.  It's an acknowledgement, but not an admition, and just says Ennis all over for me.  But even in this tiny crack of this half spoken sentence, there is also redemption and I can't help but love Ennis for it, faults and all.  This is why Jack fell so hopelessly in love with him and was just as trapped as Ennis was.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 10, 2006, 01:24:33 am
"But even in this tiny crack of this half spoken sentence, there is also redemption and I can't help but love Ennis for it, faults and all.  This is why Jack fell so hopelessly in love with him and was just as trapped as Ennis was". 

Aussie Chris


Yes, Aussie Chris, I think you've hit the nail on the head... and also Jeff Wrangler and opinionista too.  There is a look of utter loss, but also a glimmer of hope too.  I would so like it if Annie P. wrote a sequel in which Ennis goes on to a happier life, but she said she won't, soooo oh well.

Thanks guys,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 10, 2006, 01:45:46 am
My personal interpretation of the line:
"Jack, I swear... [I will always love you, and I will never forget you.]"

Mine, too. Something open-ended but overflowing with emotion. I don't think Ennis was mentally filling in any specific words after the "I swear" and just not voicing them. I think that his "Jack, I swear" nebulously represents the huge jumble of feelings -- love, grief, regret, affection, sorrow, loneliness, devotion, despair, etc. -- that constantly threaten to overwhelm him at this point.

It's kind of like "Jack, I will always love you" -- except saying "Jack, I swear" is way better, because 1) we have never heard the phrase before, so it doesn't sound the least bit trite and 2) it encompasses more potential meanings than simple love and 3) it draws viewers in, like so many things in this movie, and forces them to figure out for themselves what's going on in Ennis' mind, which makes us more involved and empathetic.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 10, 2006, 01:48:17 am
Oh, and another reason it's better than "Jack, I love you" is because he kind of said that already, albeit indirectly, when asking Alma Jr. if her fiance loved her and then gazing out the window, overwhelmed with emotion, thinking of Jack.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: silkncense on April 10, 2006, 12:30:23 pm
Latjoreme -

That is one of my favorite scenes.  I also think that scene shows that Alma Jr. knows there was someone when she sees that her father is having difficulty speaking.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 11, 2006, 12:47:38 am
I just posted this over on imdb (in a post that got a little long-winded for the I love everything Ennis thread) so I thought I'd re-post here.  Latjoreme (you'll see that we're in agreement once again). :)

"During the chat with Alma Jr. in the trailer. When she replies "yea Daddy, he loves me..." Ennis turns his head and seems to be a million miles away lost in thought. It seems clear to me that he's finally articulated to himself (by asking the question, 'does he love you') the most important thing that should have guided him throughout his relationship with Jack. I more and more convinced that it is this pause coupled with the content of this conversation that leads to the "Jack, I swear..." He's realizing that he never explicitly said "i love you" to Jack, as he should have done. The fact that the sentence is still incomplete is just brilliant... the audience and the ghost of Jack are still left yearning to hear the words come out of Ennis's mouth."

So I definitely think he's saying "I swear I love you" and/or "I swear I would do it all differently if I had the chance."  He's performing a ritual along the lines of a marriage ceremony... He's making a commitment in a formal way (that's how I interpret the rather formal choice of word 'swear')

I also think this is Ennis coming out a bit.  It's taken him 20 years to take back the idea that he isn't gay.  In order to swear himself to Jack he has to admit that he IS in love with a man and that it's real and a part of him.  I think all of this was made crystal clear to him in the Lightning Flat, shirt scene.  This is my favorite line from Mendelsohn's essay on BBM from the NY Review of Books- "Made aware too late of how greatly he was loved, of the extent of his loss, Ennis stands in the tiny windowless space, caressing the shirts and weeping wordlessly." Jack has taught him soooo much about this aspect of love and about regret simultaneously.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: RouxB on April 11, 2006, 12:51:34 am
I agree-it isn't a line, for me, that requires interpretation. I just "feel" the sadness and longing behind it and that's good enough.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 11, 2006, 01:08:22 am
He's realizing that he never explicitly said "i love you" to Jack, as he should have done. The fact that the sentence is still incomplete is just brilliant... the audience and the ghost of Jack are still left yearning to hear the words come out of Ennis's mouth."

So I definitely think he's saying "I swear I love you" and/or "I swear I would do it all differently if I had the chance."  He's performing a ritual along the lines of a marriage ceremony... He's making a commitment in a formal way (that's how I interpret the rather formal choice of word 'swear')

I also think this is Ennis coming out a bit.  It's taken him 20 years to take back the idea that he isn't gay.  In order to swear himself to Jack he has to admit that he IS in love with a man and that it's real and a part of him.

Well put as usual, Amanda! ;) And of course I DO agree with these three excellent points: 1) that the line sounded a bit ritualistic, like a formal commitment, 2) that it suggests Ennis has acknowleded, at least at some level, that he's gay and 3) that the fact that he doesn't actually say "I love you" leaves the viewers wanting more -- as with so many things in this beautifully but torturous film!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on April 11, 2006, 07:08:25 am
I agree, too, with all those points.

And this was my favorite line of the Mendelsohn review/essay, too:

"Made aware too late of how greatly he was loved, of the extent of his loss, Ennis stands in the tiny windowless space, caressing the shirts and weeping wordlessly."

That bolded bit made me start weeping at my desk at work the day I read that essay after having just seen the movie twice.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 11, 2006, 09:51:35 am
Hey there ednbarby,

I know!  I've never had the experience of crying over a film review.  But that sentence totally knocked me out.


ps. Howdy latjoreme! :D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on April 12, 2006, 10:24:45 am
"During the chat with Alma Jr. in the trailer. When she replies "yea Daddy, he loves me..." Ennis turns his head and seems to be a million miles away lost in thought. It seems clear to me that he's finally articulated to himself (by asking the question, 'does he love you') the most important thing that should have guided him throughout his relationship with Jack. I more and more convinced that it is this pause coupled with the content of this conversation that leads to the "Jack, I swear..." He's realizing that he never explicitly said "i love you" to Jack, as he should have done. The fact that the sentence is still incomplete is just brilliant... the audience and the ghost of Jack are still left yearning to hear the words come out of Ennis's mouth."

Believe it or not, although I asserted a tendency towards a "You messed me up good" conclusion, I also agree with what you’re saying here.  As I said in my first post listing a few different interpretations, they were actually all one and the same.  I agree 100% with the significance of the "yeah daddy, he loves me..." scene being the seed of the "Jack, I swear..." conclusion, and that what was unspoken was truly a declaration of love, finally.  The thing is, I still don't think Ennis would have finished the sentence with the words "I love you" even if Jack mysteriously turned up having not really been killed after all.

Please don't take this as me trying to be contrary.  I love your interpretation of these scenes - they bring warmth to my heart when I think of the sadness that is also there.  I also love Ennis (faults and all), and I love him most because of this sequence and that he finally accepts who he is and his love for Jack.  This is also why Jack loved him and couldn't quit him even though Jack wanted/needed so much more.

Peace and love to you all, Chris.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 12, 2006, 12:22:19 pm
Well put, Chris. One of the things I love most about Ennis is the way he feels so strongly about Jack that he manages to at least partly overcome his own fears and shame in order to be with him. He doesn't overcome them as much as we would like, of course. But we can see how much of a struggle it is for him, and I find it really moving that he is able to love Jack as intensely as he does, even if he can't fully act upon it. :-\
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 12, 2006, 10:47:05 pm
" 'Jack I swear...' he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind."- from the book.

From Proulx's description here, I take it to mean that neither Jack nor Ennis really needed to hear the word "I love you" in order to know that was true.  They could read each other like books as soulmates.  So, maybe he would still have had trouble saying "I love you" to Jack if he magically came back to life.  At least we know he *felt* that by the end.

But,  I'm sure he really, really meant the part about "I swear I'd do it all differently if I had the chance."  I truly believe if he had one more chance (after all he's learned) that he would try to live with Jack and make a serious commitment to him.  I still feel like that idea is at the heart of the little "ceremony" of "swearing" and caressing his little shrine to Jack (tidying it up by buttoning the shirt... straightening the postcard).  I feel like as much as he'll be consumed by his memories of Jack he'll be consumed by regret (and I'm sure he'd dearly love to be able to un-do that).

On one hand, the love and the time Jack and Ennis DID have together make them extraordinarily lucky.  And, Ennis remains lucky having had such an exciting, deep and passionate love in his life.  Lots of people never experience that kind of romance.  I'm sure the memories that he does have of Jack will comfort him.

On the other hand...
His earlier statement (and the very last line of the book)- "If you can't fix it you've got to stand it."  Is really like a life sentence at this point.  He really can't fix it and he will have to live with the weight of his regret.  All those years of living apart were meant (I think in Ennis's head for sure) to be a form of protection, and now he realizes how badly he miscalculated and how much time he lost with Jack as a result.
 :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 13, 2006, 10:21:50 am
"If you can't fix it you've got to stand it."  Is really like a life sentence at this point.  He really can't fix it and he will have to live with the weight of his regret.

Another good point, Amanda! And yet another instance of the resonance of that line (another one being when he breaks down at the lake and says "I can't stand it no more, Jack.") It's amazing how many lines in the movie are echo edlater, either explictly or implicity. As when someone -- and I'm so sorry I can never remember names to credit! -- mentioned that "I think my dad was right," in reference to rodeo f'ups, also summarized Ennis' feelings toward his dad's view of homosexuals.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 13, 2006, 11:08:04 am
"I think that his "Jack, I swear" nebulously represents the huge jumble of feelings -- love, grief, regret, affection, sorrow, loneliness, devotion, despair, etc. -- that constantly threaten to overwhelm him at this point."

latjoreme

Yes, I think this gets at Ennis, how he is inside himself, often nearly overhelmed by emotions that he doesn't always understand and sometimes cannot control and which he often fears giving into. The "jumble of feelings" at the moment of "Jack, I swear..." is a good possible explanation for why he can't complete the sentence.  We all know Ennis loves Jack, more than anyone in his life and will never forget him, but here, in what latjoreme says, is what I think, a real in-sight into Ennis's heart and mind.  All of what everyone has imagined the line means only adds to our understanding, but this is really the heart of the matter, for me anyway.  Thanks, latjoreme!  And thanks to all who are contributing here to what is, though I didn't know it would be, a hot topic! 

Cheers...
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 13, 2006, 09:53:18 pm
Very well put Rayn!  latjoreme, that is a really nice way to explain the complexity of the "jumble" of emotions matched up with the incomplete sentence.  Yes, how could he complete the sentence with just one of those words?  The blank at the end of the sentence can be filled with any one of those words you listed.

Also, the "I think my Dad was right" observation is just heartbreaking.  :-\ :'( :(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: texman on April 13, 2006, 10:19:47 pm
These are all good answers to the question posed. Here is my take based on how I interpreted the character of Ennis.

Jack... I swear if only things had been different

I think Ennis finally realizes that his life turned out the way it did due to his own choices in life and not the fact that he simply fell into these situations.  In the "Let Me Be" scene he accuses Jack of being the cause as to why he turned out the way he has. I think now he finally realizes that he is the own root cause of the way his life turned out and there is no changing it now. After watching this scene again, I get another impression that Ennis really is blaming Jack for starting the relationship in the first place and if it hadn't been for Jack, they wouldn't have seen each other ever again and none of these problems would have occured.

Jack...I swear if only you were still here

I think that while he is buttoning the shirt he is thinking about the memories of the times that he and Jack had and reflecting on those moments and realizing the emotional desolation of the future.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Jack_ME on April 14, 2006, 11:18:57 am



"Jack, I swear...........(I loved you too)"


Finding the shirts Jack kept 20 years, taking possesion of the shirts, enshrining the shirts, moving Jack's shirt inside his own on the hanger to show that Jack is inside his heart and soul, touching the shirts.....touching the postcard image of Brokeback Mountain.....and through all that process having realized the great depth of Jack's love for him during all those 20 years is prelude to his spoken and unspoken words:

"Jack, I swear...........(I loved you too...............just as you loved me)"

Jack in Maine


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Jack_ME on April 14, 2006, 11:42:00 am
snip
You could also argue that it was more about the sadness or lonliness:

snip
And then there's a slightly abstracted sense (regarding Alma Jr):

Jack, I swear...  As long as he (Kurt) loves her, then it's ok

snip



AussieChris:

A bit along the lines of these two statements, a good friend of mine with whom I saw the film, said immediately afterwards, that Ennis has, in audibly swearing to Jack, internally decided to "join life again" and to be happy.....by going to his daughter's wedding to start, and will take happiness in an active involvement with his daughter's lives.

I got the sense of what my friend was saying...and it gave me a teeny teeny sliver of emotional hope......although I felt that idea was just a bit too optimistic.

It could be though, if one wants to believe that Ennis (who was also only age 40) could go on to find happiness and peace in his life wherever he could and to live in some bittersweet happiness cherishing  the memory of his friend and lover of 20 years.

The story and their relationship is tragic and it's sad, becasue Jack is killed/died, and because the two never had the full day-in day-out partnership that Jack wanted, but even fully realized relationships with mutually loving partners eventually do suffer the loss of one partner thruogh death, and these loving partners do go on with their lives, keeping their memories, loving their loved ones, but living in their own present and having more morments of peace and happiness with others, and more moments of love. Some partners marry again, with no slur on the deceased, others never again marry, simply accepting that they have had their great love partnership in life and take pleasure in other aspects of life.

So, as I say, my friend's view on Ennis's last scenes and words, does offer a sliver of emotional hope for a future NOT filled only with sadness, regret, and loneliness for Ennis.

I have my own take on that final scene as expressed above in a separate post, but this view of my friend's as I understood his meaning is also possible.

Jack in Maine


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on April 14, 2006, 06:58:01 pm
I have my own take on that final scene as expressed above in a separate post, but this view of my friend's as I understood his meaning is also possible.

That's right Jack, and as far as I'm concerned they're all 100% correct.  Just like rayn has put (much better than I did) in his "jumble of feelings" description.  The hope, dispair, love, and even resentment are all emcompassed in that one moment and unfinished sentence.  Like you're friend's "join life again" point, everyone's take on it builds on my understanding like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.  I don't see any of these interpretations as mutually exclusive, they're all correct. :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 15, 2006, 12:16:49 pm
So, as I say, my friend's view on Ennis's last scenes and words, does offer a sliver of emotional hope for a future NOT filled only with sadness, regret, and loneliness for Ennis.
Jack in Maine [/color]


Oh, yes, Jack and Chris... There is hope for Ennis.  I don't know about other people, but I for one see that the strength of Jack's love for Ennis and Ennis' final realization of the depth of his own love for Jack has, like nothing else in life could, "saved" Ennis. 

He is able to see what is truly important ... the loved ones around him are; his daughter, for starters is,  because Ennis will start over, has no choice but to start over, but with the knowledge of what love really is and how important it is not to stifle it in life.   His first step toward a new beginning is his decision to attend "Junior's" wedding.   

I don't think anything else could have "saved" Ennis but the real love that the two men continued to share all those years.  Although Jack never had what he wanted exactly, he still had as much of Ennis as Ennis could give and, in the end, what Jack gave Ennis was a true gift.  I hate that Jack died; I wish he could've convinced Ennis to move beyond his fear and doubt and live with him, but that's not what happened and once Jack died, the chances for that died too, but it's only in death and loss that hope for Ennis is born.  He is finally able to move past his fear, meet Jack's folks, move beyond his doubt and see how genuine Jack's love was. 

"In my end is my beginning." wrote T. S. Eliot in The Four Quartets; the end of Brokeback Mountain is really a beginning because Ennis starts moving toward being more loving. He begins to let others love him more too.   In that, there is great hope.

Peace,
Rayn


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: hermitdave on April 15, 2006, 12:35:54 pm
Thank You Rayn. I have had a lot of difficulty dealing with the ending. Every time I visualize Ennis in the final scene I start to cry. Ive had a hard time with wondering what happened to Ennis. I know he is fictional but in my heart and mind he is very real.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 15, 2006, 04:22:14 pm
I came out of the movie on the second or third time, looked around at people on the sidewalk, and thought, the world I was just a part of feels more real to me than this one!

I agree that there's an element in "I swear" of promising that he's going to change his ways, as he did with Alma Jr.'s wedding. I felt that, too. But I'm afraid I have a hard time seeing the ending as very upbeat, or visualizing a promising future for Ennis. :'( :'( :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: texman on April 15, 2006, 06:08:17 pm
Being from Texas, you can hear people out on the ranches and in small towns using the term, "I swear.....". In fact I heard it today. I immediately asked the guy who said it what he meant by that. He said it after his son bought a second pickup truckhe didn't need when he actually could have used the money for something else.

 He responded that "I swear.." is just a actual feeling rather than a meaning. Kinda like a feeling that you don't have control over the situation. But it could be used to describe a who slew of various feelings and situations that you have no control over.

 So in this case the use of "I swear" is used to describe how Ennis feels rather than what he is thinking. So "I swear" means just that and that alone.  There isn't any more.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 16, 2006, 11:29:02 am
Oh, yes, Jack and Chris... There is hope for Ennis.  I don't know about other people, but I for one see that the strength of Jack's love for Ennis and Ennis' final realization of the depth of his own love for Jack has, like nothing else in life could, "saved" Ennis. 

He is able to see what is truly important ... the loved ones around him are; his daughter, for starters is,  because Ennis will start over, has no choice but to start over, but with the knowledge of what love really is and how important it is not to stifle it in life.   His first step toward a new beginning is his decision to attend "Junior's" wedding.   

I don't think anything else could have "saved" Ennis but the real love that the two men continued to share all those years.  Although Jack never had what he wanted exactly, he still had as much of Ennis as Ennis could give and, in the end, what Jack gave Ennis was a true gift.  

Hey Rayn, that was a really lovely post.  It's a nice interpretation.


It's occurred to me recently (in addition to all the comments, possiblities and interpretations we've already talked about)... that this could be a symmetrical moment to Jack's amazing admission.
"Sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."

So, Ennis's last moment here could be something like, "Jack, I swear... sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."

It's clear that he feels this all the time.  But, it also echos the book since the last line of the book is "If you can't fix it you have to stand it."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on April 16, 2006, 12:43:07 pm
So, Ennis's last moment here could be something like, "Jack, I swear... sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."

Oh wow, I'm gobs-macked, that's just perfect!  The best one yet!  Err, IMHO!

This thread is just too cute.  Just when I thought there couldn't be any more gold in thar hills, along comes a gem!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 16, 2006, 01:21:05 pm
Awwww, thanks Aussie Chris.   :D


I thought that was a nice, neat and tidy idea for filling in the blank.  Yeah, the possibilities are endless... and usually very interesting and heartbreaking.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 21, 2006, 08:56:14 am
So in this case the use of "I swear" is used to describe how Ennis feels rather than what he is thinking. So "I swear" means just that and that alone.  There isn't any more.

Yes, if you read my first post to open this topic, you will find that one of my first possible conclusions is that Ennis just meant something like, "Why, I declare!" , a simple but heartfelt exclamation like texman is pointing too, but the fact is, he is speaking directly to Jack...   "Jack, I swear..." and that is not a simple exclamation, it's unusual; and makes people wonder.  So while I understand what you're pointing to texman, I still feel there's more in the "mysterious statement".  It is clear that he is "talking directly to Jack" as if Jack were there which seems to indicate there's more to it. 

But in the end, the line is open to almost any interpretation and so is what lies ahead for Ennis. 

In another thread that asks us to write the future for Ennis, I wrote something like, He gets help, comes out, moves to Denver, meets a guy similar to Jack, falls for him, struggles, dates, the guy falls for Ennis and they end up living together, not happily ever after, because that isn't real life, but he finds a partner to share his life with... and that's the end, as good an end as any.

It's fiction, anything is possible.

Peace,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 21, 2006, 09:38:06 am
But in the end, the line is open to almost any interpretation and so is what lies ahead for Ennis. 

In another thread that asks us to write the future for Ennis, I wrote something like, He gets help, comes out, moves to Denver, meets a guy similar to Jack, falls for him, struggles, dates, the guy falls for Ennis and they end up living together, not happily ever after, because that isn't real life, but he finds a partner to share his life with... and that's the end, as good an end as any.

You bet. It's kind of like the question of what happens after we die; you have to go with the interpretation that either makes the most sense or makes you feel the most comfortable.

Still, the uncertainty is unsettling ...

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on April 21, 2006, 09:58:40 am
I like to think of Ennis attending Junior's wedding and proudly walking her down the aisle to this Kurt who really does love her.  Of looking Kurt in the eye as if to say "If you fuck this up, I'm comin' after you."  And I like to think of him getting Alma aside at some point and in his gruff, Ennis-ish way, saying something like "I'm awful sorry about... everything."  And her understanding on a certain level, especially after she asks Ennis if he's seen Jack lately only to hear from him that he has died.  Maybe even forgiving, since the life she now has with Monroe is a happy one, if not one with the love of her life.  And I like to think of Junior having a son with Kurt - maybe two sons.  And naming one of them after their granddaddy.  And of Ennis teaching them how to ride and getting some measure of joy - as much as is possible for him at this point - out of that.  I have to think of something good coming out of his life, or I'd just be wrecked for the rest of my days for him.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Toast on April 21, 2006, 11:20:54 am
This is a beautiful thread.
and our hope for a better life for Ennis colors our interpretations.
I agree that Ennis has had a lesson in love since Jack died
but there is one thing that really gets to me
In the scenes at his trailer, with jr and alone, he is wearing a coat that is pretty much a carbon copy of his father's coat, worn in the irrigation ditch scene.

My eyes focus on that coat whenever I watch those scenes, and I wonder what it  might tell me about Ennis' accepting his father's perspective on "rodeo fuckups" and "two men living together".

Do we ever get over what our parents taught us??

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: jlp1 on April 21, 2006, 11:49:56 am
I agree with Grandma.  I think Ennis wishes he had it all to do over again and would do it differently. 

Reminds me of the quote (from the starbucks cup) from Armistead Maupin: “My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too damn short.”

I came out quite late and feel alot of Ennis' pain...  So few chances at real love in the life and his one is gone by - so much pain and regret...

JLP
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on April 21, 2006, 05:14:27 pm
Good point, JLP.  And BBM_Grandma.  I think you're both right.  Especially in re-reading your first post, B_G, and in remembering in the short story that right after that, as you pointed out, Ennis started seeing Jack in his dreams.

Once again, though, the genius of this movie (and short story and screenplay) is that it never beats you over the head with what everything is supposed to mean or how you're supposed to feel about any of it.  It lets each of us take away from it what we need to take away from it.  They have all given us the credit for having a mind and heart enough of our own to be able to do that.

Nice to see you here, JLP, by the way.   :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 22, 2006, 05:43:28 am

I have to think of something good coming out of his (Ennis') life, or I'd just be wrecked for the rest of my days for him.

ME TOO!  Me too, ednbarby...   I wouldn't be wrecked for the rest of my days, but I don't want to go even one more day thinking there's no hope for him.  That alone would be too much, so I don't.

What a wonderful imagination you have.


Sincerely,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 22, 2006, 09:46:35 am
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on April 22, 2006, 04:39:03 pm
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

That's true, latjoreme.  It truly is better to have loved and lost...  Just to think of what a miserable existence all of his days would have been without Jack...  That's an almost unbearable thought, too.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on April 29, 2006, 09:03:53 pm
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story. The part about buying the postcard is not in the movie either.

Quote
A few weeks later on the Saturday he threw all Stoutamire's dirty horse blankets into the back of his pickup and took them down to the Quik Stop Car Wash to turn the high-pressure spray on them. When the wet clean blankets were stowed in the truck bed he stepped into Higgins's gift shop and busied himself with the postcard rack.
   "Ennis, what are you lookin for rootin through them postcards?" said Linda Higgins, throwing a sopping brown coffee filter into the garbage can.    "Scene a Brokeback Mountain."
   "Over in Fremont County?"
   "No, north a here."
   "I didn't order none a them. Let me get the order list. They got it I can get you a hunderd. I got a order some more cards anyway."
"One's enough," said Ennis.    When it came -- thirty cents -- he pinned it up in his trailer, brass-headed tack in each corner. Below it he drove a nail and on the nail he hung the wire hanger and the two old shirts suspended from it. He stepped back and looked at the ensemble through a few stinging tears.

   "Jack, I swear -- " he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.


What Ennis did not finish aloud was thought in words. Ennis swore an oath to, somewhat like one does in a courtroom or when taking public office, promising that he would never stop loving him.

In the cowboy, country, Native American and Jesus' way, when a man made an oath promise, he kept it no matter what. And he could swear something without the other person having to do anything.

Some people have confused cursing or using strong "adult" language, aka cussin', with swearing. They have even confused the commandment "Do not take the LORD's name in vain," with saying "Jesus" as a cuss word. But, "Jesus" was the name of a lot of people in the 1st Century AD. Actually, the name in Hebrew was "Joshua."

But, taking the LORD's name in vain had to do with making a promise and using the name of YHWH (the real name of the God of the Israelites/Jews/Hebrews as one's witness and then not keeping the promise.

Jesus amended that commandment and said "Don't swear by anything, in heaven or on the earth; let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no'."

We have politicans who put a hand on the Bible at the swearing-in ceremonies when taking the oath of office. And, what are they swearing on and by? God in heaven and a Bible on earth. When a politician does not do his best to keep his promises to his constituents when he actually has the wherewithall to do so, he has taken God's name in vain.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on April 29, 2006, 10:39:56 pm
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story. The part about buying the postcard is not in the movie either.

TJ, I think you might find that some people will feel strongly in opposition to your post here.  That "I swear" being some kind of pledge is not in question.  What he is pledging is.  And your assessment that it is about never stopping loving Jack is an interpretation, not a truism.  The insights you gain from reading the short-story only adds to your interpretation, since A.P. never says that he is talking about love.  You do seem very involved with Brokeback Mountain, having at least seen the film and read the short-story, so I respect that you have an opinion that is worth listening to.  However most of the people on this site fit into that category, and some could star in a remake without having to learn a single line or choreograph a sequence.  Whether you agree with all of them, perhaps you might still learn something that you missed?  I know I do, on a daily basis.

Also, I am concerned that you are making such a strong emphasis on religion here.  Humbly I assert that this is off topic for a general conversation about the film.  There is a topic that has already been raised on the topic of religion (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=883.0 (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=883.0)), and it may be better to discuss such ideas there.  I'll be happy to check back there from time to time to see if you have.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on April 29, 2006, 11:32:46 pm
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story. The part about buying the postcard is not in the movie either.

TJ, I think you might find that some people will feel strongly in opposition to your post here.  That "I swear" being some kind of pledge is not in question.  What he is pledging is.  And your assessment that it is about never stopping loving Jack is an interpretation, not a truism.  The insights you gain from reading the short-story only adds to your interpretation, since A.P. never says that he is talking about love.  You do seem very involved with Brokeback Mountain, having at least seen the film and read the short-story, so I respect that you have an opinion that is worth listening to.  However most of the people on this site fit into that category, and some could star in a remake without having to learn a single line or choreograph a sequence.  Whether you agree with all of them, perhaps you might still learn something that you missed?  I know I do, on a daily basis.

Also, I am concerned that you are making such a strong emphasis on religion here.  Humbly I assert that this is off topic for a general conversation about the film.  There is a topic that has already been raised on the topic of religion (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=883.0 (http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=883.0)), and it may be better to discuss such ideas there.  I'll be happy to check back there from time to time to see if you have.


I don't want to start an international "war" here to speak; but, we in the USA who have lived in parts of the country where people who have similar backgrounds to Jack and/or Ennis look at things differently than those who have never lived in the area between west of the Mississippi River and Eastern side of the Western Continental Divide which is mostly in the Rocky Mountains. Annie Proulx does use expressions that I am quite familiar with because I have heard people use them in their everyday speech.

I notice that a lot of folks in the religion discussions could not even correctly spell "Pentecost." The word, which means "fifty," is only used once in the Annie Proulx story. I have found that many people have rejected the teachings of Jesus the Christ without ever reading what they are when they reject the organized religion of "Christian Orthodoxy," aka "Orthodox Christianity," which did not begin in 30 AD/ACE, but in 325 AD. "Christianity" became an organized religion when the the Emperor Constantine decide to call the first of the Seven Church Councils which met at Nicea (in Turkey).
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 30, 2006, 12:22:17 am
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

Yeehaw latjoreme!  Seriously, I couldn't agree more.  Upon my very first viewing ever my reaction to the whole situation (all the obstacles and sadness aside) was "wow, they were reallly, really lucky."  I absolutely think that what they had was extremely special and those memories can help Ennis get by as the years go on (as Proulx suggests).  We all tend to focus on the missed opportunities, the time lost, etc. but what they did have was quite a lot.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 30, 2006, 01:20:30 am
Another way of feeling better about Ennis is by concentrating on how much happiness he experienced while Jack was still alive.  True, not as much happiness as he might have, if he'd overcome his fears.

But having a love that wonderful for 20 years, even if he only saw his lover occasionally, is more than many of us ever have.

Yeehaw latjoreme!  Seriously, I couldn't agree more.  Upon my very first viewing ever my reaction to the whole situation (all the obstacles and sadness aside) was "wow, they were reallly, really lucky."  I absolutely think that what they had was extremely special and those memories can help Ennis get by as the years go on (as Proulx suggests).  We all tend to focus on the missed opportunities, the time lost, etc. but what they did have was quite a lot.

Hey Amanda, I've come to believe that one of the reasons I generally agree with everything you write is that you seem to share my tendency to view this movie in a fairly positive light, to focus on the romantic and cute somewhat more than the frustrating and tragic, as much as we might also acknowlege the unhappy aspects. I'm not particularly Pollyannaish by nature -- if anything, the opposite -- but the movie's ambiguity affords a lot of leeway, and plenty of support for an interpretation that's, yes, achingly sad, but also thrilling and touching and to some extent upbeat (though this probably explains why both of us share the inclination to skip the last half). Anyway, I'm glad you're around and supplying so many thoughtful posts that usually happen to reflect my worldview. Er, my Brokebackview.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on April 30, 2006, 11:20:16 pm
Heya,
Yes, I think that despite all the sad things that happen in the movie, the positive things tend to out weigh them.  The intense love between Jack and Ennis was a great thing regardless of all their difficulties.  The happiness that they did share out weighs all the sadness. And, there are good reasons to be optimistic for Ennis at the end. 

I think the tragedy in the film is an integral part of the romance.  Most great romances are tragedies.  One only needs to think of Romeo and Juliet and countless other classic and mythological figures to see this.  So, our boys are "moonlight-crossed lovers" as opposed to Shakespeares's "star-crossed lovers."  The great old Classical allusions thread was excellent at explaining the connections between Jack and Ennis and classical lovers... especially Aeneas and Dido.

I'm quoting CaseyCornelius here from the original old imdb thread.

"Ennis's final words of "Jack, I swear" echo those of Aeneas when confronted with the 'shade' or ghost of his beloved Dido who committed suicide after he abandoned her. Aeneas says to Dido's ghost, "I swear by every oath that hell can muster, I swear I left you against my will. The law of God--the law that sends me now through darkness, bramble, rot and profound night--unyielding drove me; nor could I have dreamed that in my leaving I would hurt you so".
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 01, 2006, 01:02:54 am
It is interesting what people are trying to guess the meaning of "Jack, I swear--" from their viewing of the movie; but, they never checked the words in Annie Proulx's short story.


Not so, TJ... 
 

If you go back and read the first page of posts, you'll find that I mentioned the book and in fact I quote some of the same lines you do.  Most of us here, as Aussie Chris so politely calls attention to, have read the book and seen the movie several times or more.

We do need to stay ON TOPIC, please. 

I started the topic because when I began it I knew there wasn't really any "right or wrong" answer, but it sure would generate a lot of fun conversation and sharing of interpretations. 

The topic is similar to trying to figure out whether Jack met with a fatal accident or was murdered as Ennis believes.  There is nothing in the story or the movie and no comments from Annie P. to give any direction or conclusioin, but that's part of the brillance of the tale.   

By the way, I read the story in the collection of shorts "Still Wild" edited by Larry McMurtry and then in "Close Range" the collection of Annie's shorts and in hers there's even a whole page that begins the story that wasn't in "Still Wild".   

Her story in "Close Range" begins long after Jack is dead and Ennis is living in the trailer.  It's quite good and reveals more of how Ennis feels long after Jack's death.  Ennis' day is good when he has dreamed of Jack.  The whole thing about Jack in Ennis' dreams is so beautiful and revealing about Ennis' real love and longing for Jack.  I wonder if that page was in the New Yorker?

Anyway... that's OT too, but I mention it just to indicate how much I have looked at both the movie and the book too.  So, let's get back to the topic and let other people write in with what they think and feel.  I think that's what we're all here for.. least I am.

Peace,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on May 01, 2006, 01:39:57 am
I think the tragedy in the film is an integral part of the romance.  Most great romances are tragedies.

Yes, I think tragedy is almost a prerequisite.

I like light romantic comedies. They can even be fairly romantic! But true unforgettable classic romances almost seem to require tragedy (yes, I'm sure there are exceptions).

And while we're on the subject, something I've always found fascinating about Brokeback is -- setting aside all the fascinating metaphors and layers of meaning and phenomenal acting and beautiful cinematography and everything else -- why does it work so well as a romance? Why do I find it roughly a million times more romantic than any romance I can ever remember seeing?

I can think of a few reasons. No single factor fully explains it but, put together, perhaps they do. Maybe I'll start a thread on it and see what others have to say.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on May 01, 2006, 11:20:13 am
Her story in "Close Range" begins long after Jack is dead and Ennis is living in the trailer.  It's quite good and reveals more of how Ennis feels long after Jack's death.  Ennis' day is good when he has dreamed of Jack.  The whole thing about Jack in Ennis' dreams is so beautiful and revealing about Ennis' real love and longing for Jack.  I wonder if that page was in the New Yorker?

Heya Rayn,
I just quoted that beginning paragraph of the Close Range story at length in my new "Jack and the Wind" thread.  I love that opening to the story.  A beautiful piece of writing.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 03, 2006, 12:59:27 pm
Repeating the original post under this subject thread.

The line is cryptic and open to interpretation.  I thought he meant, "Jack, I declare, life is tough and strange."  But then he touches the postcard of the mountain and I thought maybe he meant, "Jack, I swear I'll get you (Jack's ashes) up there like you wanted."  I realize there may be no way to know exactly what he meant, but I'm very interested in hearing what others think about it.

Thanks,
Rayn

The screenplay writers and the movie people created more unanswered questions to the "on-purpose unanswered questions" which Annie Proulx wrote in her original short story.

Sometimes I forget that since late November 2005, I have been involved in quite a few Yahoo Discussion Groups about the Brokeback Mountain Movie and various internet discussion forums like this "BetterMost" one about the movie.

I have been a member of only one discussion where the emphasis was on the published-in-a-book version . . . and that was because I created the Yahoo Group BEFORE I even saw the movie. The official date of creation of that group is Dec 16, 2005, which was after I read the complete 1997 copyrighted by Dead Line, Ltd. version of the story.

Here is what I have in computerized text form of where (and why) Ennis said, "Jack, I swear---:"

Quote
A few weeks later on the Saturday he threw all Stoutamire's dirty horse blankets into the back of his pickup and took them down to the Quik Stop Car Wash to turn the high-pressure spray on them. When the wet clean blankets were stowed in the truck bed he stepped into Higgins's gift shop and busied himself with the postcard rack.
   "Ennis, what are you lookin for rootin through them postcards?" said Linda Higgins, throwing a sopping brown coffee filter into the garbage can.    "Scene a Brokeback Mountain."
   "Over in Fremont County?"
   "No, north a here."
   "I didn't order none a them. Let me get the order list. They got it I can get you a hunderd. I got a order some more cards anyway."
"One's enough," said Ennis.    When it came -- thirty cents -- he pinned it up in his trailer, brass-headed tack in each corner. Below it he drove a nail and on the nail he hung the wire hanger and the two old shirts suspended from it. He stepped back and looked at the ensemble through a few stinging tears.

   "Jack, I swear -- " he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.


By what Annie Proulx wrote, those of us who know about friends swearing an oath (or promise) to each other, Ennis's swearing was a promise of some type which he swore to Jack. Since Ennis had said in the motel room, "no reins on this one," I would say that neither of the guys had sworn any kind of allegiance to each other when they were together. But, then Ennis swore an oath of some type related to his memory of Jack Twist. I say that it was a one-sided oath promised to Jack although he was no longer around. In Biblical period oaths made in covenant agreements, one person could be the only one who made a promise and the other person was only required to accept what was promised. In the Mid-Eastern parts of the world during the Biblical period of time, such covenanted one-sided oaths were actually quite common.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 03, 2006, 01:02:17 pm
I don't have a copy of the "Close Range" short story book; but, I do have the stand-alone version of Brokeback Mountain as published in paperback form in 2005. The story in both books is the same with the two opening paragraphs which were not published in the New Yorker Magazine in 1997.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 03, 2006, 01:08:34 pm
Heya Rayn,
I just quoted that beginning paragraph of the Close Range story at length in my new "Jack and the Wind" thread.  I love that opening to the story.  A beautiful piece of writing.

For the reader of the story with those two beginning italicized paragraphs, those words of Ennis preparing to pack and moving off the Stoutamire Ranch at/in/near Signal, Wyoming, sets the tone for the rest of the story.

It is like the story of Ennis and Jack which begins in Signal at Aguirre's parking lot in May 1963 is a flashback.

We don't even know whom Jack Twist is until that scene in the book nor do we know what his relationship was with Ennis.
Title: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on May 03, 2006, 05:22:03 pm
Oh, my, I had such a long trip here from Wyoming and through Internet Movie Database system.  It's awful what happened there.  A disgrace it is.  Yet I am here now, thank God.

I know what my Ennis meant by "I swear, Jack".  He always loved him, stiil does and always will.  Ennis will be visiting me soon for Mother's Day weekend.

I love Ennis so much.

Mrs. Twist
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: starboardlight on May 03, 2006, 07:38:09 pm
Oh, my, I had such a long trip here from Wyoming and through Iinternet Movie Database system.  It's awful what happened there.  A disgrace it is.  Yet I am here now, thank God.

I know what my Ennis meant by "I swear, Jack".  He always love him, stiil does and always will.  Ennis will be visiting me soon for Mother's Day weekend.

I love Ennis so much.

Mrs. Twist

ha ha. welcome, pull up a chair, and make yourself at home. help yourself to the coffee, but don't ask for the cherry cake. ours only has one cherry in it, so it's best to avoid that awkwardness.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on May 03, 2006, 08:10:41 pm
Welcome Mary, nice to see you here!  I remember you from the old boards.  :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 04, 2006, 12:40:42 am
I know what my Ennis meant by "I swear, Jack".  He always love him, stiil does and always will.  Ennis will be visiting me soon for Mother's Day weekend.


Readin' over TJ and Mary Twist's posts the thought just occurred to me that, of course what Ennis says has everything to do with love, but perhaps it's even a wider and more inclusive statement. 

In the movie, Ennis has just told his daughter he'll attend her wedding.  Ennis knows, now, how deeply Jack loved him and perhaps he has realized that he hasn't been too skilled at loving anyone.  It's not Ennis' fault. It's just how he is... for many reasons, but since he now knows, sees his lack of skill, he swears to Jack that he always loved him and will improve on it: "Jack, I swear, I always loved you and I'm gonna git better at lovin' others too...."  We can't really know, but it's a wonderful way to imagine it and I arrived at it because of my interaction with all you good friends here.
 
I know the part where Alma Jr. visits the trailer to announce her wedding isn't in the book which again shows how very different the movie is, but that first page intro in the book does mention "he might have to stay with his married daughter".  I bet that's where the idea for the wedding announcement came for the movie!

Thanks,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 04, 2006, 01:15:39 am
Ennis's getting the postcard and putting up the postcard above the shirts on the wall of his trailer and his oath of "Jack, I swear--" was the beginning of Ennis working through his own handling of grief and bereavement due to the loss of his apparently first best friend who was also loved Ennis with no changes in whom he was.

In the short story as Diana Ossana first read it and had Larry McMurtry read in the New Yorker Magazine, there was nothing about a married daughter at all. But, I don't have a problem with Alma Jr. going to her father to tell him that she was going to get married and Ennis asking, "Does Kurt love you?" In the movie, she did not have to drive so many miles to the rural trailer park somewhere near Riverton; but, in the book, Ennis's trailer was not even in the same county and it was on the Stoutamire ranch. I actually had a little tear when Ennis asked that question in the movie.

We are sorta OT here; but, I have known many guys who were born to be great fathers, yet they failed miserably as husbands or should not have been married in the first place. My late partner/husband, Ed, had been married 13 years to a woman whom he loved as a friend and she already had a son and a daughter. His step-daughter, Linda, was 17 when she herself got married just before Ed divorced Jessie. Linda told me that Ed was the only father she ever knew and he could not have been a better father.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Aussie Chris on May 04, 2006, 10:32:04 am
In the short story as Diana Ossana first read it and had Larry McMurtry read in the New Yorker Magazine, there was nothing about a married daughter at all. But, I don't have a problem with Alma Jr. going to her father to tell him that she was going to get married and Ennis asking, "Does Kurt love you?" In the movie, she did not have to drive so many miles to the rural trailer park somewhere near Riverton; but, in the book, Ennis's trailer was not even in the same county and it was on the Stoutamire ranch. I actually had a little tear when Ennis asked that question in the movie.

Yes TJ, this is one of the most powerful scenes in the film, everyone loves it and with the help of our Amanda (atz75) and others I appreciate it more each time.  I was listening to a podcast that Phillip posted somewhere that has a really good interview with Ang Lee about the writing of that additional scene.  He felt it was necessary to really establish Ennis' redemption.  I think Ang was saying that he took it (or the idea I can't remember) to Larry McMurtry and he immediately loved it.  I think they were so right to have it, I don't think I would have been so moved otherwise.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on May 04, 2006, 12:28:07 pm
And we've discussed this before, but a little repetition never hurts: the most moving part for me is not so much the question as Ennis' expression right afterward, when he gazes out the window.

I only started noticing the complexity of that amazing moment toward the end of my theater viewings, so when I finally get my DVD those are some frames I will especially concentrate on.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 04, 2006, 05:40:32 pm
I have noticed, in real time, that some men of few words do look to the side to pause to think before they say something very important. Because that looking to the side as though out the window was done in the movie, it added to the question about Junior's boy friend. And, that's why it affected my own response.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: chris_chicago on May 05, 2006, 02:21:59 am
"Jack, I swear......I did love you"
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on May 05, 2006, 05:13:59 pm
Thank you very much Mr. Light.  You know.... some folks thought that I was, well... umm, "deceased".  Oh, no.  I do not know why.  I did not assume that they were dead.  I'll come back and see you again.

welcome, pull up a chair, and make yourself at home. help yourself to the coffee, but don't ask for the cherry cake. ours only has one cherry in it, so it's best to avoid that awkwardness.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: jopo on May 08, 2006, 02:15:08 pm
I kinda thought "Jack, I swear..." was Ennis with his totally wounded heart affectionately scolding Jack because of what Ennis thought Jack's risky sex with others led to.  Of course it could have meant any of the things others here thought it might have meant as well.

 :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on May 08, 2006, 02:38:33 pm
I kinda thought "Jack, I swear..." was Ennis with his totally wounded heart affectionately scolding Jack because of what Ennis thought Jack's risky sex with others led to.  Of course it could have meant any of the things others here thought it might have meant as well.

 :'(

That's a thought-provoking take, jopo.  Never thought of it that way, but it's certainly a possibility.  I do sort of go against the majority on this and think of it as if he's saying something to the effect of "I swear... I don't know how the hell I'm gonna survive without you."  Because shortly after in the short story comes that bit about the space between what he knew and what he wanted to believe was true and the final line of "If you can't fix it" (in this case, Jack's death), "you've gotta stand it."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on May 08, 2006, 02:52:49 pm
Also in the short story -- and I don't have it in front of me so I'm paraphrasing -- it talks about how Ennis says, "Jack, I swear" even though Jack himself was never much for swearing. I've always interpreted that as meaning that he is saying "Jack, I love you" (or something similar) even though Jack was never much for verbal endearments, himself.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 08, 2006, 06:19:32 pm
Quote
"Jack, I swear -- " he said, though Jack had never asked him to swear anything and was himself not the swearing kind.

Ennis was not the person who would make a promise to anybody, by swearing an oath, to do something. And, as Annie Proulx wrote, Jack never asked him to swear a promise either.

Even when Ennis set up their get-to-gethers, all of them were just tentative dates. 

I just say that Ennis (although he did not finish his sentence aloud) swore a promise to Jack when He hung the on-a-hanger shirts on a nail under the postcard as soon as he put up the postcard. (Although, in the movie, the shirts and the postcard had been hanging INSIDE the trailer closet on the BACK of the closet door for some time.) I like the book version better.

When politicians take their oath of office, they are sworn in. They do say, "I swear---," making a promise to the government and the state or federal Constitution.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on May 08, 2006, 06:24:26 pm
I just say that Ennis (although he did not finish his sentence aloud) swore a promise to Jack

Thanks for the story quote, TJ. And what you say above makes sense to me. Of course, the exact nature of the promise is unclear.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 08, 2006, 07:52:33 pm
Since Ennis Del Mar was a man of few words, even when he was talking aloud to himself, we just have to guess what he swore to Jack Twist.

Ennis might have made some better choices in his life and occupations if he had talked out loud when no one else was around.

One does use more of his brain when one speaks aloud and he can also hear himself "think" outloud.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on May 13, 2006, 07:14:49 pm
My beloved son Jack had been a vcitim of sexual abuse by a man at a young age and continuing for many years.

Sadly,
Mrs. Mary Twist
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Karan13 on May 14, 2006, 04:38:56 pm
I agree i think Jack was saying he would SWEAR to see to it that Ennis ashes were laid to rest where he wanted them to be , in the only place he was ever truely happy. I also think he is saying `I Swear` i love you and i will never forget you. So sad x x
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 14, 2006, 11:09:53 pm
In the movie, "Jack, I swear--" is just a few moments from the end of the movie.

In the book, he has lots of dreams after he says those words and in the way that the original copyrighted story goes, one more scene takes place after Ennis has all of those dreams. But, Annie Proulx put the only thing about Ennis having a daughter who got married in the opening paragraphs of the story and Ennis is going to stay with her while he looks for work.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: twistedude on May 15, 2006, 01:00:41 am
I think Ennis had three great awakenings during his life: the first to passion, the second to love (during that first summer, or possibly, not till four years later) and the third, when Jack died, and he found the "outwsrd and physical signs of etc."--to the fact that Jack was the love of his life, "snd all the rest is talk."

As for Jack's ma--(who the hell posted that shit about sexual abuse? Was that a funny joke?. No.): "The only things Jack's ma don't know haven't happened yet."--er,  me...

Oh, I have no idea exactly what Ennis meant when he said it. But I think it had something to do with what he'd come to reaslize after Jack's death.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 15, 2006, 08:57:00 am
I think Ennis had three great awakenings during his life: the first to passion, the second to love (during that first summer, or possibly, not till four years later) and the third, when Jack died, and he found the "outwsrd and physical signs of etc."--to the fact that Jack was the love of his life, "snd all the rest is talk."

As for Jack's ma--(who the hell posted that shit about sexual abuse? Was that a funny joke?. No.): "The only things Jack's ma don't know haven't happened yet."--er,  me...

Oh, I have no idea exactly what Ennis meant when he said it. But I think it had something to do with what he'd come to reaslize after Jack's death.

Dear Julie,

I think you're right on about Ennis and his awakenings...and it's nicely said too.   

About the sexual abuse in Jack's life.
  That is a part of the story in the book.  Toward the end, you will find that Jack's father was abusive, beat him terribly on one occasion and then pissed all over him.  Some would call that only violent and humiliating, but I would say that is sexual abuse as well due to the use of a sex organ to administer punishment on a small child.  From all accounts, Jack's father was an rather ignorant and cruel man.  His wife is afraid of him; that's clear from how she acts around him in the movie when Ennis visits them.   

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 15, 2006, 09:01:14 am
I agree i think Jack was saying he would SWEAR to see to it that Ennis ashes were laid to rest where he wanted them to be , in the only place he was ever truely happy. I also think he is saying `I Swear` i love you and i will never forget you. So sad x x

Hey Karan13,

I like what you say... of course, because you're the first one to imagine the same thing I did about the Jack's ashes... and of course I think, like many, that you're so right about Ennis swearing his love and loyalty to Jack.

Thanks for your input and welcome!
Peace, Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: TJ on May 15, 2006, 03:22:47 pm
 

About the sexual abuse in Jack's life.
  That is a part of the story in the book.  Toward the end, you will find that Jack's father was abusive, beat him terribly on one occasion and then pissed all over him.  Some would call that only violent and humiliating, but I would say that is sexual abuse as well due to the use of a sex organ to administer punishment on a small child.  From all accounts, Jack's father was an rather ignorant and cruel man.  His wife is afraid of him; that's clear from how she acts around him in the movie when Ennis visits them.   

Rayn

In the book, Mrs. Twist, interrupted her husband when he was talking about Jack and brought up the subject of how she kept Jack's room like it was when he was a boy and that Ennis was welcome to go up and see it.

Then the next thing out of ol' man Twist's mouth was "I can't get no help out here." Why did he say that before he mentioned Jack talking about Ennis Del Mar and his plans of bringing Ennis up to get the ranch in shape?

Mrs. Twist was recovering from an operation in the book. But, I believe that while she was not willing, or was afraid, to leave her husband, I think that Jack's mother would stand up to her husband if she knew something was going on in his treatment of Jack.

I don't think that she even knew about the bathroom incident where Jack missed the toilet bowl in the bathroom and the abuse Mr. Twist heaped upon Jack that day when he was such a little boy. The man physically abused Jack with a belt, verbally abused him, and then abused him more by sexually abusing him by urinating all over him and then making Jack clean up the whole bathroom and his own urine soaked clothing in the bathtub. 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 16, 2006, 02:36:07 am
Page 282 of "Open Range"

Jack:  "Christ, he licked the stuffin out a me, knocked me down on the bathroom floor, whipped me with his belt.  I thought he was killin me.  Then he says, 'You want a know what it's like with piss all over the place?  I'll learn you', and he pulls it out and lets go all over me, soaked me, then he throws a towel at me and makes me mop up the floor, then my clothes off and warsh them in the bathtub, warsh out the towel.  I'm bawlin and blubberin."

And all that because a boy of 3 or 4 missed the toilet while trying to pee ?!!!!   That's cruel and abusive. 

I guess Mrs. Twist didn't know about it.


Just for the record,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 16, 2006, 02:37:54 am
Sorry for being so Off Topic, but I have strong feelings against people who abuse children.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: aileen on May 17, 2006, 09:42:19 am
Looking at Ennis' face during "I swear" scene... For me these words always meant: Jack, I swear...if only I could turn back time, everything would be different...
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on May 17, 2006, 09:45:48 am
Looking at Ennis' face during "I swear" scene... For me these words always meant: Jack, I swear...if only I could turn back time, everything would be different...

Hmmmm.  Yeah.  I agree.  His face is so stunning, there.  I swear my heart still stops for a second every time I see him back away from that closet and there are those eyes, black as quartz brimming with those tears.  And the way he pulls his lower lip in right afterwards that tiny bit, as if to attempt to muffle a sob.  Still haunts me.  Always will.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on May 17, 2006, 01:09:56 pm
Hmmmm.  Yeah.  I agree.  His face is so stunning, there.  I swear my heart still stops for a second every time I see him back away from that closet and there are those eyes, black as quartz brimming with those tears.  And the way he pulls his lower lip in right afterwards that tiny bit, as if to attempt to muffle a sob.  Still haunts me.  Always will.

Yes, that moment is so powerful, partly because it is very emotional but also restrained.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ednbarby on May 17, 2006, 08:25:40 pm
All this reminds me of something my mother told me once.  I have two brothers, one five and one six years older than I.  When my next older brother was about six, he was still wetting the bed for whatever reasons - my mother thinks it's because the oldest one had been so easy to potty train and early, so they made the mistake of forcing it on the next one before he was really ready.  Anyway, one night my mother was out at a PTA meeting kind of late-ish while my dad was watching the three of us.  There was a lot of tension and trouble in their marriage for a variety of reasons leading up to this, mind you.  But apparently my brother awoke at about 9:30 p.m., his pajamas and bed soaked.  He started crying about it, being half asleep and uncomfortable as hell.  Well, my dad apparently went to his room, saw all this, and proceeded to start spanking the living daylights out of him.  My mother walked in on this.  After the dust settled, she said very calmly to him, "You can stay the night.  But in the morning, I want you and your things gone.  You're taking it out on the kids, now, and I won't allow that."  This was 1967.

So as to the discussion at hand, I don't imagine Mrs. Twist knew.  As subservient as a woman in her position was supposed to be in that time and place, I just don't see her allowing it.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: twistedude on May 18, 2006, 02:29:06 am
It occurred to me while working on my third never mind, that Jack acquired his consumate skill as a liar from his mother, whose only defence against her abusive husband was to make him believe what he wanted to hear; she obviously feared him, when Ennis was there, either for her sake, or, more likely, for Ennis's. ...boy, Jack sure was good at llying, especially for someone otherwise so open, loving and sweet.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on May 19, 2006, 05:40:16 pm
I agree i think Jack was saying he would SWEAR to see to it that Ennis ashes were laid to rest where he wanted them to be , in the only place he was ever truely happy. I also think he is saying `I Swear` i love you and i will never forget you. So sad x x

Oh, my, this person Karan whose letter is between my two, like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, is so mixed up, I'm afraid.  My son Jack did not say "I swear".  His boyfriend Ennis said that some time after Jack died and Ennis had visited us at our homestead and he left with their two shirts. 

My heavens, this person wrote "Ennis's ashes"?  Ennis isn't dead!  My word, Ennis is very alive, my dear.  Ennis called me this very afternoon about what time he's arriving tomorrow. 

You know what they say, "Believe half of what you hear and less of what you read". 

Sincerely,
Mrs. Mary Twist     
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: pinku on May 20, 2006, 05:16:27 am
He means nothing! And the writer herself says that Jack never made swear and Ennis was also not the swearing kind. But the scene was magnificently performed by Ledger and is exactly like the book - he had stinging tears. Beautiful. I am impressed by Ledger's capability as an actor. He has with this movie left his contemporaries far far far behind :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on May 20, 2006, 11:13:21 am
He means nothing!

Well, you're the first person in over 100 posts who thinks Ennis meant nothing.  Are you saying what he said was an exclamation, like, "I delare!"  'cause that's possible, but even such exclamations mean something.  They mean suprise or excitement or amazement or bewilderment etc.  Ennis wasn't a man to speak words that meant "nothing".   He's be more likely to say nothing than speak meaningless words.  So, while you're certainly entitled to your opinion, I don't think many will agree it  There's too much that points to the phrase being chock full of meaning and what Annie P. writes about Ennis not being one to swear anything is more an indication that there was great meaning because it was so very unsual for Ennis use such words. 

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on May 26, 2006, 05:27:03 pm
Oh, you are rightly so, Mister or Miss Rayn.  Surely Ennis meant something by "Jack, I swear" or he would not have said it.

God bless you all this Memorial weekend.

Mrs. Mary Twist
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 02, 2006, 02:11:06 pm
Well, thank ya kindly, Mary... Now, maybe we can get this topic underway and going again! 

Yours truly,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on June 03, 2006, 02:09:18 pm
My Dear Rayn,

Yes, by all means, the folks here should explore the memorable "Jack, I Swear" sentiment of Ennis.  I honestly hope that my beloved Ennis was inspired to say his kind thought subsequent to his visit to me.

Sincerely,
Mary Twist
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: whiteoutofthemoon on June 03, 2006, 04:33:01 pm
".....I swear"....

I personally saw a direct contrast to this statement with the wedding scene earlier, as the preacher is saying "do you swear to love, honor....til death do you part"....Ennis says "I do" looking down, not looking at Alma, somewhat hesitant.   

Here,  at the end,   he says "I swear"  (ie ... "I do"), sincerely, with full eye contact to the shirts.   

Alas, too late, by a long while...
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 03, 2006, 08:43:01 pm
I personally saw a direct contrast to this statement with the wedding scene earlier, as the preacher is saying "do you swear to love, honor....til death do you part"....Ennis says "I do" looking down, not looking at Alma, somewhat hesitant.   

Here,  at the end,   he says "I swear"  (ie ... "I do"), sincerely, with full eye contact to the shirts.   

Hey, whiteoutofthemoon -- great observation! I've never seen those two scenes contrasted before. And on your very first post here, too. Awesome. Welcome to BetterMost!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 04, 2006, 08:00:12 pm
".....I swear"....

I personally saw a direct contrast to this statement with the wedding scene earlier, as the preacher is saying "do you swear to love, honor....til death do you part"....Ennis says "I do" looking down, not looking at Alma, somewhat hesitant.   

Here,  at the end,   he says "I swear"  (ie ... "I do"), sincerely, with full eye contact to the shirts.   

Alas, too late, by a long while...

WOW, I will second Katherine's welcome and say that this is a great observation.  The idea that Ennis is swearing an oath to Jack, which occurs to him as a result of his talk with Alma Jr., makes perfect sense to me.  And, now that you mention it, that cut from Ennis with his dry heaves and crying in the alley to that specific moment in the marriage ceremony seems really important.  Lee chooses to allow us a view into a very small slice of Ennis's wedding to Alma and he chooses these particular lines.  It makes great sense as foreshadowing. 

It's an interesting thing to think about in terms of Ennis's attitude towards Alma Jr.'s marriage... I'm sure he remembers his own marriage at 19 as a deeply unhappy thing.  We've hashed this out before in many threads... but it's just so sad that this deeply important act of love for Ennis... swearing a commitment to Jack... only happens in absolute privacy and after Jack is gone.  Even if Ennis had found the courage to live with Jack, they still wouldn't have had the option of the public celebration of their love that Alma Jr. and Kurt will enjoy.  In their own way, Ennis and Jack were already deeply and permanently committed to one another... even in living apart.  I think they both truly lived their lives for each other and organized their lives as much as possible to keep their relationship going (even on the awkward terms upon which their relationship existed).  It's only after Jack's death that Ennis behaves like a practical partner... going to visit the family, offering to take responsibility for Jack's final wishes and then finally swearing a commitment or "marriage" to him.  I wonder too at Ennis's sense of urgency to claim Jack's ashes... in a way maybe it was a little bit like staking his claim with Jack.  As if in wanting those ashes Ennis's is saying "he's mine."

 :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 04, 2006, 08:15:59 pm
It's only after Jack's death that Ennis behaves like a practical partner... going to visit the family, offering to take responsibility for Jack's final wishes and then finally swearing a commitment or "marriage" to him.  I wonder too at Ennis's sense of urgency to claim Jack's ashes... in a way maybe it was a little bit like staking his claim with Jack.  As if in wanting those ashes Ennis's is saying "he's mine."

Good way to put it, Amanda. That, and it's one last way he could see to have contact with Jack. Imagine how disappointed he must have been -- after probably envisioning himself going to Brokeback for that final sad ceremony -- to hear that he wasn't allowed to have them.

One of Ennis' many good moments in the Twist ranch scene, by the way, is when Mr. Twist spits out that last "We have a family plot -- and he's going into it!" as Ennis is leaving. And Ennis politely replies, "Yes sir," but accompanied by this look that combines resentment and rebellion and dislike, bolstered by the sympathy from Mrs. Twist and the knowledge that at least now he has the shirts.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: whiteoutofthemoon on June 04, 2006, 08:38:33 pm
Good way to put it, Amanda. That, and it's one last way he could see to have contact with Jack. Imagine how disappointed he must have been -- after probably envisioning himself going to Brokeback for that final sad ceremony -- to hear that he wasn't allowed to have them.

One of Ennis' many good moments in the Twist ranch scene, by the way, is when Mr. Twist spits out that last "We have a family plot -- and he's going into it!" as Ennis is leaving. And Ennis politely replies, "Yes sir," but accompanied by this look that combines resentment and rebellion and dislike, bolstered by the sympathy from Mrs. Twist and the knowledge that at least now he has the shirts.




The Twist house scene displays some profounds symbols as well.    Ennis was denied Jack's ashes...the ultimate symbol of Jack's death, but instead, argubly got something better...the shirts, with blood stains..... not gruesome here, but rather, blood is a symbol of life.    I know most of the blood is Ennis's (I don't recall in the fight scene if any of Jack's blood got mixed in there), but I thought it was interesting that Ennis got blood on his right sleeve when his wiped his nose, and when Jack came up to comfort him, he very awkwardly managed to get his right sleeve (not his left, which would have been more likely, given that Ennis was facing to the right), stained with Ennis's blood too....and then, that sets up the perfect circumstance that when you put one shirt inside the other, the blood stains on the right-sided sleeves of both shirts are in contact for eternity.  And of course the connection of blood to blood is very significant, signifying not only love but a connection in spirit. 

There was a great thread on this on IMDB that was unceremoniously deleted by one of the loser trolls. 

So....back to the "I swear"...not only is Ennis' swearing an oath, but swearing it in front of the shirts, with the blood on the two sleeves in contact.....an oath pure in intention. 



Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 04, 2006, 11:15:10 pm
Heya again,
Back to the topic of the relationship between Ennis's wedding to Alma and the "I swear..." moment...

Well, having just finished the movie again,  I noticed that for the wedding scene Lee overlaps Ennis crying in the ally with the sound of the preacher reciting the prayer. And, then when the camera finally shifts to the wedding the preacher only goes into the lines about "with the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife" and then the lame joke about kissing the bride.  Lee actually omits the actual words and/or parts of the wedding ceremony that explicitly deal with "swearing".  I think this is actually fantastic.  It leaves the only moment of "swearing" or "oath making" in Ennis's life (as far as the viewer is concerned) as the moment with the shirts and the "Jack I swear..."  The fact that we never hear Ennis explicitly "swear" a wedding vow to Alma helps make their marriage seem half-hearted (as if there was any doubt).


Quote
So....back to the "I swear"...not only is Ennis' swearing an oath, but swearing it in front of the shirts, with the blood on the two sleeves in contact.....an oath pure in intention.

whiteoutofthemoon, I really like this idea.  Not only is he essentially swearing a "blood" oath he's doing it completely of his own accord.  No one is pressuring or forcing him to do this.  He absolutely and purely wants to swear this oath to Jack.   The idea of "blood" brothers seems really important and relevant.  Obviously physical connection on all levels cemented their love.

More on the blood... I've always thought it was an amazing detail that Jack is wiping Ennis's bloody face with his own shirt in the "confusing tussle" scene.  You can see in Jack's face that he's just mortified that he's caused Ennis to bleed (and really to bleed so much!).  It reminds me of him offering his scarf to Ennis to clean his head after the bear incident.  The guilty look on Jack's face at causing Ennis's nose to bleed seems like an interesting parallel to the guilt that Ennis seems to carry with him about that awful punch.  It always makes me happy that he brings the punch issue up in the motel  (you can tell that it's just been eating at Ennis and he was probably slightly worried that something like that might have prevented Jack from contacting him for so long... or it might have fed into his anxiousness before the reunion kiss when he says to Alma "if he shows").  It's cute that in the motel Jack doesn't seem all that worried about that issue... he just lets it go and doesn't respond to that comment.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 05, 2006, 01:17:15 am
he very awkwardly managed to get his right sleeve (not his left, which would have been more likely, given that Ennis was facing to the right), stained with Ennis's blood too

Too funny, whiteoutofthemoon! I have always noticed that Jack's pose here seemed awkward -- Jack's right hand is oddly on Ennis' right shoulder, when it would make more sense to put his hand on Ennis' left shoulder -- but I never put the two things together! That explains it.

The guilty look on Jack's face at causing Ennis's nose to bleed seems like an interesting parallel to the guilt that Ennis seems to carry with him about that awful punch.  It always makes me happy that he brings the punch issue up in the motel  (you can tell that it's just been eating at Ennis and he was probably slightly worried that something like that might have prevented Jack from contacting him for so long... or it might have fed into his anxiousness before the reunion kiss when he says to Alma "if he shows").

I bet he kicked himself a million times for that punch, starting with riding down the mountain, when Ennis already looks guilty, then beside the sheep pen, then at the truck, then in the alley, and then constantly for the next four years. When he says "I thought you were still sore from that punch," he sounds so casual, but you just know from the fact that he mentions it at all that he has always feared his rash violence ruined his chances of seeing Jack again. (The other confirmation being his exact quote of Jack's in, "And the Army didn't get you?" showing that he's been going over and over that conversation for four years.)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Penthesilea on June 05, 2006, 02:41:52 pm
It leaves the only moment of "swearing" or "oath making" in Ennis's life (as far as the viewer is concerned) as the moment with the shirts and the "Jack I swear..." 

This is really a good observation. Another possibility, another layer of those two words.

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The guilty look on Jack's face at causing Ennis's nose to bleed seems like an interesting parallel to the guilt that Ennis seems to carry with him about that awful punch.  It always makes me happy that he brings the punch issue up in the motel  (you can tell that it's just been eating at Ennis and he was probably slightly worried that something like that might have prevented Jack from contacting him for so long... or it might have fed into his anxiousness before the reunion kiss when he says to Alma "if he shows").  It's cute that in the motel Jack doesn't seem all that worried about that issue... he just lets it go and doesn't respond to that comment.

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I bet he kicked himself a million times for that punch, starting with riding down the mountain, when Ennis already looks guilty, then beside the sheep pen, then at the truck, then in the alley, and then constantly for the next four years. When he says "I thought you were still sore from that punch," he sounds so casual, but you just know from the fact that he mentions it at all that he has always feared his rash violence ruined his chances of seeing Jack again. (The other confirmation being his exact quote of Jack's in, "And the Army didn't get you?" showing that he's been going over and over that conversation for four years.)

You are both so right. Poor Ennis (and poor Jack for that matter). I always felt it would have needed only a little bit to change the situation at their last day. Usually I want to shout at Ennis during many scenes of the movie. But when they actually part, at Jack's truck, it's Jack I want to shout at. I have the feeling a little "Ennis" or "Wait a minute", or something along that content from Jack could have made another scenario. One of these "What ifs..."
These "What might have beens", the "What ifs..." and the "If onlys..." are part of the magic of BBM. They keep my mind running in circles, envisioning different scenarios over and over.


Back on topic:
I've thought about this two words many, many times, as we all have. I can think of many possibilities, which all are valid. And they have been already mentioned on this thread.
For me, the fact that he is finally swearing to Jack is the most important. He is making a commitment, and it is all the more tragic that it comes too late.
And for me, it means: Jack, I swear, if I had another chance, I would make it different. I would make better descicions and I would live with you. This implies naturally the "I love you and always have", but goes beyond it.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 05, 2006, 03:01:24 pm
Usually I want to shout at Ennis during many scenes of the movie. But when they actually part, at Jack's truck, it's Jack I want to shout at. I have the feeling a little "Ennis" or "Wait a minute", or something along that content from Jack could have made another scenario.

To go back OT for just a second: One thing I really like about that scene, though, is that it makes such a powerful contrast to the reunion scene. They parted SO grimly and awkwardly, didn't see each other for four years ... and then ...!!

If they'd have somehow parted on an affectionate loving note, that passionate reunion kiss wouldn't be as moving and exciting.
 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Penthesilea on June 05, 2006, 04:14:56 pm
Another second OT

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They parted SO grimly and awkwardly

Awkwardly - yes. Grimly? I guess I have a translation problem here. If you mean 'grimly' as tense/stiff, then yes. But if you mean 'grimly' as angry, annoyed or mad - then I don't agree.
Especially Jack seems more anxious and cautious to me than any other thing. "You gonna do this again next summer?"
After Ennis says "See you around, I guess" and Jack's answer "Right", there is a pause, a second or two  before Ennis turns around to leave.
I always have the feeling one of them (Jack) is sooo short of saying something more, but doesn't dare.

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If they'd have somehow parted on an affectionate loving note
...then maybe they wouldn't have parted at all. I read it somewhere on IMDB: Ennis needed to draw himself emotionally away from Jack (this is one reason for the punch) to be able to part from him. This explains his cruel "See you around" too.
And for Jack: I think he would have agreed in a second to spend some more time with Ennis, had Ennis made a suggestion on this note.  (But there's no way Ennis would have done that.)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 05, 2006, 04:31:31 pm
Awkwardly - yes. Grimly? I guess I have a translation problem here. If you mean 'grimly' as tense/stiff, then yes. But if you mean 'grimly' as angry, annoyed or mad - then I don't agree.
Especially Jack seems more anxious and cautious to me than any other thing. "You gonna do this again next summer?"
After Ennis says "See you around, I guess" and Jack's answer "Right", there is a pause, a second or two  before Ennis turns around to leave.
I always have the feeling one of them (Jack) is sooo short of saying something more, but doesn't dare.

I meant grimly in the first sense, mainly. But I also think there's a spectre of the angry sense. Not that either of them actually feels anger at this point -- they're both dying to stay together longer or at the very least to express their real feelings. But I think the shadow of the earlier fight and punch is still hanging over them and is part of why they can't say anything, or at least part of why Ennis can't say anything (he feels guilty). It's not like they never had expressed affection before. If they'd gotten the orders to break camp right after the "happy tussle" or the dozy embrace, for instance, things might have gone very differently.

I totally agree that they both long for something more than the "see you around" -- pause -- "right."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on June 05, 2006, 04:41:16 pm

I totally agree that they both long for something more than the "see you around" -- pause -- "right."
I just reflected on the fact that the two don't shake hands in goodbye at their parting, which would have been a socially licit form of physical interaction between them down from the mountain, and would have given them a last parting touch. Ennis, for whatever reason, seems to be intentionally distancing himself from Jack in multiple ways in this scene; he is the first to turn and walk away from Jack, for example.

Scott
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Penthesilea on June 05, 2006, 05:36:50 pm
Not that either of them actually feels anger at this point -- they're both dying to stay together longer or at the very least to express their real feelings. But I think the shadow of the earlier fight and punch is still hanging over them and is part of why they can't say anything, or at least part of why Ennis can't say anything (he feels guilty).

Thanks for explaining. Now I see your point and agree.

moremojo
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I just reflected on the fact that the two don't shake hands in goodbye at their parting, which would have been a socially licit form of physical interaction between them down from the mountain, and would have given them a last parting touch

At the risk of sounding like someone else  ;) : In the story, they shook hands and hit each other on the shoulder.

A possible explantation for the difference between this scene(s) in the story and movie:
I think this scene was altered in the movie because movie-Ennis was different from story-Ennis.
Movie-Ennis is very sensitive to sensuous things: light, tactile things, scents (we talked about it a few days ago, someone else pointed this out - Amanda?). Ennis can't stand Jack being tender to him after Jack accidentally hit his nose  and being touched in order to be comforted. Ennis breaks totally and literally down when Jack holds him at the lake scene. Ennis can't help himself but kiss Jack passionately when hugging him at the reunion scene (ok, the four years have mattered, too  ;) ).
So a handshake or a hit on each others shoulder may have been too much for movie-Ennis. Either his breakdown would not have taken place in the alley, but right in front of Jack. Or, to avoid that, he would have rebuffed Jack again.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 05, 2006, 06:36:48 pm
My guess is that Jack really was mad about the punch at the time... I think it confused him.  The punch combined with the callous "I guess I'll see you around, hunh?" line, were probably enough to make even easy-going Jack a little mad.   He was probably getting serious vibes that Ennis wanted desperately to detach and to try to force his way back into conventional expectations.  I'm sure Jack was a bit afraid of being too pushy during the black-truck conversation.  But, you're right, if he'd tried he might have been able to get Ennis's mood to shift.  I think Ennis may have pushed Jack a little too far at this point.  Jack seems sad and expectant during the conversation but, once he's in his truck he seems angry (maybe just slightly angry).  He drives away really fast... especially as he's pulling out of the parking space and around Ennis initially.  I'm sure Ennis sensed Jack's hurt feelings here and worried about the situation for the next 4 years.

By the way, I love how this conversation against Jack's black truck mirrors the argument scene at the end at the lake while they're next to Jack's brown and white truck.  Sad!  It's even more interesting that in this early scene it's Jack that gets in a truck and drives away whereas in the late argument scene by the lake, it's Ennis that we see drive away in a truck.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 05, 2006, 10:26:17 pm
He was probably getting serious vibes that Ennis wanted desperately to detach and to try to force his way back into conventional expectations.

You know, those aren't the vibes I get. I have always felt that Ennis doesn't want to go, but he doesn't know how not to. He wishes he could say something more meaningful, but he doesn't know how to do that, either, and his guilt over the punch makes it all the harder. That's why he kind of lingers there. I sense he's hoping Jack will say something, but Jack is wary of the situation, too. So in the end all that's left is, "See you around, hunh?" "Right." They both know that's a terrible way to leave things, but they feel helpless.

I also love the mirroring of the two scenes, though! And that they both end with Ennis collapsing. Really underscoring the story's line that, over 20 years, nothing has changed.  :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: nakymaton on June 05, 2006, 11:00:39 pm
I don't think the movie characters could have touched one another at that good-bye scene. They were like a powder keg, and the slightest touch would have been like a match... though whether the passion would have turned into sex or violence, I don't know. So I don't think the hug and the punching on the shoulders would have been at all believable in the movie.

The way the two scenes are mirrored... it really is a mirror, you know? The conversations beside the truck match each other, and Ennis's collapse mirrors the punch. (Ennis even tries to hit Jack, but he doesn't... either because Ennis isn't fighting himself as hard as he used to, or because Ennis has gotten worn down from too many years of fighting himself, or because Jack knows how Ennis might react and just doesn't let it happen.)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 05, 2006, 11:08:13 pm
Yup, this scene is really complicated.  This is a great discussion.

For a moment, though, I'd like to turn back to the "I swear" topic.  It occurs to me that there's another "swear" moment in the movie.  It probably has absolutely nothing to do with Ennis's super serious "I swear" at the end.  But, I thought I'd bring it up to see what people can make of it.  In the motel,  Jack says "Swear to god, I didn't know we were going to get into this again."  So, I guess on some level Jack is a swearing kind.
 ::) ;D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: nakymaton on June 05, 2006, 11:16:39 pm
Sheeeeeeit.  ;) ;)

Actually, I don't think that AP's description of Jack as "not the swearing kind" fits the Jack of the movie at all. I think movie-Jack was quite ready to swear whatever oaths it would take to settle down with Ennis. I'm not as certain of the story-Jack, though. Movie-Jack seems driven to other men by all the long times away from Ennis, but I read story-Jack as actually less faithful. (It's interesting, because I've heard people on other message boards argue that story-Jack never cheated on Ennis with other guys, and that the movie people made Jack look really bad by making the Mexico metaphor real, and creating the Jimbo and Randall characters. We read the story very, very differently from one another!)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 06, 2006, 01:20:07 am
I don't think the movie characters could have touched one another at that good-bye scene. They were like a powder keg, and the slightest touch would have been like a match... though whether the passion would have turned into sex or violence, I don't know. So I don't think the hug and the punching on the shoulders would have been at all believable in the movie.

The way the two scenes are mirrored... it really is a mirror, you know? The conversations beside the truck match each other, and Ennis's collapse mirrors the punch. (Ennis even tries to hit Jack, but he doesn't... either because Ennis isn't fighting himself as hard as he used to, or because Ennis has gotten worn down from too many years of fighting himself, or because Jack knows how Ennis might react and just doesn't let it happen.)

I think you are right, Mel, about the potential effect of a touch. First of all, it wouldn't have been believable in the movie, and it would have undercut the power of the scene, much of which comes from the contrast between their seemingly indifferent parting and Ennis' heart-wrenching collapse a minute later in the alley.

But also, the way you put it just now made me think of the fight scene in whole new light. At first, when they're rolling down the hill, they're expressing something halfway between violence and love. But it turns into pure violence, because Ennis is trying to fight off his feelings. Well, I guess that's obvious. But suddenly I remembered him later expressing his fear that "this thing" might "grab hold of us" -- he simply can't be casual about touching Jack; he can't be sure he can keep control over his emotions if he does. In fact, he can't control them. But he feels safer channeling them into anger than love.

Which I guess also explains why he initially throws Jack off at the lake scene (I wouldn't call it hitting, exactly -- more like shoving him away -- and note that he yells "get the fuck off me!" with the exact same tone and facial expression as he tells the black-hatted passerby "what the fuck you lookin at?" in the alley.)

Also, just to clarify in case I didn't already, what I meant is that the collapse in the lakeside scene mirrors Ennis' collapse in the alley after their parting scene. Both times, he's crying and distraught. In some ways, the second time is better -- Jack is there to comfort him -- but it's also infinitely sadder.

I can't fit enough  :'( s here to express my sadness!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 06, 2006, 01:30:53 am
Oops, I forgot to add my view of Jack's not being the swearing kind. To me, that means he's not one to swear undying faithfulness or to get all mushy (perhaps, again, it's because of his carefulness around Ennis, but part this is from Ennis' POV and he may not understand that). In other words, Jack isn't the kind to do the kind of swearing that one does in a wedding ceremony. But at the end, Ennis finds he is ready to do just that.

Too late, of course. We say this so often we should just use the acronym: TLOC.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 06, 2006, 10:44:32 pm
Which I guess also explains why he initially throws Jack off at the lake scene (I wouldn't call it hitting, exactly -- more like shoving him away -- and note that he yells "get the fuck off me!" with the exact same tone and facial expression as he tells the black-hatted passerby "what the fuck you lookin at?" in the alley.)

I love both of these moments because they show Ennis trying to be a "tough-guy" at the exact same moment that he's showing his vulnerability and emotional distress/ complexity.  It seems important to note that in the first instance he collapses against the wall due to being heartbroken at feeling that he's lost Jack whereas at the end he collapses against Jack who continues to hold him up.
 :'(

LOL.  Katherine, I was sort of kidding about Jack and the "swearing" issue (especially because the context is so different in the motel).  It is mildly interesting though that we do hear Jack at least utter the word "swear" someplace in the film.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: akredhead on June 07, 2006, 02:34:13 pm
I always felt the line meant whatever it we wanted it to me for us personally.

In a sense...the mysterious cavern is ours to spackle with our own meaning...

For me...it meant, "Jack, I swear I will always love you."

For other it might mean, "Jack I swear to be loyal to you."

Or "Jack, I swear I'm so sorry."

But...each of us is touched by that line for a different reason. :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 07, 2006, 11:39:40 pm
Welcome to BetterMost akredhead... great pics in your signature! 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: jpwagoneer1964 on June 08, 2006, 02:37:14 pm
Hi All...

Well, the "Jack I swear, I should've never let you out of my sight." said in the motel room is enlightening, but in the book when Ennis says "Jack, I swear.." at the end, Annie also adds word to the effect (not a quote) "....though he never was one to swear, nor did he ever ask Jack to swear anything." and that further adds to the "openness" of the line "Jack, I swear..."   

And of course the book does go beyond the line and on to his dreaming about Jack and the revealing line, "There was some open space between that he believed and what happened, but nothing could be done about that."  And the last line of the book, is that "realist" statement of Ennis's  "And if you can't fix it, you gotta stand it."   It's interesting that the movie didn't go on to Ennis dreaming etc, but uses the "Jack, I swear..." as the end.  It does really leave the ending open and more mysterious.   Anyway, I'm enjoying what others are saying here.  Thanks!

Rayn
If often wish that just before Ennis says this, the scene faded out to several short clips (not previously seen) through the years starting at Brokeback showing lots of grins, embraces, erc. end with the very last moments together.... Jack picking him up walking Ennis to his truck and then back to present. This would be a way of incorperating the dream into the movie.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: akredhead on June 08, 2006, 03:58:50 pm
Thanks...I was really into the BBM coms on LJ but they're mostly fanfic forums now.

So its nice to find a place of active discussion. :)

Welcome to BetterMost akredhead... great pics in your signature! 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 10, 2006, 11:45:31 am
If often wish that just before Ennis says this, the scene faded out to several short clips (no previously seen) through the years starting at Brokeback showing lots of grins, embraces, erc. end with the very last moments together.... Jack picking him up walking Ennis to his truck and then back to present. This would be a way of incorperating the dream into the movies.

Yes, that would have been an interesting way to end it and bring the dreaming into the end of the movie as the book did, for sure.  They shared a lot of joy and good times which are almost left behind and forgotten because of the grief at that end.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Mary Twist on June 23, 2006, 06:19:27 pm
Isn't that lovely about the preacher's asking Ennis in the marriage ceremony "Do you swear"" and then so many years later his answering "I swear" to my son Jack, sadly after he is gone....  i surely second that emotion.

Mrs. Mary Twist
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on June 23, 2006, 11:36:58 pm
Yes, that would have been an interesting way to end it and bring the dreaming into the end of the movie as the book did, for sure.  They shared a lot of joy and good times which are almost left behind and forgotten because of the grief at that end.

You're so right!  It would be a good idea to bring Ennis's dreaming into the movie.  It's true that his dreams are a main feature/ theme in the book, but I guess there and also in the movie the only dream/ memory-dream that we see is Jack's.  It would be very cool to get a little peek into Ennis's memories in the same way.

By the way, Mary... I love the juxtaposition between Ennis's marriage to Alma and the "I swear..." moment too.  But, the preacher never actually says the "swear" part of the marriage ceremony (at least we don't hear that part). For a while I was convinced that I remembered the preacher saying that too.  But, the scene transitions from Ennis crying against the wall through the sound of the preacher leading the prayer.  And then when the visuals cut to the wedding he pronounces them husband and wife and then makes the lame joke about kissing the bride.  I actually think it's nice that the only person we hear Ennis swear to in the movie is Jack.  I think it re-enforces the power of that final "I swear..."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on July 09, 2006, 03:28:28 am
I actually think it's nice that the only person we hear Ennis swear to in the movie is Jack.  I think it re-enforces the power of that final "I swear..."

The Triumph of Brokeback Mountain is the love that Ennis and Jack create for and in each other. I speak in present tenses here: Their love survives everything, even death.  In the end, it is living in Ennis, and so as atz75 points out, though Ennis is not one to swear, the only one he swears to is Jack.  Jack continues to have a strong effect on Ennis because he is alive in Ennis; he always will be. Whether or not Ennis meets another and creates a new relationship cannot weaken that bond. Their connection would only strengthen any future relationship.  That is what true love can do for people. Love calls us out of the canyons of our shadowy, singular Selves to the luminous mesas of the Truth; it's existence requires an oath, "Jack, I swear..."   

And thanks to all of you, for I know more clearly, more fully now what Ennis meant: first and foremost, "Jack, I swear, I love you."  and then perhaps other things as well, "I swear I'll get your ashes up to Brokeback."  "I swear if I'd understood how much you loved me, if I knew how much I'd miss you, things would have been different."  "Jack, I swear... life is hard without you, but your memory is the sweetest thing I know."  "Given a chance to love again, I know I'll do better because of you, Jack." --- I must also allow Ennis his privacy; accept that only he really knew what he felt and meant when he said, "Jack, I swear..."

Love is a gift that always comes with joy and sorrow.  Whether we accept or reject it shapes us; molds us into who we are and who we become.   How we learn from it; what we do with it is one of mysterious responsibilities of human life.  This too is one of the important messages of Brokeback Mountain.

Peace,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on July 09, 2006, 08:24:21 pm
Awww, Rayn!  That was very lovely!  It certainly brought a tear to my eye.
 :'(

I'd like to add that I like to think Jack responds a little bit to that "I swear..." when we see the wind in the long grasses out Ennis's window.  They're almost the same grasses/ same type of breeze that we see Jack juxtaposed with in the very first moments of the film outside Aguirre's trailer (the moment when Ennis first saw his true love).  Jack has known about Ennis's love all along (of that I'm very convinced), but now he finally has the explicit commitment that he always dreamed about.  So, maybe he can rest more easily after this.
 :'(



(I know I've said this type of thing before, but I feel like repeating it.  Yup, I love this film.)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on July 09, 2006, 08:48:21 pm
Awww, Rayn!  That was very lovely!  It certainly brought a tear to my eye.
I'm glad I touched your heart, if I hadn't, I wouldn't have been writing accurately  of Love.   R.


I'd like to add that I like to think Jack responds a little bit to that "I swear..." when we see the wind in the long grasses out Ennis's window.  They're almost the same grasses  So, maybe he can rest more easily after this.

People see all sorts of things in the movie, it's wonderful you/they do.  That's what's great about it.  There is now even a "Spiritual Nonsense" thread about the spirituality of BBM.  It's serious, I posted stuff there too, but the author, Daniel has so much more good stuff to share.  R.

(I know I've said this type of thing before, but I feel like repeating it.  Yup, I love this film.)


Me too~
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on July 21, 2006, 08:46:14 pm
I love this thread!
 :-*

I just re-read a lot of it and am loving some of the things that have been said here over so much time.  I thought I'd re-open a subject that came up a while back here... way back on pages 4 and 5 of this thread.  This subject came up during my recent visit with Katherine too.


Back on TOB, CaseyCornelius authored the now famous Classical Allusions thread (now item no. 1 in the archives).  And, this observation that Ennis's final line echos the words of Aeneas in the Aeneid has always blown me away.  I highly recommend re-reading at least the first post in that thread.  Amazing This is a little quote from the Classical Allusions thread:

"Ennis's final words of "Jack, I swear" echo those of Aeneas when confronted with the 'shade' or ghost of his beloved Dido who committed suicide after he abandoned her. Aeneas says to Dido's ghost, "I swear by every oath that hell can muster, I swear I left you against my will. The law of God--the law that sends me now through darkness, bramble, rot and profound night--unyielding drove me; nor could I have dreamed that in my leaving I would hurt you so".

Are there any other literary references that come to mind in regards to the "I swear..." moment.  Even any other important examples of unfinished statements in literature or poetry?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on July 21, 2006, 10:48:45 pm
Are there any other literary references that come to mind in regards to the "I swear..." moment.  Even any other important examples of unfinished statements in literature or poetry?
This is a wonderful question, Amanda, that I think will prove most rewarding to ponder and explore. I can think, off the top of my head, of an example of a potentially unfinished relationship in another great film, Michelangelo Antonioni's 1962 masterpiece L'eclisse. There, the two protagonists (played by Monica Vitti and Alain Delon) both fail to turn up for their appointed rendezvous in a distinctly unglamorous corner of Rome, and the film's last sequence details the haunting absence of the characters from the sites in which we formerly saw them. The film ends on a note of mystery--what happened? We can never know, and are left only with the poetry of emptiness.

I'll be thinking on this topic, to be sure. For now, gotta run. You guys have a great weekend, ya hear?

Scott
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: jpwagoneer1964 on July 22, 2006, 12:07:10 am
"Jack I swear...I will never stop loving you.
"Jack I swear...I never wanted for you to 'let me be'"
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Tristann on July 23, 2006, 08:16:48 am
Throughout the movie it is always Jack that expresses his feelings towards Ennis when they are together and not the other way around. The last time they meet, Jack explodes because Ennis won't make the next planned meeting. I got the idea that it is almost as if Jack feels that he loves Ennis more than what Ennis loves him. When Ennis go to Jack's parents, Jack's dad said that Jack mentioned bringing back a friend from Texas to fix up the ranch. Almost as if Jack had given up on Ennis and taken up a relationship with the Texan friend (the one at the party). Perhaps this is the point that Ennis realises that Jack wasn't completely assured of his love for him at that time.

In the very last scene the shirts have changed places. When Ennis found them initially it was Jack's shirt that was on the outside. Now, it is Ennis' shirt that is on the outside. When he says, "Jack, I swear..." it is perhaps his way of saying (and showing) that he love(d) Jack as much.

Someone at another forum also mentioned something that struck a chord with me. When Ennis appeard with the shirts, Jack's mom took a paper bag and carefully placed the shirts inside. Perhaps she had put Jack's ashes in the bag. The, "Jack, I swear..." could therefore also mean that Ennis, whilst touching the postcard of Brokeback Mountain swears that he will return the ashes to the mountain as was Jack's wish.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on July 23, 2006, 01:58:57 pm
Welcome to BetterMost Tristann!  Want a cup of coffee?  And a piece of cherry cake?

Thanks for joining in here... very nice post.
 :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Andrew on July 23, 2006, 02:31:18 pm

Are there any other literary references that come to mind in regards to the "I swear..." moment.  Even any other important examples of unfinished statements in literature or poetry?

I love that you brought this up, Amanda.  Everyone has an instinct of what Ennis meant when he broke off, though we would all fill in somewhat different words.  Many in this thread have written very eloquently of what Ennis would have said had he been able to put words to intense feelings.  CaseyCornelius' wonderful discovery about the literary antecedent in the Aeneid puts some of the most eloquent words ever written to that silence, in a beautiful translation.

But what really makes the effect in the film is that it is broken off.  Powerful effects are powerful in part because they have within them armies of different, even self-contradictory feelings and experiences, jabbing at us from before and behind.

I cast around in earlier literature and couldn't think of a really apt precedent for this, although I'm sure they exist at least in twentienth-century literature and film, which started using naturalistic effects like this.

Shakespeare was at once the most artful and the most naturalistic writer of his period.  He knew of a Latin device used by Roman orators, who would sometimes interrupt themselves and break off mid-sentence for effect. Shakespeare used this for a new, more naturalistic representational purpose.  He uses it, for example, in Macbeth's last scene in his castle, Act 5 scene 3, when we get the effect of the king's world crashing slowly to broken phrases, sentences that don't need to be finished because the reality they address may not be around much longer, the retainers who should listen all deserted.  Macbeth is overtaken by a great fatigue that can't remember the original point he meant to make with his sentence, or with his life ambition for that matter:

MACBETH:
Take thy face hence.   Exit Servant.
                                Seyton!  --I am sick at heart
When I behold -- Seyton, I say! -- This push
Will cheer me ever, or disseat me now.
I have liv'd long enough.

I bring up this scene for contrast, not for comparison, although Ennis too might feel that his best years are all behind him at this moment.  I know people have different feelings about that.

The contrast I am referring to?  Shakespeare left the phrase 'I am sick at heart when I behold...' unfinished but he did not leave the speech unfinished and he certainly would never have ended a play with an unfinished sentence.

In Shakespeare's time, the eloquence was all put into the words.  Silences were simply the absence of anything.  If silence was to be depicted, it was put into blank verse.  In Lear, when Cordelia hears Goneril pouring on flattery in order to get 'a third more opulent than her sisters' she is not silent, she is made to speak the words to herself, 'What shall Cordelia say?  Love and be silent.'

However, once tools are invented they are almost always adapted for other, evolving purposes.  The Latin rhetorical trick could have another life and purpose under a new way of looking at the world.

By the nineteenth century, Europeans started discovering Asian art and how it uses silence and empty space as positive entities.
Stories started to be written which had no formal beginning or end.  Dialog started to use unfinished sentences.

With the invention of film even more naturalistic effects were possible than in literature.  And strong unfinished effects seem natural in film when they might seem artificial or formalistic in written stories.  There is the visual side to film which helps fill the void.  Ennis' words are not the very last words of Proulx's story.

The effect of 'I swear...' is very different from anything in Shakespeare because it is a modern effect.  I can think of many reasons Ennis might have broken off here, and they are self-contradictory and therefore act more powerfully on our feelings:

- The memory of Jake's constant love for him and determination to work for a fulfilled life were like an unanswerable reproach to his own fears and evasions, so he breaks off as if acknowledging the unanswerability, the smallness of anything he could swear aloud now.

- He knows he is not the swearing type so he stops before he can say anything he doesn't know how to put in words.

- "Jack had never asked him to swear anything" so he can be true to Jack's memory and just think it.

- He has just been speaking with the very much living Alma Jr, the other being he loves the most.  Mid-sentence, he suddenly knows that it is no longer necessary to speak aloud because his communication with Jack is spiritual.

- He is just overcome with tears.  He is filled with the contrast between the wearer of the sweater he has folded and put away, who has just left, and the wearer of the shirt in the same closet, who will never come back in the flesh.

Somehow, breaking out all these elements seems to demean the one powerful effect, like picking off one by one the individual members of the emotional army who are jabbing at me before and behind.

I like Ang Lee's refusal to be overly verbal about this film.  I think of analogies from Asian art.

There is the deliberate choice in ink painting to depict certain parts of the subject and leave others alone.  In a book on Chinese brushwork Kwo Da-Wei discusses a painting of tadpoles in which the water is just white paper.  "It is not necessary for the artist to create that space by adding pigments to the background.  It is more subtle to let the onlooker fill in the space through his imagination.  If I had created the water by adding colors, or lines, the result would have been like painting 'a snake with feet.'"

In the same style of ink painting, a line is sometimes drawn with a brush which lifts slightly lifts off the paper before returning to it.  The part of the line which is not physically seen is referred to as 'Body absent, spirit present.'








Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on July 23, 2006, 02:49:32 pm
Wow Andrew!  Thanks for such a great post.  I think the MacBeth and other Shakespeare references are very appropriate.  And,  I think the fact that "I swear..." is left unfinished is one of the most important aspects of the statement too.  I have a feeling that that aspect of Ennis's quotation is more important to literary precedents than the choice of the word "swear"... although that's clearly wonderfully significant too (as in the Aeneid).

I'm now wondering if Ennis as a personification of silence (in that he often struggles so painfully to verbalize his feelings) is a bit of a personification of the old saying "a love that dare not speak its name"?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on July 23, 2006, 06:56:46 pm


 When Ennis appeard with the shirts, Jack's mom took a paper bag and carefully placed the shirts inside. Perhaps she had put Jack's ashes in the bag. The, "Jack, I swear..." could therefore also mean that Ennis, whilst touching the postcard of Brokeback Mountain swears that he will return the ashes to the mountain as was Jack's wish.


Yeah, I thought he meant he'd do all he could to get Jack's ashes on BBM too, but I don't think Mary Twist put his ashes in the bag.  If you watch the scene where that might happened, you can see the bag has nothing but the shirts in it when Ennis leaves.   There could be a way to get the ashes later, how, I don't know, but Mrs Twist, nice as she is, is too scared of her husband to try anything like putting the ashes in the bag in front of him.  The look on her face when she invited Ennis to come back and see them again is clearly one of fear. 

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: nakymaton on July 24, 2006, 12:19:19 pm
Andrew -- wow. Wonderful post. It helps put the power of the silences and things that aren't said into a context that helps me understand a little about why they move me so much.

Somehow, breaking out all these elements seems to demean the one powerful effect, like picking off one by one the individual members of the emotional army who are jabbing at me before and behind.

In a way, yes. But... well, for me, the emotional army is so overwhelming if I take them on all at once all the time. I start to shut down and crawl into a little corner of myself. (In fact, I tended to do that every time I saw the movie for the two months it was in theaters... I didn't get into public internet discussions in part, I think, because it was just too overwhelming at the time.) Breaking down the elements that contribute to the emotional power is important for me, I think, because otherwise I simply can't respond to whatever is moving me so much.

So, anyway, thank you. :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Andrew on July 24, 2006, 09:06:44 pm
Thank you for telling me you appreciated my effort, Amanda and nakymaton (Mel?)  You know, you can spend the better part of a day thinking about, researching and rewriting a single post.  And putting all the books you dug through back on the shelves.  So it's always nice to know that somebody had the time to ponder it and measure it against their own experience.  Occasionally the random nature of electronic communication comes to the fore, and an elaborate post rolls off because all the individuals it might fit are elsewhere.  And you can't help feeling a little sad because the Internet magic hasn't worked this time.

Taking one converse of this - I'll try to make sure I let people know a little more often when I feel enriched by what they wrote.   Especially when the flower seems to be in danger of being 'born to blush unseen, and waste its sweetness on the desert air'!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on September 02, 2006, 05:21:57 am
I haven't been around the site for a good while.  I went on vacation to Canada though and the more I saw of it the more I wanted to see.  I swear, Alberta is a mountain-lovers paradise and I will go back to see more of it. I love the mountains, I may even move there. 

It's good to see that people are still responding to this thread.   So many people have had great things to say and discuss.  And yes, thanks for the wonderful post Andrew!  Great work!

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 22, 2006, 01:00:50 pm
Just checking in....  Been away a while, but am back.  Maybe some new members will respond if I get this thread to the front page?   Worth a try to keep it going, I guess.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Marge_Innavera on October 22, 2006, 05:05:53 pm
in Macbeth's last scene in his castle, Act 5 scene 3, when we get the effect of the king's world crashing slowly to broken phrases, sentences that don't need to be finished because the reality they address may not be around much longer, the retainers who should listen all deserted.  Macbeth is overtaken by a great fatigue that can't remember the original point he meant to make with his sentence, or with his life ambition for that matter

Interesting, one other exchange from Macbeth that I often recall in discussions of this scene:

When Macduff learns that Macbeth has had his wife and children murdered, he initially collapses in grief.  "Dispute it [i.e., "take it"] like a man", an aide admonishes him.

"I shall do so," Macduff answers.  "But first I must feel it like a man."


One of Ennis' failings in the story is that while he has emotions, he doesn't always consent to feel them, if that makes sense.  There seems to be quite a sea change in that sense, not only in the last scene but in the two preceding it. In the Macbeth scene, "man" is used in two different senses: masculinity and humanity. Ennis in the last scene appears to be on the verge of coming to terms with both.

Yeah, I know this is off in the ozone....  :o
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 23, 2006, 02:43:47 am
Interesting, one other exchange from Macbeth that I often recall in discussions of this scene:

When Macduff learns that Macbeth has had his wife and children murdered, he initially collapses in grief.  "Dispute it [i.e., "take it"] like a man", an aide admonishes him.

"I shall do so," Macduff answers.  "But first I must feel it like a man."


One of Ennis' failings in the story is that while he has emotions, he doesn't always consent to feel them, if that makes sense.  There seems to be quite a sea change in that sense, not only in the last scene but in the two preceding it. In the Macbeth scene, "man" is used in two different senses: masculinity and humanity. Ennis in the last scene appears to be on the verge of coming to terms with both.

Yeah, I know this is off in the ozone....  :o

Hey, no way Marge... you're not out in the Ozone (what's left of it!); what you've said is very true about Ennis.   Not to blame him, because I feel Ennis wants to express more, but hasn't had the chance to learn how!  Also, Ennis is a man "of present means and ways", of necessity due to his background and life situation. 

He wasn't able to "dream" like Jack.  His main focus was on providing for himself and his family after he was married and then there was, Jack, the other "focus" of his life.  He was really torn in two, trying to be true to both his family and the true love of his life.

Ennis is also a man enslaved by conventions and fear.  He knew what he was taught as a boy: how things ought to be and what can happen if one goes against the way things ought to be.  His fear of what could happen, "Two guys livin' together, no way!" was part of the tragedy of his life and, of Jack's life too.

Social conditioning and fear play a large part in most human lives.  On the other hand, Jack was more imaginative and perhaps a bit more intelligent too.  He had vision, could "see" a way to be with Ennis...."We could've had a damn good life together, but you didn't want it!  So what we got now is Brokeback Mountain!"  The contest of wills and the strong need and attraction they had between them is what makes the tension, the drama so unforgettable.   

But you've also hit upon this "Masculinity and Humanity" issue in men too!  How often have we heard, "Take it like a man!" when what is meant is "Don't be (weak) like a woman"?!   What a crock!  There are strong women and weak men, and men, when they can express their humanity fully, can express sadness, grief and loss with tears.   Big Boys Do Cry! 

It's a very good point, Marge.

Thanks,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on October 27, 2006, 07:45:11 pm
I think Ennis is as deep and insightful as Jack; maybe more. In fact, i find that people who are more outwardly expressive tend to be less inner-thinking and analytical about their feelings. I believe Ennis pondered his feelings and knew what was in his heart to a very high degree. The morning after their first night together, he is deeply engrossed in turmoil, sulking up to BBM and symbolically witnessing the gutted sheep as some sort of punishment.

When Ennis said "....that's more than I've said in two years..." he admits his extremely inward sense of being while at the same time clearly shows he has thought about his life and who he is. In my experience, the non-verbal communicators are often people who know themselves best.

Also, when Jack said "....sometimes, I miss you so much I can hardly stand it..." Ennis says nothing, but his demeanor reeks of expression and yearning to respond.

The "I swear..." to me is Ennis swearing to never lose the moment or the man. I believe Ennis is placing time on hold for the rest of his life.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on October 27, 2006, 07:49:02 pm
HerrKaiser, this is the third post I've seen of yours and responded with "Very well put!" I feel like I'm following you around the boards going, "Yep!" to everything you say. I haven't seen you around before, so welcome to BetterMost.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on October 27, 2006, 08:01:41 pm
thank you latjoreme. Your comments are most appreciated and kindly accepted. I am brand new as of today...I'd previously been semi active on the Cullen board during the first 3 months of the year, and when I found out about this site, I joined today!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ifyoucantfixit on October 29, 2006, 03:58:12 am
I think when Ennis says Jack, I swear he is expressing his regrets for not allowing himself to be more open and to spend more quality time with Jack when he was alive. What I noticed at that scene, when Ennis is looking at the shirts, was a huge sense of loss in his face, not just because Jack was no longer around but because Ennis had little to remember him for. As Jack said, they spent a few times together in 20 years, and 20 years is a whole life. All Ennis had from the person he loved the most were the shirts and an old postcard of Brokeback Mountain. The real mountain, the real thing, as we can see through the little window at Ennis' trailer, was no longer there, but not because Jack had died but because Ennis himself had killed it. He killed it by spending those 20 years living in fear, keeping Jack away and breaking his heart over and over again.
jack i swear, i didnt know what to do...i think he was sad he couldnt do different than what he did...he recognized his own failure, and the pain they both suffered...because of it.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 30, 2006, 08:47:21 am
I just watched the movie for the 7th time since Feb 2006 when I first saw it and it still had a huge impact on me... and the "Jack, I swear..." seemed this time to also mean...

"Jack, I swear I didn't clearly know how much you cared for me, but since I found my old shirt with yours, I know, and Jack, the pain of knowin' is as deep as your love was for me.... I swear Jack, I loved you too and always will."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 30, 2006, 09:24:32 am
.... In fact, i find that people who are more outwardly expressive tend to be less inner-thinking and analytical about their feelings.... In my experience, the non-verbal communicators are often people who know themselves best.

Well, it's a kind of "notion" your expressing here, HerrKaiser, that people who talk a lot aren't as inward or reflective as people who don't, but isn't that a generalization? 

There are plenty of people who are "inner-thinking" i.e. reflective who also talk a lot; just as there are people who are quiet and appear very inward, but are actually just less eloquent than their "talker" buddies and not very reflective at all. 

And of course there are the shallow blabbermouths and the empty-headed silent types too, but even bringing them into consideration doesn't make a big enough picture for all of humanity.

I do however, agree with you about Ennis,  I just don't think the idea of the "silent reflective type" and the "shallow talker type" hold up very well when considering the diversity of human minds and characters in real life. 

That is what makes us so surprising.  Men and Women are always "breaking the molds and stereotypes" that others think up because in reality such molds are just concepts that take in only a small part of the big picture.  Simply put, they just aren't always true.

I'm glad to see the discussion pick up on this thread!   It's a good sign and I hope there's more to come.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: fernly on October 30, 2006, 02:30:35 pm
The "I swear..." to me is Ennis swearing to never lose the moment or the man. I believe Ennis is placing time on hold for the rest of his life.

I agree. I think the fact that the prologue is in the present tense, in contrast to the past tense of the rest of the story (except for the very last sentence) underlines the probability that Ennis is not going to move on to another lover, that he is existing in a 'timeless', ever 'present' state, emotionally. Physically aging, physically moving to his daughter's and then another ranch, but his emotions and inner life always with Jack, even when the wind dies for a moment, leaving a "temporary silence."

That last sentence in the story - "If you can't fix it, you've got to stand it" (that's a vow, isn't it) takes Ennis and us back to the prologue's present (and unchanging future) tense.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 30, 2006, 08:02:01 pm
I agree. I think the fact that the prologue is in the present tense, in contrast to the past tense of the rest of the story (except for the very last sentence) underlines the probability that Ennis is not going to move on to another lover, that he is existing in a 'timeless', ever 'present' state, emotionally. Physically aging, physically moving to his daughter's and then another ranch, but his emotions and inner life always with Jack, even when the wind dies for a moment, leaving a "temporary silence."

That last sentence in the story - "If you can't fix it, you've got to stand it" (that's a vow, isn't it) takes Ennis and us back to the prologue's present (and unchanging future) tense.

I see the reasoning behind this, but still like to think/believe Ennis may meet someone in his future too.
"If you can't fix it, you've got to stand it"...  I see him as understanding that "you can fix, sometimes too".  That statement includes both possibilities, can't and can.   Anyway, fiction is that way, we all make of it what we like beyond the actually ending.

Nice to hear from ya fernly! 

Cheers,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on October 30, 2006, 08:48:38 pm
but still like to think/believe Ennis may meet someone in his future too.


Oh to be the lucky one...
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on November 27, 2006, 11:04:16 pm
Bumping more essential BBM topics of discussion...
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on December 08, 2006, 10:02:54 am
Bumping more essential BBM topics of discussion...

Hey atz75.... What does that mean? 

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 28, 2007, 12:54:05 am
jack i swear, i didnt know what to do...i think he was sad he couldnt do different than what he did...he recognized his own failure, and the pain they both suffered...because of it.

Yeah, the worse pain is the pain of waking up too late to a situation you were not aware of, for whatever reason, then finding out the truth and seeing it clearly and it's painful because there's often no way to change it even though you would if you could... 

....it s a gnawing gut level pain that lingers for a long while. 

I really think Ennis was never fully aware of how much Jack cared for him, how deeply Jack's feelings ran....   
Ennis had too much going on maybe, or like some men, just didn't "get it" until it was too late to do anything about it.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Ladyeve on January 28, 2007, 08:06:37 am
I really think Ennis was never fully aware of how much Jack cared for him, how deeply Jack's feelings ran....  
Ennis had too much going on maybe, or like some men, just didn't "get it" until it was too late to do anything about it.

Rayn

It was the closest Ennis could come in making any kind of declaration of his love for Jack.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: UntamedFriesian on January 28, 2007, 03:53:25 pm
I think what Ennis meant by that line was that if he had it to do all over again he wouldn't have been so afraid to commit to Jack and he would have started that life with him and been happy.  I think when he was talking to his daughter about her upcoming marriage he realized then that life is what you make it and he'd made a big mistake by not committing to the one person in his life he really truly loved and now it was too late.

--Friesian
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on January 31, 2007, 11:55:47 am
It was the closest Ennis could come in making any kind of declaration of his love for Jack.


to me, 20 years of making very difficult time commitments to meet and the obvious desire to be with Jack moreso than his wife, as well as his apparent monogamous relationship with Jack (no other men), is quite a declaration of love. It seems many people like or need to see headlines and fireworks in order to believe what another person is feeling. Parenthetically, consider the rampant need by the media and public and politicians to get "apologies" for errors in judgment people make; it is never enough to know by body language, actions, changes in course, etc, that a person is repentant...people want the graveling, the 'on your knees and apologize' thing. Likewise, it seems that our pop culture has difficulty accepting a man like Ennis who is not a grandstanding, overt, love-exhibitionist type person. He is inward; his actions, movements, expressions, demonstrate his love for Jack. Witness his picking up Jack's saddle gear, unasked, and loading it into the pickup (last scene together). Then his nervous rubbing of the chrome, knowing his announcement of having to miss the August meeting would set Jack off. Ennis is insightful, caring, doing, helpful, commited and loving. It did not take Jack's death to make him realize what he had; yes, he did realize what he lost because Jack was gone, and his "I swear", again in my brain, is his commitment to continue his love and cherishing of Jack forever. Ennis will not be going to Mexico or the nearest gay bar for companionship; Jack will remain his man until his own end.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on February 14, 2007, 05:07:05 am
 to me, 20 years of making very difficult time commitments to meet and the obvious desire to be with Jack more so than his wife, as well as his apparent monogamous relationship with Jack (no other men), is quite a declaration of love.

Ennis who is not a grandstanding, overt, love-exhibitionist type person. He is inward; his actions, movements, expressions, demonstrate his love for Jack. "

Yes, this is very true and the rest you've written is very well said and insightful.  I agree with most of it, but still think, through no fault of his own, Ennis just had too many "irons in the fire of love" to see clearly that his best shot was Jack and when considering him, I am always drawn back to the knowledge of his intense fear of actually living with another man, that fear, hammered into him as a boy, crippled his chances for a comfortable love relationship with any man.  While Jack's death is terribly tragic, Ennis's fear is a great tragedy too.  Had Ennis never be traumatized by his father, he might have been able to work something better out with Jack where both were happier.

Peace,
Rayn


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 14, 2007, 12:01:40 pm
thanks Rayn, your points are interesting and I enjoy your insights.

But, we have to remember that even Jack said to Ennis, "why haven't you found anybody to marry". Alma did this as well, even though both knew perfectly well where Ennis' desires were focused. Such a set of mixed-messages can be confusing to anyone, particularly if he is living in the pre-out of the closet period, and definitely in a part of the country that is still limited in its open-armed acceptance of gay relationships. Ennis was being pulled in several directions and for a non verbal person, his responses to such would appropriately be silence, to a large extent. Had, after all their time together, I been Ennis, my response to Jack's query about getting married again would have been "what are you talking about? You b- -tch and moan about the time we don't spend together and now you're wondering why I don't get remarried?"

Remember also Jack never divorced his wife; while he claimed their marriage could be done "on the phone", he said he would hook up with Ennis but he never really put his money where his mouth was. Hence, Ennis, as insightful and feeling as he was, and not a mind reader or able to predict the future, used the data he had to make a very comfortable, workable, and enjoyable long term relationship.

Plus the 'actually living with another man' was, to me, a semi-permeable road block to what they may have had, but not a deal breaker. I do not think Ennis ever said that is what he wanted; rather he said it was what could get them in trouble. Very different.

Peace Rayn! and a great day!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on February 14, 2007, 02:46:44 pm
Remember also Jack never divorced his wife; while he claimed their marriage could be done "on the phone", he said he would hook up with Ennis but he never really put his money where his mouth was.
I think Jack very clearly would have left Lureen if he had a guarantee that Ennis would be there to pick up the pieces, and we have evidence in two scenes: at the campfire, post-reunion, when Jack states with aplomb that they could start up the "sweet life" with money that L.D. would likely give Jack for divorcing his daughter, and post-divorce, when Jack redlines it to Riverton with only Ennis's terse postcard to fuel his happiness that their moment has arrived.

I think Jack stayed with Lureen for the same reason he married her--for the material rewards and protection that the union afforded him. But he would have chucked it all if Ennis had shown any willingness to forge the kind of life that Jack really wanted for the both of them.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 14, 2007, 04:11:50 pm
But, we have to remember that even Jack said to Ennis, "why haven't you found anybody to marry". Alma did this as well, even though both knew perfectly well where Ennis' desires were focused.

I think I know xactly why Jack said this. He thought if Ennis married again then Jack would be able to quit him and at last have peace. But it wouldn't have happened. I know, I've been in that boat before.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on February 14, 2007, 04:32:04 pm
I think I know xactly why Jack said this. He thought if Ennis married again then Jack would be able to quit him and at last have peace. But it wouldn't have happened. I know, I've been in that boat before.
My take on this was that Jack was concerned for Ennis's happiness and comfort--he thought that Ennis, by marrying, might feel less lonely and have more purpose than by being on his own. Jack and Alma both broach the subject of remarriage with Ennis, despite their hurt and abiding love for him.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 14, 2007, 04:44:34 pm
My take on this was that Jack was concerned for Ennis's happiness and comfort--he thought that Ennis, by marrying, might feel less lonely and have more purpose than by being on his own. Jack and Alma both broach the subject of remarriage with Ennis, despite their hurt and abiding love for him.
Yes, I agree with that as well.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 14, 2007, 06:55:46 pm
I think less of Jack if indeed he married for the money and stayed married for the money. Maybe, if that is true, Ennis would have sensed this and hence been a bit squeamish about the reasons Jack gives for a 'living together commitment'.

This is getting off subject, but all's fair if you are OK with this....

Jack may have taken the high road and attempted to martyr himself by suggesting to Ennis he get remarried. Such an act would have surely reduced if not eliminated the time he and Jack spent together. But, I think not. I believe it was Jack's way of either 1) trying to get Ennis to say 'no, I want you' or 2) setting the stage of his leaving Ennis for Randall.

Either way, it was not 100% honest, in my opinion. On the other hand, Ennis' reaction was pure and utter Ennis....his shifting, his eyes, his facial demeanor all exuded the powerful love he felt for Jack, but Jack seemed to have had a blockage to this way in which Ennis communicated.

Back to the "...I swear..." subject; this goes full circle. Ennis in ONLY TWO WORDS spoke a lifetime of love and commitment. Jack would never have heard this or felt it, which is not to demean wonderful Jack...he just needed alot of overt attention and he admitted this.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Cameron on February 14, 2007, 07:28:18 pm
In my opinion I really believe that Jack was asking Ennis if he would get married again because like he did a lot he was pushing Ennis to say what he couldn't say.

Just like when Ennis said ' I'm sending a prayer of thanks' and Jack asked 'for what?'.  Wasn't it obvious what the prayer of thanks was for?

But to me Jack had to push Ennis, but Ennis said as much as he was able to.

Then when Jack asked Ennis about getting married, I think he knew that Ennis could not marry again, and why he wouldn't, but again Jack was trying to get Ennis to say things that he couldn't say in words.

I do think that Ennis was very obvious with his feelings all along, but Jack could not understand all the signals Ennis was always sending him.

JMHO

As to 'I swear', you know that is one of the few lines that I have still not really be able to put any meanings to.  I have many ideas but actually, I dunno, this one is still a mystery to me in many ways.

I think it obviously could mean a whole lot of things depending on one's own interpretion.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on February 14, 2007, 07:44:06 pm
Back to the "...I swear..." subject; this goes full circle. Ennis in ONLY TWO WORDS spoke a lifetime of love and commitment. Jack would never have heard this or felt it, which is not to demean wonderful Jack...he just needed alot of overt attention and he admitted this.
Nicely put. I feel that we see Ennis's entire life story writ on his face at this closing moment; it's harrowing and beautiful all at once.

Going back to Proulx's original story, Ennis's all-important affirmation is followed by the authorial (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) "though Jack had never asked him to swear anything, and was not himself the swearing kind." It's a cryptic phrase, and makes the pain of the moment all the more heart-rending. Jack is gone, but he very much lives on in Ennis's heart and dreams (Ennis literally begins to see him in his dreams at this point in the tale), and Ennis feels the need to affirm, however haltingly, what Jack and Brokeback meant and continue to mean to him. Jack's own affirmation remained silent and private (the hidden intertwined shirts).
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 14, 2007, 08:51:33 pm
Nicely put. I feel that we see Ennis's entire life story writ on his face at this closing moment; it's harrowing and beautiful all at once.

Going back to Proulx's original story, Ennis's all-important affirmation is followed by the authorial (and I'm paraphrasing from memory) "though Jack had never asked him to swear anything, and was not himself the swearing kind." It's a cryptic phrase, and makes the pain of the moment all the more heart-rending. Jack is gone, but he very much lives on in Ennis's heart and dreams (Ennis literally begins to see him in his dreams at this point in the tale), and Ennis feels the need to affirm, however haltingly, what Jack and Brokeback meant and continue to mean to him. Jack's own affirmation remained silent and private (the hidden intertwined shirts).

Thanks for this insight, and isn't this the irony? Jack wasn't the swearing kind, yet it was he who was so vocal about attention. In death, Jack was not 'nagging' about what he did not have; rather, the "silent and private" Jack was now exactly parallel to what Ennis is in life, and Ennis promises to remain alligiant to this newly crystalized love.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on February 15, 2007, 12:54:55 am
I think Jack very clearly would have left Lureen if he had a guarantee that Ennis would be there to pick up the pieces, and we have evidence in two scenes: at the campfire, post-reunion, when Jack states with aplomb that they could start up the "sweet life" with money that L.D. would likely give Jack for divorcing his daughter, and post-divorce, when Jack redlines it to Riverton with only Ennis's terse postcard to fuel his happiness that their moment has arrived.


I agree with moremojo all the way.... There is also the fact that when Jack read about Ennis and Alma's divorce in the newspaper, he hauled ass to Ennis thinking this "was it".... He and Ennis could be together at last.   How sad that he misunderstood that situation. 

And HerrKaiser's point about the TWO WORDS, "I swear" is good too, but there are two other words that could be remembered when considering why Ennis never remarried.  When Alma speaks of her concerned that Ennis hasn't remarried, Ennis' answer is very clear, "ONCE BURNED..." 

 I see Ennis as a very sensitive man, quiet, but very deep and the pain of his childhood, the loss of his folks, the very hard life he had was a whole lot for anyone to handle. 

I think Ennis never remarried because although he didn't express it verbally he clearly loved Jack and couldn't take on any more emotional involvement.  He did afterall, have the open offer from the waitress that he dated for a while.... (I can't recall her name).  She wanted to marry him.

No, Ennis just felt he couldn't take anymore pain caused by getting involved with another lover in his life. As far as solid and deeply emotional relationships, Jack, in the end, was all he really had and all he could handle, which make the loss of Jack even sadder for him.

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on February 16, 2007, 12:46:56 pm
In my opinion I really believe that Jack was asking Ennis if he would get married again because like he did a lot he was pushing Ennis to say what he couldn't say.

Just like when Ennis said ' I'm sending a prayer of thanks' and Jack asked 'for what?'.  Wasn't it obvious what the prayer of thanks was for?

But to me Jack had to push Ennis, but Ennis said as much as he was able to.

This is my take on it, too. Jack was baiting Ennis, trying to get Ennis to admit WHY he hadn't got married again. Ennis couldn't say it outright. On the other hand, his indifferent and lackluster description of his relationship with Cassie speaks volumes. Again, Jack should have been able to read between the lines.

Quote
As to 'I swear', you know that is one of the few lines that I have still not really be able to put any meanings to.  I have many ideas but actually, I dunno, this one is still a mystery to me in many ways.

I think it obviously could mean a whole lot of things depending on one's own interpretion.

I think it not only could mean a whole lot of things, I think it actually DOES mean a whole lot of things, all at once!
 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on February 16, 2007, 11:34:41 pm
I think it not only could mean a whole lot of things, I think it actually DOES mean a whole lot of things, all at once!

Well, you know I agree with this.  And I think that this is the part that is intended for each audience member to "finish the story" in his or her own way (based on whatever personal inclinations might lead to a particular interpretation and/ or based on all the conclusions the audience member has come to after watching the movie and trying to navigate all the other ambiguous moments throughout the film).  I also think this is a way of conveying the idea of the "open space" in what Ennis knows and tries to believe.  Annie, I think uses the "I swear..." line in the story to reinforce that great line about the "open space".  In the film (and probably the story too) if a person is inclined to be a romantic/ to be optimistic, etc. they might fill in Ennis's sentence in a very different way than if they have a negative view of how the relationship developed over the 20 yrs. 

Essentially, I think it's intentional that there is no right or wrong answer to how Ennis completes his sentence.  And there's even the option that there is no thought after "I swear..."  Maybe that's just all there is... Maybe that is the complete thought (even though it doesn't sound like it's a complete thought).  The possibilities are flexible and very numerous (though probably not infinite if one wants to remain within the bounds of likelihood and probability given what we know about film-Ennis, etc.). 


The more I think about it, the more it seems that this final sentence and the flashback absolutely define the film.  Can you imagine how different this movie would seem without either one of those elements?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Cameron on February 17, 2007, 12:30:22 am
Hi,

Amanda, I think that you are so right, you made me finally realize something.  The way I have been thinking about BBM is that each line and each scene has an intentional deeper meaning, something that AP and also the screenwriters and even Heath and Jake had in their interpretations. I have been thinking that the real meaning can only be figured out once you understand the whole story and the symbolism and everything else.  The real meaning is most often different than what the line or the scene really suggests on the surface.  To me there is one story on the surface and with literal interpretations, and a whole other story when every thing is analyzed and put all together.

For example I agree with you totally about the dozy embrace.  I have still been watching parts every single day, and the past few days I have been focussing on it.  I do agree that the dozy embrace is perhaps the key to everything.  On the surface it does appear to just be about Jack remembering a more pleasant memory.  But now its importance has grown.  There is so little really between TS 2 and the trip down the mountain, and aside from the reunion so little contact and affection the whole time.  But the dozy embrace, that was what it was really like, that was how much Ennis felt at the end of the summer, that was what they both really lived for for the next twenty years, and that only scratches the surface of the DE.

But anyway, I haven't thought as much about 'I swear' as so many other lines, but I realize and believe that unlike so much else, there is not one true meaning to be discovered.  It was intentionally meant as the mirror for us to look at and reflect back on ourselves and intentally left as the place to say, this is what I believe it all means.

If this all makes any sense at all.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on February 17, 2007, 01:31:40 pm
The more I think about it, the more it seems that this final sentence and the flashback absolutely define the film.
The flashback was a pivotal moment for me on my first viewing; this was the moment when I realized that Jack and Ennis had fallen in love on the mountain, during that summer of 1963 (the love was apparent before this point in the film, but I wasn't sure when, in their chronology, it happened--until this moment). The dozy embrace colors how we see everything the film has presented to us before this point; it's a masterful stroke.

The film's closing scene is the absolute key to the whole work. Everything else has been leading up to this point. Ennis has made a momentous journey of the heart and the spirit, and we've gone along with him. And the ending is open-ended--is Ennis going through the motions, living only in memory and waiting to die (a pessimistic interpretation), or is his journey continuing, his heart open to new possibilities (as his decision to attend Junior's wedding might suggest)? We are compelled to become active agents in the creative process here, and must 'finish the story' for Ennis and for ourselves.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 17, 2007, 02:10:25 pm
Jack was baiting Ennis, trying to get Ennis to admit WHY he hadn't got married again.
 


If this is true, Jack is being disingenuous and lying again; being manipulative. He is not being direct and honest with the man he purports to be in love with for 20 years. Poor Jack had felt the need to lie several times and as such I think his character evolves in stark contrast to the goodness, purity, and honesty of Ennis.

...which makes Ennis' "I swear" life commitment even more deep, sincere, loving, and true.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: lachlan on February 19, 2007, 12:34:28 pm
I had a notion that Ennis doesn't finish his statement, "Jack, I swear... " because what he is doing at that moment is a small, undeveloped ritual at what is, in effect, a shrine. He probably visits this shrine repeatedly and often speaks to Jack's spirit. But his character is still embarassed by his own thoughts, desires and actions. Therefore, he stops himself before he goes too far. This is consistent with all we have seen of him; frightened to commit himself even in secret. He shuts the door of his closet after this unfinished line, but I reckon he will open it again after sundown; he will fondle the shirts again for a moment, look at the postcard and say something like, "You know, Jack....  I, uh.... " and then he'll shut it again and go to bed. Next morning, he'll open it again and....

I learned long ago that bears - and other social animals such as elephants - perform a ritual around the body of one of their own dead. If they cannot do this, on account of the body being taken away by a hunter, for example, they tend to brood for years after; revisiting the site and trying to come to terms with the disappearance. Ennis missed Jack's funeral. He was denied the opportunity to take the ashes to BBM. Therefore he will continue to repeat this uncomplete "swearing" for as long as he draws breath.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on February 19, 2007, 01:30:17 pm
You have much insight, thank you for sharing it with us.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on February 20, 2007, 12:45:33 pm
If this is true, Jack is being disingenuous and lying again; being manipulative. He is not being direct and honest with the man he purports to be in love with for 20 years. Poor Jack had felt the need to lie several times and as such I think his character evolves in stark contrast to the goodness, purity, and honesty of Ennis.

That's a little hard on Jack, IMO. I don't blame Jack for trying to draw Ennis out about his sexuality. He wasn't planning to use the information against him -- Jack has good reason to be interested and deserves to know how Ennis feels. Ennis, meanwhile, has not been exactly forthcoming with Jack on this subject. When he describes Cassie, we can hear in his voice that he's unexcited about her, but he doesn't openly say that to Jack, he pretends to be interested in her, when even his dating her is a form of dishonesty.

As for Jack lying, he usually does it in ways that show him caring for Ennis -- for example, when he doesn't mention Aguirre knowing about them, or doesn't mention having taken the shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jack makes some mistakes and Ennis does the best he can. I'm usually the one defending Ennis against harsh judgment. But I don't blame Jack in this case, nor see a stark contrast between them in terms of honesty or integrity.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on February 20, 2007, 02:16:50 pm
Therefore he will continue to repeat this uncomplete "swearing" for as long as he draws breath.
This is one of the most interesting elucidations of the story's close I have encountered. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on February 20, 2007, 09:23:29 pm
That's a little hard on Jack, IMO. I don't blame Jack for trying to draw Ennis out about his sexuality. He wasn't planning to use the information against him -- Jack has good reason to be interested and deserves to know how Ennis feels. Ennis, meanwhile, has not been exactly forthcoming with Jack on this subject. When he describes Cassie, we can hear in his voice that he's unexcited about her, but he doesn't openly say that to Jack, he pretends to be interested in her, when even his dating her is a form of dishonesty.

As for Jack lying, he usually does it in ways that show him caring for Ennis -- for example, when he doesn't mention Aguirre knowing about them, or doesn't mention having taken the shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jack makes some mistakes and Ennis does the best he can. I'm usually the one defending Ennis against harsh judgment. But I don't blame Jack in this case, nor see a stark contrast between them in terms of honesty or integrity.



Yes, I guess that was just a little hard on Jack, but each time I screen the film, Jack becomes more a pathetic figure in that he overtly exemplifies the person who cannot accept and fully enjoy what he has, rather he spends much energy on what he has not. Clearly Ennis knows that Jack is tempermental; rubbing his thumb on the truck chrome in nervous anticipation of telling Jack about his need to cancel August plans. Ennis does his very best to be fair, compassionate, understanding, caring for jack, yet Jack sees the glass always half full. "there's never enough time..." that is a complaint that sadly diminishes all the goodness they had for 20 years.

In Jack's frustration, albeit in my opinion a frustration that is shamelessly mishad, he does seem to need to covertly play a cat and mouse game with sweet Ennis that, after 20 years, seems ever so immature.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on February 20, 2007, 11:36:31 pm
In Jack's frustration, albeit in my opinion a frustration that is shamelessly mishad, he does seem to need to covertly play a cat and mouse game with sweet Ennis that, after 20 years, seems ever so immature.

Your sympathy for Ennis is certainly a refreshing and welcome view!  :D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: sock on February 28, 2007, 12:53:26 pm
Funny, people interpret these words all over the place, which is fine. However, from the book and film I always felt that the words "Jack, I swear...." are words of regret, that Ennis would have done things differently. I think it is that simple. He feels his loss every day and it's never going to leave him and if he had another chance, things would have been different.

BTW, Heath nailed that scene.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on February 28, 2007, 02:28:54 pm
Funny, people interpret these words all over the place, which is fine. However, from the book and film I always felt that the words "Jack, I swear...." are words of regret, that Ennis would have done things differently. I think it is that simple. He feels his loss every day and it's never going to leave him and if he had another chance, things would have been different.

BTW, Heath nailed that scene.

Well put, sock. And congratulations on your first post! Welcome to BetterMost -- it's nice to have a new voice contributing to these conversations.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on March 01, 2007, 01:11:59 am
That's a little hard on Jack, IMO. I don't blame Jack for trying to draw Ennis out about his sexuality. He wasn't planning to use the information against him -- Jack has good reason to be interested and deserves to know how Ennis feels. Ennis, meanwhile, has not been exactly forthcoming with Jack on this subject. When he describes Cassie, we can hear in his voice that he's unexcited about her, but he doesn't openly say that to Jack, he pretends to be interested in her, when even his dating her is a form of dishonesty.

As for Jack lying, he usually does it in ways that show him caring for Ennis -- for example, when he doesn't mention Aguirre knowing about them, or doesn't mention having taken the shirt.

Don't get me wrong, I think Jack makes some mistakes and Ennis does the best he can. I'm usually the one defending Ennis against harsh judgment. But I don't blame Jack in this case, nor see a stark contrast between them in terms of honesty or integrity.

Heya,

I'm just popping in here to say I think this was really nicely said, Friend!  :D  I think you're right that both boys make mistakes and both try hard to manage their situation as best they can under very strained circumstances.  Neither one is perfect, and that's part of the realism of the film.  I think that the issue of "blame" directed towards either Jack or Ennis has led to some of the most heated (and often interesting) debates around here.  I think it's all always a balancing act between them.  And sometimes the "bad" behavior on the part of one of the boys is actually in reaction to the "bad" behavior of the other (and I think we could all find examples for both Jack and Ennis pretty easily).  At this late stage of their relationship being discussed here... there are so many compounded strains on their relationship that the issue of "blame" one way or the other is in no way clear cut.  Years and years of hiding... years and years of both of them deceiving the women in their lives... white lies that both of them have told each other... frustration at not having enough time together and at not allowing the relationship to grow beyond the singular environment of isolated camping trips... etc.  All of these factors (and many more) have led both Jack and Ennis to make poor decisions at various times.  Katherine, you know I think you're right when you note that sometimes Jack was very carefully deciding what he would or wouldn't tell Ennis out of a desire to both protect Ennis and to protect their relationship.

In terms of the idea of integrity... Ennis's comments about Cassie (and even the disrespectful way he describes sleeping with her) are not exactly all that "honorable," especially since we know she's part of Ennis's plan to appear straight in his daily life, and according to the wierd Brokeback timeline he's probably been dating her for about 4 years by the time he describes her as some "waitress" to Jack.  And, Jack's quite "dishonorable" decision to search out prostitutes and to date other guys can be said to be a reaction to his frustration at not having enough time or permanent time with Ennis.  None of these things are ideal forms of behavior.  But, again, these poor decisions have been forged under very complex pressures... and often due to one of our cowboys generating some kind of pressure that the other responds to.  Everything with Jack and Ennis is a push and pull... the good and the bad stuff.
 :-\
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: David In Indy on March 01, 2007, 01:40:42 am
Sorry if this has already been mentioned (I hate duplicating ideas) but I haven't scrolled back and read all of the posts in this thread. We say "I swear" here in the Midwest all the time. Actually I was very surpirised at all the confusion over this. It's a very familiar term with Midwesterners, and it can mean a whole host of things, depending on the situation.

"I swear I wish I remembered to bring my charge card with me" (Self admonition for forgetting to bring the charge card)

"I swear I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday" (Reassuring the listener that the speaker, after much thought, honestly cannot remember)

"I swear I didn't do that" (sincere promise)

"I swear if you ever do that again..." (a threat to the listener)

"Jack.... I swear" (In this case, I think Ennis is musing on all the chances he had with Jack and missed out on. Ennis is saying "Jack, I swear if I had the chance to do this all over again, things would turn out different") or {"I can't believe I let this all slip away").

Now, I SWEAR I will go back and read all these posts, and find out this has already been mentioned a dozen times!

Sorry about that folks!  :D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: lachlan on March 01, 2007, 09:49:37 am
Thanks for that - very valuable and informative. I'm sure Annie Proulx knew that expression and used it accordingly.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Jeff Wrangler on March 01, 2007, 10:24:02 am
Heya,

I'm just popping in here to say I think this was really nicely said, Friend!  :D  I think you're right that both boys make mistakes and both try hard to manage their situation as best they can under very strained circumstances.  Neither one is perfect, and that's part of the realism of the film.  I think that the issue of "blame" directed towards either Jack or Ennis has led to some of the most heated (and often interesting) debates around here.  I think it's all always a balancing act between them.  And sometimes the "bad" behavior on the part of one of the boys is actually in reaction to the "bad" behavior of the other (and I think we could all find examples for both Jack and Ennis pretty easily).  At this late stage of their relationship being discussed here... there are so many compounded strains on their relationship that the issue of "blame" one way or the other is in no way clear cut.  Years and years of hiding... years and years of both of them deceiving the women in their lives... white lies that both of them have told each other... frustration at not having enough time together and at not allowing the relationship to grow beyond the singular environment of isolated camping trips... etc.  All of these factors (and many more) have led both Jack and Ennis to make poor decisions at various times.  Katherine, you know I think you're right when you note that sometimes Jack was very carefully deciding what he would or wouldn't tell Ennis out of a desire to both protect Ennis and to protect their relationship.

In terms of the idea of integrity... Ennis's comments about Cassie (and even the disrespectful way he describes sleeping with her) are not exactly all that "honorable," especially since we know she's part of Ennis's plan to appear straight in his daily life, and according to the wierd Brokeback timeline he's probably been dating her for about 4 years by the time he describes her as some "waitress" to Jack.  And, Jack's quite "dishonorable" decision to search out prostitutes and to date other guys can be said to be a reaction to his frustration at not having enough time or permanent time with Ennis.  None of these things are ideal forms of behavior.  But, again, these poor decisions have been forged under very complex pressures... and often due to one of our cowboys generating some kind of pressure that the other responds to.  Everything with Jack and Ennis is a push and pull... the good and the bad stuff.
 :-\

Thanks for that, Amanda. Reading through it, I'm reminded of the comment that I guess goes all the way back to Annie Proulx herself, that these two poor guys find themselves in a really impossible situation. I guess all the lies and deceptions may ultimately be rooted in the impossibility of their situation, and maybe in the end assigning "blame" is fruitless and perhaps even pointless.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on March 23, 2007, 01:35:14 am
We say "I swear" here in the Midwest all the time. ... It's a very familiar term with Midwesterners, and it can mean a whole host of things, depending on the situation

I just stopped by to say howdy and see how this thread is going... and it's going still!   Thanks for your post David, and welcome to Sock too!   

Since I started this thread, so long ago, I don't think I've heard anyone but David and I who've said that "I swear..." can just mean "I declare!" as in "I swear Jack, life is tough without you." or as in the ways David mentions.   Though there continue to be many ways to hear and feel that line, I do, like David, hear the great regret Ennis is feeling and agree with David's conclusion.  Until he finds their shirts together, I honestly don't think Ennis ever knew how deeply Jack loved him.

I'd also like say something about the ideals "goodness, purity, and honesty" where Ennis and Jack are concerned, or for that matter, where anyone's concerned and I hope I can say this without sounding too "preachy".  I know some people can't stand that, but goodness, purity and honesty are ideals that arise in the human mind and which few human beings are able to live out perfectly.  We all, to some degree or another, embody those ideals; and because they are ideas/ideals imposed upon living imperfect beings, we all embody none of them. 

If that's not too deep or complex a conclusion to make here, I hope it will at least add a little light to the overall discussion and maybe even advance it some too.

Yours truly,
Rayn

PS: I think I'll watch the movie again this weekend.  I'm not "obsessed" with it anymore like after I first saw it, thank goodness, but I get a bit more out of it every time I see it and I never cease to enjoy it.   Like all great art, it just hasn't grown old for me.   

I will have to do one thing first though....  buy a box of kleenex!  LOL   :laugh:     It always "gets me good" no matter how many times I've seen it.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on March 23, 2007, 01:49:29 am
I just stopped by to say howdy and see how this thread is going... and it's going still!   Thanks for your post David, and welcome to Sock too!   

Hey Bud!  Nice to see you.  Yup, this thread is certainly a classic.  It's one of those topics that doesn't get old and can be analyzed at great length (clearly)!

Quote
Until he finds their shirts together, I honestly don't think Ennis ever knew how deeply Jack loved him.

Well, I believe Ennis knew how deeply Jack loved him while Jack was still alive.  But, I wonder if Ennis realized how long Jack had been so deeply in love.  The shirts might have surprised Ennis in making him realize that Jack was already so deeply in love during the Brokeback summer.  Does Ennis's discovery of the shirts make him realize that he was deeply in love with Jack already by the end of the Brokeback summer too?  He seems aware of the intensity of his emotions towards Jack pretty early (especially story-Ennis... since he tells Jack *why* he had the dry heaves after Jack left that summer). 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on March 23, 2007, 02:16:41 am
Hey Bud!  Nice to see you.  Yup, this thread is certainly a classic.  It's one of those topics that doesn't get old and can be analyzed at great length (clearly)!

I wonder if Ennis realized how long Jack had been so deeply in love.  The shirts might have surprised Ennis in making him realize that Jack was already so deeply in love during the Brokeback summer.  Does Ennis's discovery of the shirts make him realize that he was deeply in love with Jack already by the end of the Brokeback summer too?  He seems aware of the intensity of his emotions towards Jack pretty early (especially story-Ennis... since he tells Jack *why* he had the dry heaves after Jack left that summer). 

Yes, you're right.  It is however pretty clear, in terms of awareness, that Ennis is slower than Jack.  Perhaps finding their shirts does make him aware, deeply aware, that he was in love with Jack from the git-go. 

Now I know it's not reasonable, but I can't help but think of Ennis in terms of how I myself would have responded to Jack if I met a guy like Jack one summer in an alpine setting.....   :laugh:   

Silly, ain't I?!   

Ennis was/is not a 21st century man with all the awareness of post liberation history and experience to help him.  Ennis and Jack were men of their times and so much of those times were full of violence, fear and repression.   Those were the making of much sadness, but the wonder of the story is the Power of Love-- "A Force of Nature"  eh?!  And the lengths we go to keep it alive!   

Good to see you too, atz75 !   :)

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 10, 2007, 09:45:02 pm
"Jack, I swear..."  

What do you think Ennis meant by that?  
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 10, 2007, 09:51:13 pm
Interesting in many, many ways!!

Could it be that Ennis says, in thinking about Jack, therefore to Jack this in a way:


He (Ennis) is now brave!! ??  So, I (Ennis) will now be brave too like you were being an open person Jack!! ??

Jack I swear, said by Ennis, is powerful in unknown ways!! ??

Your comments from you all, would be great!!

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 11, 2007, 12:50:54 am
Artiste,

    I have thought too that Ennis could mean, "Jack, I swear I'll live a different, more open life now because of you."  And there is even an indication of this when Ennis makes a decision to be at his daughter's wedding instead of isolating like he often does to protect himself from life's pain and trouble.

    I'm one who wants to believe Ennis gets better, lives more openly, moves to Denver or some other larger western city, meets someone and finds a close friendship with another person.   But I do think it would take him time to get used to Jack's not being there for him.  I don't think he could ever let the memory of Jack go, but I do think he could move on and live a better life, in time.   But all this is just a wish made of a fantasy, not just for Ennis, but for everyone.

Life goes on with or without us, huh?
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 11, 2007, 09:28:30 am
Jack I swear, said by Ennis, is powerful in unknown ways!! ??
Artiste, you've honed in on an essential element of this key scene. The line would lose a considerable amount of its power were it to explicitly include any or all of the speculations that others like we Brokies have added to it. The line is haunting in part because it is open-ended...allowing us to finish the story in our own lives and hearts as Ms. Proulx intended.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 11, 2007, 11:15:03 am
Thanks Ryan!

I do like your comment. And find that that could be so.

Last night in bed, an idea about that came to me, but I can not remember it now.
Maybe, it will come back... concerning Jack' I swear, as said by Ennis.

Maybe you know, Ryan, that I have lived that situation of Ennis, because I have lost my partner/lover to, I figure, a killer of gays. And nearly everyday I think about my pal and still consider him to be alive in some ways as in my mind and heart!! It is hard I state, and I feel that he communicates with me... somehow; even think, that we (mother and I) had (real) sign of his communications many days after his death!! Anyway, life does go on as you say... and even if my buddy was Wayne (like he was Jack), he and I had difficulties like in the BBM movie. It remains that why we live and why we do past away, is a question even in Annie's story!! ??


As you say: Life goes on with or without us, huh?
That is like the BBM  movie, I guess??

May I note that some men, only loves another man, and will not find another!! I have heard of some men never seeking to find another lover (woman or man) after being refused once, or after the death of the other person.
That I wonder why? Do you?

Awaiting your news,

hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 11, 2007, 11:18:52 am
Thanks moremojo!

You say this:
Artiste, you've honed in on an essential element of this key scene. The line would lose a considerable amount of its power were it to explicitly include any or all of the speculations that others like we Brokies have added to it. The line is haunting in part because it is open-ended...allowing us to finish the story in our own lives and hearts as Ms. Proulx intended.
...

May I say that I agree with you. And that it is great that we can think in many ways about it.
And I still find ways of thought never known yet! That is great!

Annie does a wonderful thing, story!! Did she write those words in her story: Jack, I swear...??

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 11, 2007, 11:39:45 am
May I note that some men, only loves another man, and will not find another!! I have heard of some men never seeking to find another lover (woman or man) after being refused once, or after the death of the other person.
That I wonder why? Do you?

I guess some people feel they cannot love again once they have loved "a forever love".   I respect that, but I am not like that.  I think most people need love, to give it and to receive it while we live and so, I have been lucky enough to have loved more than once, have had three real loves and I'm open to meeting someone else, but there hasn't been anyone in a long time who I've fallen for.  I guess when you've had "the best" you get picky about the rest!  LOL 

But honestly, each man and woman is different and we all have our own ways of loving. We are all unique whether with someone as a couple or single
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 11, 2007, 11:45:26 am
Thanks Ryan!

You say this:
  I guess when you've had "the best" you get picky about the rest!
...

Maybe Ennis says Jack, I swear... you are the best!!
Yes, maybe Ennis means Jack you are the best!!

You might be on to something there Ryan?? !!

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 11, 2007, 12:20:44 pm
Annie does a wonderful thing, story!! Did she write those words in her story: Jack, I swear...??
Oh yes...this line comes very near the end of Annie's original story, though the story doesn't quite end at this point, like the movie does. The last lines of the story are actually Ennis's inner reflection that "if you can't fix it, you've got to stand it" (quote paraphrased from memory).

I'd highly recommend reading the original story, if you have not yet done so. The movie does a superlative job of translating Annie's vision onto the screen--one of the best film adaptations of a written work ever. And look for a copy with the italicized prologue...included in all printings subsequent to to the original publication in the October 13, 1997 issue of The New Yorker, where this important segment was omitted due to editorial oversight.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 11, 2007, 12:26:46 pm
Thanks moremojo!

I will check my copy.

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 11, 2007, 02:28:22 pm
Scott, you got that quote exactly right xcept you put in a comma whereas Annie did not. Excellent memory! It's interesting and haunting to me that Annie Proulx says that Ennis swore to Jack even though Jack had never asked him to and was not the swearing kind. How sad that Ennis's oath to Jack comes too late, and what a lesson for all of us. First, that we must identify and express our deepest emotions, and secondly that we must ASK for that from our beloved.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 11, 2007, 09:22:55 pm
Interesting Front-Ranger!!

You say this in part:
How sad that Ennis's oath to Jack comes too late, and what a lesson for all of us. First, that we must identify and express our deepest emotions, and secondly that we must ASK for that from our beloved.
...

I am wondering now since Ennis is saying  Jack, I swear... if this is an oath, could that be like a mariage oath??

Awaiting  reply from you and from all,

hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 12, 2007, 09:24:28 am
I am wondering now since Ennis is saying  Jack, I swear... if this is an oath, could that be like a mariage oath??
Some have certainly interpreted it as such, and this is bolstered by the fact that, in the film, the line comes right after Junior's visit and news about her impending marriage. Others see the line as affirming Ennis's undying devotion to Jack, whether or not his feelings consciously incorporate notions of marriage.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 12, 2007, 10:11:58 am
Thanks moremojo! If Jack, I swear... as said by Ennis like a mariage oath, than Ennis also means Jack is his only man he loves!! ?? Will ever love maybe??

What do you think, and all ??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 12, 2007, 11:11:31 am
I just got an epiphany...

What if "Jack I swear..." meant, I swear to stand it (since he couldn't fix it).

???

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on April 12, 2007, 02:28:09 pm
I just got an epiphany...

What if "Jack I swear..." meant, I swear to stand it (since he couldn't fix it).

???




yes, I think that is exactly right. Ennis, to me, is stating that he will prevail, go on, continue forever to be Jack's man, to never forget, to hold Jack near to his heart, to honor their love and relationship....all in spite of his humble life of solitude in a trailer. He will "stand it" because, as such, he is giving himself to Jack and Jack's memory. this is not an uncommon emotion; people feel they want to or need to carry a load for a loved one, and their own coping capabilities to "stand it" add to their own sense of doing the right thing. it is a bit of the martyr syndrome, but in Ennis' case, I truly believe he is simply extending his 20 year long feelings for Jack and like so many human conditions, the words had not left his lips before, but they were always in his heart.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 12, 2007, 10:00:30 pm
That is so beautiful and true, Herr!

I was listening to an interview with the late and great Kurt Vonnegut tonite and he talked about how Billy Pilgrim, the protagonist of Slaughterhouse Five, suffered from Survivor's Syndrome, or being ashamed of being alive. I thought maybe Ennis suffered from that too.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 12, 2007, 11:11:26 pm
Survivor's Syndrome, I wonder if I have that since I can not stop thinking about my past lover/partner/pal, and about other past pals too!!

You think Ennis has That: Survivor's Syndrome!! ??

By saying Jack, I swear... and by keeping the shirts, plus the postcard of Brokeback Mountain where they did meet and were happy together!! ??

What is: Survivor's Syndrome??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 12, 2007, 11:47:59 pm
Kurt Vonnegut was a soldier during WW2 in the sacking of Dresden...and he wrote about it in his masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five.

The syndrome was tied to the Halocaust but there isn't any reason it can't relate to the loss of any beloved.

Here is more about it.


http://www.leadpencil.net/survivor.html (http://www.leadpencil.net/survivor.html)

With hopes for your peace and resolution.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on April 13, 2007, 01:46:05 am
Yes, I think Survivor's Syndrome applies to war, plane crashes, epidemics and anything else where some people die and others, purely by chance, do not. The people who survive are left wondering  what made them deserving of life, when others they knew who appeared equally deserving (or perhaps seemed MORE so) did not survive. We're taught in our culture and religions that our fates are based on our past good behavior, or by our potential for future good behavior. So if we survive the catastrophe, it's like we were worthy of being spared, but in fact we may not feel particularly worthy. Our survival is largely probably due to chance and luck. The guilt that results is survivor's syndrome.

Religion is, in part, supposed to help us make sense of the cruelties of fate. Here is where it really drops the ball. Because fate is often more chance than anything else. What moment did you cross the street? What seat did you choose? Did you decide to stay home from the party that night?

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 13, 2007, 09:41:09 am
Thanks Front-Ranger and ineedcrayons!!

I do not know if I have Survivor's Syndrome!!  It could be that, and for many reasons, as in many, many experiences.

I will have to re-read, as I do not understand, since I am nervous about this right now. Later on, mutilple readings and thoughts about it, might help me understand!!

For now, I copied this from that text:
People whose personality and development were not yet fully formed were thrown into a hostile environment. The threat of death was unrelenting, and human rights were nonexistent. Individuals who were not ready to deal with this sort of situation were forced to cope in varying ways.
...

To that, I say that I was in hostile environnment many times, in more that one experiences, considering my own life, as some of you know. Will talk about that on other occasions. When asked.

For now, I am still puzzled as to why my friend life was not spared in the hospital about two years ago, because I figure that doctor(s) killed him.

That is my puzzle: that the doctor(s) and his family did NOT help him, in that hospital!! I consider that like the gays were sent by the SS in those camps to be murdered because they were homosexual men!! That I think is happening now!! It was the case of my friend... my partner/buddy/lover (Wayne)... I consider, even if I tried to save his life!! Hard to understand??

Pray that that will not be the case for me, because I am a gay man!!

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: HerrKaiser on April 13, 2007, 10:56:56 am
Kurt Vonnegut was a soldier during WW2 in the sacking of Dresden...and he wrote about it in his masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five.

The syndrome was tied to the Halocaust but there isn't any reason it can't relate to the loss of any beloved.

Here is more about it.


http://www.leadpencil.net/survivor.html (http://www.leadpencil.net/survivor.html)

With hopes for your peace and resolution.

Agree, Ennis could have at least some symtoms of survivor syndrome, but that would, I think, mean he was 100% sure that jack was murdered, yes? On the other hand, I thnk Ennis' feelings are more in the very deep regretful mode; regretful that he did not muster up the truth in "I swear" and communicate it orally to Jack during Jack's life. (even though I hold onto my strong feeling that Ennis' feelings were always there and true and jack knew it).

hence, Ennis is suffering from the scourge of one of my favorite old sayings, "there is no pain worse than that of regret". To release himself from such pain, Ennis swears (a commitment to God in fact) that his love for Jack endures forever.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 13, 2007, 11:33:00 am
To release himself from such pain, Ennis swears (a commitment to God in fact) that his love for Jack endures forever.
One of the very first and most heart-stirring comments I ever read about Brokeback Mountain, months before I actually saw the film myself, was an early usercomment on the IMDb that included (and I paraphrase from memory): "...it is a love story that begins without love and ends with a love that will never die." This beautiful line alone would have piqued my interest, but after my first exposure to the film, it acquired depths of meaning that I could not possibly have foreseen.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 13, 2007, 11:37:58 am
Yes, we do not foresee!! Thank goodness, we try to know Annie's story!! More and more!!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 14, 2007, 03:25:28 am
One of the very first and most heart-stirring comments I ever read about Brokeback Mountain, months before I actually saw the film myself, was an early usercomment on the IMDb that included (and I paraphrase from memory): "...it is a love story that begins without love and ends with a love that will never die." This beautiful line alone would have piqued my interest, but after my first exposure to the film, it acquired depths of meaning that I could not possibly have foreseen.

Yes, that's a lovely description of the film because it focuses on "love"; however the nearly desperate sadness of their love, in my opinion, is the greater message of the movie.  It is a lesson that tragic love teaches, and which people take to heart and mind many saying, "I must change, so it does not happen to me!”   That is how I took it, anyway, because I feel love that lives between two living beings is preferable to the loving memory of someone who has died.   A ghost is a cold thing to kiss goodnight and colder still to sleep with.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 14, 2007, 10:42:34 am
Hi Ryan and all!!

Ryan you say this:
That is how I took it, anyway, because I feel love that lives between two living beings is preferable to the loving memory of someone who has died.   A ghost is a cold thing to kiss goodnight and colder still to sleep with.
 ...

Wow, wow, Ryan you are a writer?? You compose poetry???
 
Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on April 14, 2007, 12:22:21 pm
Well, thank you, Artiste, but I was just being myself:   ;)   

Rayn

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 14, 2007, 03:45:15 pm
Nice Rayn!

I like too your passing name as if you are on a marquee!!

You create writings?? Your comments are wonderful!! Can you use Jack I swear... in your compositions or even make a marquee like a passing words (expression) like your Ryan??

You do movies too?? Use Jack I swear... in them?

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 15, 2007, 07:18:00 pm
When Ennis says: Jack I swear... could that mean now I am too a gay man like you were Jack?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 16, 2007, 09:49:00 am
When Ennis says: Jack I swear... could that mean now I am too a gay man like you were Jack?
Absolutely. This is a very possible meaning of this moment. There can certainly be no doubt that Ennis realizes that Jack was a gay man, and that he loved and continues to love him. By the same token, he must recognize that theirs was a homosexual relationship, regardless of the issues of sexual identity particular to each of the men. The line could suggest a stammering awareness not only of love, but of identity as well.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 16, 2007, 04:06:01 pm
Thanks  moremojo!

You say this:
The line could suggest a stammering awareness not only of love, but of identity as well.
...

May I ask: do you think that Ennis means that he is also a gay man exclusively now or is still a bi-sexual still afraid of thinking that he is just for men now, or was just for Jack and will not want another person in his life anymore??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 16, 2007, 04:11:42 pm
[was just for Jack and will not want another person in his life anymore??

Hugs!!
I vote for this! Why? Because Ennis had just learned that his daughter and heir was marrying, and he was thinking of marriage vows, and so this was his marriage vow to Jack!! The reason I think he said just "Jack I swear--" breaking it off there was because he was swearing ALL of it, so much to Jack that he could not enumerate or elaborate everything, but he was swearing to Jack everything and also to himself what you so insightfully pointed out that he was a gay man and Jack's partner and lover.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 16, 2007, 04:21:55 pm
Thanks Front-Ranger!

That is so great Front-Ranger... what you say!!

Wow, wow, you think Ennis is saying, Jack I swear... I am now marrying you!! ??

Hugs!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 16, 2007, 05:19:01 pm
Wow, wow, you think Ennis is saying, Jack I swear... I am now marrying you!! ??
Don't mean to butt in (oh heck...sure I'm a-butting in! Anyone got a problem with that? ;D ;)), but sure, I think this is Ennis's affirmation that he is wedded in his heart to Jack forever. It's a spiritual union more than anything else; Ennis might not even be able to fully articulate all the dimensions of his emotion, as Lee has suggested, but he's aware of feeling something powerful, and has the need to give it voice, however falteringly.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on April 16, 2007, 05:36:32 pm
Please butt in all you like, Scott!! I live for your always intriguing and enlightening posts!!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 16, 2007, 06:28:30 pm
Thanks Scott, and Front-Ranger!!

Do you consider Ennis straight, bi-, or gay before he says: Jack, I swear??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on April 17, 2007, 06:46:52 pm
I guess you would say that Ennis is gay but that seems to not even begin to describe the love thay had for one another. This will sound cliche' but this is one of the only instances where I actually believe it fits.
I think they were one sould in two bodies. They were so in love and part and parcel of one another.
Look at how they greeted each other after 4yrs! It was ike a day hadn't passed.
I guess if you had to put a label on it then you would have to use gay but it was so very much more than just that!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 17, 2007, 06:59:48 pm
Thanks loneleeb3 !

You say think that Ennis was a gay man:
gay but it was so very much more than just that!
...............................................................................................

May I ask you what you mean by:
but it was so very much more than just that!

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on April 17, 2007, 07:42:46 pm
I tried to explain it in the post, I guess I didn't do a very good job.
I think they were one sould in two bodies. They were so in love and part and parcel of one another.
When I think gay I think sexual prefrence and sexuality.
I just think thier love was just so much deeper.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 17, 2007, 08:25:59 pm
Thanks loneleeb3 !

Deep love between Ennis and Jack, I agree with you.

There seems to be different degrees or different times for that??

What do you say?? By saying Jack, I swear... leaves maybe to believe that too?? You think so??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 26, 2007, 02:02:03 pm
Therefore he will continue to repeat this uncomplete "swearing" for as long as he draws breath.
Almost like he is in purgatory. The short story in particular seems to end on a note of a nightmare
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katie77 on April 28, 2007, 06:21:00 pm
No matter how many times i watch the movie, and i just watched it again for the umpteenth time......i do not think Ennis is gay, nor do I think, he thinks he is gay.......

He loved Jack, and as far as we can see he was not attracted to other men......it was only Jack.....and I believe the sexual side of their relationship was for Jack, Ennis knew he needed it and that was his way of showing Jack that he loved him and would show him in the way that Jack needed to be shown love.....and I think Ennis also felt, that no one loved HIM like Jack did.....

And the Jack I Swear.......because it came just after his conversation with Alma Jnr, and his decision that her wedding was more important than his job, I think he is saying, "Jack, I Swear,  I will never not do anything for someone I love, again"

Just my point of view.....for what its worth......its hard to put into words what Im trying to say sometimes.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on April 29, 2007, 01:21:15 am
Sue, I think your interpretation is perfectly valid. There's enough ambiguity in the story/film adaptation to support a wide variety of conclusions.

I do think that if Ennis is indeed primarily heterosexual (with the exception of his feelings for Jack [their relationship was homosexual, even if they themselves were not]), that that compounds his tragedy in the end. He never loved anyone quite like he loved Jack, a man, and if Jack was the only man to whom he could respond, then the prospect of his finding a similar relationship becomes even more remote. (I hope I am making sense here).
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 29, 2007, 01:18:02 pm
Thanks to all!!

It is or could be even remote as you say moremojo that Ennis will NOT find another man similar to Jack, indeed... since he only has Jack on his mind, even if Jack I swear... means Jack you are my only one and will always be my only one!!

And, that Jack I swear... could be more than that too, like now my daughter is getting married, I wish I had married YOU, stayed with you, somehow lived together, at least closer with you Jack?? It could be much more than that, like I will now do like you...Jack: seek someone like YOU !

Yes, of course, like you say moremojo, Ennis is in like a purgatory, because the nightmares, etc., indicate that. I feel that I am too having lost my partner (Wayne) who I figure was killed by a medical doctor in a hospital, that I am  in a such purgatory having lost him even if I battled for his life, and because Wayne was placed purpusely in such a state by that so-called MD!! Those are FIXATIONS that Ennis, Wayne and I have... that last!!! Even after death, I think that Jack (like Wayne) have nightmares because they were killed by persons who murder gays!!
That must be hard to understand for readers, as it is so hard for me too in order to live comfortably with that in my mind set as well in Ennis's!!

That is only one of the reason why I want a remake, another movie like it, and or a serie, but nobody seems to care for that??

Awaiting your news from you and from all,

hugs, hugs!!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: lachlan on May 11, 2007, 10:40:59 am
I recall that Annie Proulx meant the motel scene to be pivotal in the short story.  In there,  Ennis remarks that he hasn't considered "doing it" with any other man but "I wrang it a hunderd times thinkin bout you!" (something like that).   I have known quite a few fellows in my time whose sexual interests were exclusively toward women,  but who had one deep,  loving and sexual relationship with another man.   Indeed,  I met someone recently who had just broken up with his girlfriend and,  although not consciously attracted to males,  announced in private to me that he figures his life wouldn't be complete if he didn't have at least one same-sex experience before he settled into marriage.   I've met many guys very like Ennis in that respect at least.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on May 11, 2007, 03:48:57 pm
Thanks lachlan!

You reveal such among straights!!

Yes, I found that to be true stories too for some straights!!

And yet they considered themselves straights ONLY, and some get angry if you mention that they might be gay!!

Are they just starting to be gay, or just playing anything goes?? Or is it like the BM movie: a social refusal impressed as a fixation against gays??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 12, 2007, 04:46:49 pm
I think he is saying, "Jack, I Swear,  I will never not do anything for someone I love, again"

Hello Everyone,

    I'm not surprised this thread is still going.  The ways to take the "Jack, I swear..." statement are so numerous and make for interesting discussion.  I created this thread so long ago and have had many "ah ha moments" about the statement myself.  I know I've written about several here, but tonight, I watched the film again.  This makes the 8th time in two years, I guess.  I got a more or less fresh and solid read for myself on what Ennis meant which agrees with Katie77. 

     What I feel this time is, that he's saying, "Jack I swear I will try to live with an open heart for loved ones.  I will do everything I can to learn to do that because I couldn't do that so well for you.  I didn't know how, I didn't really understand love, until I lost you.  Jack, I swear you taught me the meaning and importance of real love and now that I know, I will love others in your memory; Jack, I swear, I will."  It is his last act of love for Jack and the only thing he can really do to go on living.  It's the only cure for the nightmares and the gnawing grief he feels.  I'm convinced that's what he meant now, even though I've taken it in so many other ways. 

     Isn't it funny how the mind and heart change and reform over ideas and life experiences?!   I did enjoy seeing my "old friends" Jack and Ennis again, but as I mentioned in some other thread, I still hate the sadness of Ennis over the loss of Jack, I hate losing Jack too, but take small comfort in knowing that their love enlarged Ennis' soul even if it increased his loneliness for a while.   I say this knowing that if I am correct, and if Ennis were a real person, then the more he learns to open his heart to others, the less lonely he will be in the future.  Jack will always be his saddest and sweetest memory, but in the end, there's some hope that comes in to the picture for Ennis. 

Peace,
Rayn


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on June 12, 2007, 05:44:21 pm
Ryan,
I really liked that.
It got the tears going again but it really captures what Ennis must have felt.
I only saw the movie at the end of april so I am still in the early stages of my BBM mania! LOL
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 12, 2007, 07:07:48 pm
Ryan,
I really liked that.
It got the tears going again but it really captures what Ennis must have felt.
I only saw the movie at the end of april so I am still in the early stages of my BBM mania! LOL


Anyone in an English speaking country who doesn't at least feel some sadness or have tears over Ennis and Jack, must be watching the moive in Chinese!   

New Brokies are a sign that the movie continues, as we all know it will, to impact people year after year. 

Welcome Fellow Brokie!
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on June 13, 2007, 04:43:00 pm

Anyone in an English speaking country who doesn't at least feel some sadness or have tears over Ennis and Jack, must be watching the moive in Chinese!   

New Brokies are a sign that the movie continues, as we all know it will, to impact people year after year. 

Welcome Fellow Brokie!
Rayn


That is true!
I don't know how anyone can't be touched by the movie on some deep level.

Sorry for being Dyslexic! Rayn  ::)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: RodneyFL on June 14, 2007, 01:13:01 pm
Well, we all know that when Ennis speaks, and it is not all that often, he speaks volumes in a few words, both in the short story and in the film.  His uttering "Jack, I swear. . ." while looking at the shirts and card hanging there (film) in the closet and (ss) on the wall is so similar to other utterances from Ennis that are incomplete.  Here is where both the visual image and the textual imagery may combine to help us in this crucial moment at the end of film and story. We see in the film and read in the text the presence of stinging tears when he looks at the shirts on the hangar.  We see that he makes a few adjustments (snaps and straightens), mutters, "Jack, I swear...." and then straightens the post card which was crooked.  He couldn't stand it crooked, so he fixed it.  I firmly believe that through this partial vow he uttered, he swore to Jack that he was going to fix his life.  We already had an inkling that Ennis' firm resolve was beginning to cave at the confrontation scene (film) when he tearfully exclaimed, "Honestly Jack I can't stand this anymore."  This is where we have a major departure from short story to film, the very conclusion of the film to me gives me hope that Ennis is vowing to make his love for Jack count for something, something that he has yet to figure out.  I don't quite feel that hope at the end of the short story.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Penthesilea on June 14, 2007, 03:59:53 pm
We already had an inkling that Ennis' firm resolve was beginning to cave at the confrontation scene (film) when he tearfully exclaimed, "Honestly Jack I can't stand this anymore."  This is where we have a major departure from short story to film, the very conclusion of the film to me gives me hope that Ennis is vowing to make his love for Jack count for something, something that he has yet to figure out.  I don't quite feel that hope at the end of the short story.

Couldn't agree more. Thanks for bringing up Ennis' "Jack, I can't stand this anymore" at the end of the lake side argument. I feel that it is *so* important, but somehow often gets overlooked.

This confession by Ennis, together with the pie scene in the diner and some other things, makes me absolutely sure that things would have turned for the better, had Jack lived.

But after more than a year gone by, I still haven't figured out if this makes the story even sadder or less sad...
For me personally, I think less sad.

Sorry for digessing here.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on June 14, 2007, 04:10:21 pm
Couldn't agree more. Thanks for bringing up Ennis' "Jack, I can't stand this anymore" at the end of the lake side argument. I feel that it is *so* important, but somehow often gets overlooked.

This confession by Ennis, together with the pie scene in the diner and some other things, makes me absolutely sure that things would have turned for the better, had Jack lived.

But after more than a year gone by, I still haven't figured out if this makes the story even sadder or less sad...
For me personally, I think less sad.

Sorry for digessing here.

For me it makes it sadder because he came to his realization too late.
He never got the chance to show Jack.  :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on June 14, 2007, 04:43:52 pm
Here's another possibility. We've talked about this scene being a bookend for the scene in Aguirre's trailer -- both take place in trailers, Jr. is 19 just like Ennis was, etc. We've also talked about how the Aguirre's trailer scene is like a wedding ceremony, Jack and Ennis coming together on paper, with Aguirre as the pastor, the camp tender and herder instructions like the "love honor and obey" stuff, the watch the ring, the handshake the kiss, and so on.

Well, in that scenario, maybe by saying "I swear," Ennis is at last bringing closure to the ceremony, finally saying "I do."


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 20, 2007, 04:49:20 am
Hmmmmm, interesting, but I feel a bit like my imagination is being stretched like salt water taffy to pull it off!  But then, I say things that make people's imaginations do back flips, so...  hmmmmmm, not sure why I can't go more a than a mile or two with this one, but again, it's interesting.  But I hate to disagree without offering an alternative view.  Perhaps where love is concerned, I look for something more traditional-- if such can be applied to male lovers...

When Jack and Ennis are talking about the future and present in the first campsite by the brook and Jack makes his actual "proposal" with "You know, it could be like this, just like this always.."   They talk about past and present situations, feelings, Alma etc with Ennis saying no, "It ain't gonna be like that."  But in the end, Ennis does give in as long as the bond is on his terms i.e. "... together, way out in the middle of nowhere"....  And Jack asks, "For how long?"  Ennis, "For as long as we can ride it. There ain't no reins on this one".    Always... as long as we can ride it...  Then Jack leans over and caresses Ennis which amounts to "the wedding kiss" without a bride! That, to me, is the commitment vows and ceremony, done alone between the two of them because, "Ain't nobody's business but ours".   Their relationship did not allow other people in and in the end it was other people who brought it to crisis and ended it, other people and the intense emotional tensions between the two of them ended it.

The strange but characteristic thing about Ennis' contradictions, is the fact that Ennis knows "There ain't no reins on this one..." meaning he can't deny or control his feelings for Jack  but he places reins on the relationship from the beginning and they have  to deal with them. Ennis even blames Jack in the end for those limits that cause so much hardship.  "It's 'cause of you, Jack, I'm like this..."

Ennis is so pure and so messed in so many ways...  but I love him anyway.    Like I've  admitted... I'm a "Jack at Heart"---  It is remarkable  though that they had a love for each other for 20 or more years under those limited conditions.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 20, 2007, 04:53:27 am
Here's another possibility. We've talked about this scene being a bookend for the scene in Aguirre's trailer -- both take place in trailers, Jr. is 19 just like Ennis was, etc. We've also talked about how the Aguirre's trailer scene is like a wedding ceremony, Jack and Ennis coming together on paper, with Aguirre as the pastor, the camp tender and herder instructions like the "love honor and obey" stuff, the watch the ring, the handshake the kiss, and so on.

Well, in that scenario, maybe by saying "I swear," Ennis is at last bringing closure to the ceremony, finally saying "I do."


See Comments on the Above.,,, Below  
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on June 20, 2007, 07:57:29 am
Quote
It is remarkable  though that they had a love for each other for 20 or more years under those limited conditions.
So true! I have heard it said that "Love will not be denied" and this is proof of that.
Through all the limitations of Time, distance and Ennis' self imposed regulation it still managed to flourish.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on June 20, 2007, 08:40:46 am
    As I see it, people "do the best they can with what they got."  People love often despite that the fact that there is much in the post modern world that stands in the way of expressing love, openly, honestly, freely.  And more often than people like to see or admit, we place so many things in the way of love and good healthy relationships: money,  ambition, tradition, social conditioning, conventions, religion, politics, nationality, race, sex, power and control... 

                    ...the list could go on, but what some don't see is that there is likely nothing more satisfying and fullfilling in life than to love and be loved within a relationship that places respect, dignity and trust at the center.  Those are conditions and states of being that a healthy love require, but they are also things which many fail to practice and accomplish, the true values of life.  Ennis let so much get in the way of a full experience of love, and the tragedy for him was, he realized it too late to share, not with others still around him, but with Jack who deserved a fuller love more than anyone.

                                                  "Jack, I swear....  I just didn't understand."


By the way loneleeb3, I really like your quote ""The biggest obstacle to most of us achieving our dreams isn't reality, it's our own fear".   Who is it from?


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on June 20, 2007, 09:17:00 am
Quote
"Jack, I swear....  I just didn't understand."

I think that makes the most sense of any that I have heard!

I don't know who said that quote originally.
It really applies to my life though.



    As I see it, people "do the best they can with what they got."  People love often despite that the fact that there is much in the post modern world that stands in the way of expressing love, openly, honestly, freely.  And more often than people like to see or admit, we place so many things in the way of love and good healthy relationships: money,  ambition, tradition, social conditioning, conventions, religion, poitics, nationality, race, sex, power and control... 

                    ...the list could go on, but what some don't see is that there is likely nothing more satisfying and fullfilling in life than to love and be loved within a relationship that places respect, dignity and trust at the center.  Those are conditions and states of being that a healthy love require, but they are also things which many fail to practice and accomplish, the true values of life.  Ennis let so much get in the way of a full experience of love, and the tragedy for him was, he realized it too late to share, not with others still around him, but with Jack who deserved a fuller love more than anyone.

                                                  "Jack, I swear....  I just didn't understand."


By the way loneleeb3, I really like your quote ""The biggest obstacle to most of us achieving our dreams isn't reality, it's our own fear".   Who is it from?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on August 03, 2007, 02:45:31 pm
It is remarkable  though that they had a love for each other for 20 or more years under those limited conditions.
They were soulmates. My mother thought the film illustrated how things don't always work out, or are even meant to work out, between soulmates.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on August 03, 2007, 04:29:19 pm
We see that he makes a few adjustments (snaps and straightens), mutters, "Jack, I swear...." and then straightens the post card which was crooked.  He couldn't stand it crooked, so he fixed it.
Another aspect of this gesture is that Ennis is treating the postcard as a totem of the old mountain and everything it represents. It is not unlike a Christian kissing a crucifix, or any other gesture invested with spiritual significance for the person performing it.

Also, by touching the card, he is reaching for something that is now intangible, a lost moment that can only be recaptured through memory and dream. While the gesture may be futile, it affirms Ennis's humanity and deep emotion. I imagine he would go on to straighten the card innumerable times.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on August 18, 2007, 12:40:07 pm
Another aspect of this gesture is that Ennis is treating the postcard as a totem of the old mountain and everything it represents. It is not unlike a Christian kissing a crucifix, or any other gesture invested with spiritual significance for the person performing it.

Also, by touching the card, he is reaching for something that is now intangible, a lost moment that can only be recaptured through memory and dream. While the gesture may be futile, it affirms Ennis's humanity and deep emotion. I imagine he would go on to straighten the card innumerable times.

yes, and after straightening the card he would close the closet door once again on his love and his true nature. That to me is the big tear jerking moment. The image of Ennis serving his life sentence in his prison, closing the cell door, and locking himself in. I sometimes wonder, but for the grace of God, accident of birth, time of birth.....could that have been my life?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: heath4oscar on September 08, 2007, 09:35:07 am
I can only go on my gut reaction the first time I saw the movie......

I took "I swear" to mean that, before he discovered the hidden shirts, Ennis had no idea just how much in love with him Jack had been.

He is in effect saying: "I swear, I had no idea how much you loved me."

As a consequence, he is probably thinking he had no idea how much he loved Jack either.

[You don't know how much you've got 'til it's gone, Put up a parking lot, etc etc!]
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Marge_Innavera on September 08, 2007, 10:09:08 am
yes, and after straightening the card he would close the closet door once again on his love and his true nature. That to me is the big tear jerking moment. The image of Ennis serving his life sentence in his prison, closing the cell door, and locking himself in.

That's the interpretation many people have; I really can't see that.

Put it this way: if, earlier in the story, Ennis had some kind of momento of Jack, where would he be likely to keep it? IMO, it would be not only in his closet but in the back of the closet. And if it was an item of clothing, it probably wouldn't even be hung up -- it'd be in the bottom of a cardboard box under a pile of old towels or such.

Yes, the shirts are hidden in the closet, but just barely. They're on the inside of the closet door, out of sight but just barely, and visible if the door is opened even halfway.  IMO, that's a parallel to his agreeing to attend Alma Junior's wedding, where of course he's going to have to interact with Alma at least on a superficial level. For that matter, he'll have to say a few words to Monroe too, and after the Thanksgiving confrontation it's not likely that Monroe knows nothing about it.

That's no small thing for a man as repressed and self-loathing as Ennis, and to me it comprises an ending that suggests he might make some progress after that. No guarantees, but I'd have been disappointed in the film if there was anything more definite at that point; people just don't make lasting changes very fast, even people much more flexible and self-confident than Ennis.

Would have loved to have watched that wedding scene, though....   ;D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Marge_Innavera on September 08, 2007, 10:12:12 am
I can only go on my gut reaction the first time I saw the movie......

I took "I swear" to mean that, before he discovered the hidden shirts, Ennis had no idea just how much in love with him Jack had been.

He is in effect saying: "I swear, I had no idea how much you loved me."

As a consequence, he is probably thinking he had no idea how much he loved Jack either.

Yes, and that "this thing" wasn't something that was just physical. IMO, on some level he knew that all along, and at this point "I swear...." is the closest he can come to saying that out loud.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brokeback_Dev on September 08, 2007, 11:09:05 am
The shirts hanging in the closet one inside another is Ennis secret sexual orientation.  I believe Ennis was saying Jack I swear I love you, finally realizing he was in love with another man, but not too late.  Does Ennis come out of the closet and live?  Or does he live out a lonely life in a trailer a billion miles from nowhere?  It leaves you in the learch and very very heart broken for Ennis.    First the "I wish I knew how to Quit you argument"  then Jack's death/murder, and finally Ennis' lonely life.  I wish the best for Ennis. Although he will always love Jack, he's got to move on. 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on September 08, 2007, 11:18:08 am
Does Ennis come out of the closet and live?
It's possible that Ennis has come out to himself (the most essential step of any coming-out process) but may never go any further than that. The original short story strongly suggests this will be how his life will play out (the film ends on a distinctly more hopeful note). And I think back on the old man who was Proulx's original inspiration, staring at the young men playing pool in the bar, perhaps searching for traces of his own lost Jack, maybe wistfully reflecting on his own vanished youth. For Ennis to even look at other men in this way would be a major step forward for him, however tinged with melancholy and frustration the action might be.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on September 08, 2007, 11:57:51 pm
And I think back on the old man who was Proulx's original inspiration,

Yeah, I agree about how major the step is for Ennis to even come out to himself.   What's this about "the old man/original inspiration".... I would like to know where I could read more about that.  Sounds interesting!

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on September 09, 2007, 12:25:10 am
What's this about "the old man/original inspiration".... I would like to know where I could read more about that.  Sounds interesting!
I think it might have been in her "Getting Movied" essay, but definitely somewhere, Annie wrote of how she visited the Mint Bar in Sheridan, Wyoming (in 1995, I believe), on a pretty crowded night, and saw a seasoned ranch hand standing at the bar looking repeatedly and wistfully at a group of young men playing pool. It occurred to her that the man may have been "country gay", and she wondered what it might have been like growing up as such in Wyoming in the not-too-distant past--and then Ennis appeared in her mind, followed immediately by Jack, "for you can't have Ennis without Jack." The rest is history.

There have been a few comments here and there on our forum concerning this story; I'll see if I can find a link to some pertinent discussion.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on September 19, 2007, 12:18:08 am
That's very interesting how it just popped up in her mind like that.  It's the creative process though, sometimes blueprints or sketches leaped into one's mind and all there is to do is fill in the rest, but it's the filling in that's the test of any writer or artist.  Thanks, moremojo, I look forward to hearing / seeing more.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Front-Ranger on September 19, 2007, 10:44:23 am
Yes, it was definitely in "Getting Movied" in Story to Screenplay.

An interesting random revelation that hit me as I was watching the film at the Castro Theater: Jack swears to Ennis! It happens at the Siesta Motel. He says, "I swear I didn't know we was goin to get into this again...yeah, I did."

So, they swear to each other...but Ennis's oath comes too late.  :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on September 19, 2007, 12:47:30 pm
Yeah, but...  "I swear" isn't always "an oath".  It can just be colloquial usage ( and cowboys use it a lot) and mean "I declare!" as in "My God!" ...an exclamation or way to emphasize.   I heard Jack say that in the Motel too, but just took it to mean, "Boy oh boy" or something like that, you know?  I wouldn't say it's an oath of love though, not like Ennis' at the end.  Do you see what I mean?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: KristinDaBomb on September 19, 2007, 11:07:05 pm
When he says that beautiful line, I always think he means he is so heartbroken that he lost him and he can't believe it happened.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: injest on September 19, 2007, 11:30:35 pm
When he says that beautiful line, I always think he means he is so heartbroken that he lost him and he can't believe it happened.

It was the perfect line though wasn't it? I can' imagine anything else he could have said.

A perfect but heartbreaking ending...

(welcome to Bettermost!)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: KristinDaBomb on September 20, 2007, 01:20:40 am
It was the perfect line though wasn't it? I can' imagine anything else he could have said.

A perfect but heartbreaking ending...

(welcome to Bettermost!)

It was perfect. So sad but it needed to be said. Thanks for the welcome. =]
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on September 20, 2007, 07:57:08 am
When he says that beautiful line, I always think he means he is so heartbroken that he lost him and he can't believe it happened.

I agree 100% with that!   Anyway, this thread has run so long because there are so many ways to take and hear that line.  I love hearing every different insight and idea about it and welcome you too KrisDaBomb!  Nice to have ya.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: SFEnnisSF on September 21, 2007, 01:59:26 pm
So, who else here has noticed that the audio of the line "I swear" is different on the DVD than it is/was on the film in theatres?

The version on the DVD sounds weak and feeble, and there were a lot of complaints on IMDB when the DVD came out of folks asking "what was the last line?"  On the film versions, it's pronounced more clearly, with more sincerity and drive behind it. 

Now, you know I saw it 45 times in the theatre before the DVD came out.  When I watched the DVD at home, and the line was said in that different audio take, I almost fell out of my chair!  Why the two different audio takes has always been beyond me?  But I'll prefer watching the FILM in theatres over the DVD anytime, especially for this reason alone.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on September 21, 2007, 02:11:26 pm
So, who else here has noticed that the audio of the line "I swear" is different on the DVD than it is/was on the film in theatres?

The version on the DVD sounds weak and feeble, and there were a lot of complaints on IMDB when the DVD came out of folks asking "what was the last line?"  On the film versions, it's pronounced more clearly, with more sincerity and drive behind it. 

Now, you know I saw it 45 times in the theatre before the DVD came out.  When I watched the DVD at home, and the line was said in that different audio take, I almost fell out of my chair!  Why the two different audio takes has always been beyond me?  But I'll prefer watching the FILM in theatres over the DVD anytime, especially for this reason alone.
Well Eric,
I never would  have known the difference had it not been for you!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to view it on the big screen!
That was a priceless gift!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: SFEnnisSF on September 21, 2007, 02:14:34 pm
Well Eric,
I never would  have known the difference had it not been for you!
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to view it on the big screen!
That was a priceless gift!


Thanks Richard.  You are welcome.  It was my pleasure.  :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: serious crayons on September 21, 2007, 02:38:19 pm
So, who else here has noticed that the audio of the line "I swear" is different on the DVD than it is/was on the film in theatres?

I haven't noticed that myself, but I know someone who has two versions -- a DVD and a downloaded computer one -- and has always said that line is different in the two.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on September 21, 2007, 08:20:26 pm
I know I've heard people say that they think he says "I'll swear..." instead of "I swear..."

And, honestly I can see how that mistake could be made if you were a first time viewer and/or hadn't read the story.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on September 22, 2007, 01:08:04 am
So, who else here has noticed that the audio of the line "I swear" is different on the DVD than it is/was on the film in theatres?

The version on the DVD sounds weak and feeble, and there were a lot of complaints on IMDB when the DVD came out of folks asking "what was the last line?"  On the film versions, it's pronounced more clearly, with more sincerity and drive behind it. 

Now, you know I saw it 45 times in the theatre before the DVD came out.  When I watched the DVD at home, and the line was said in that different audio take, I almost fell out of my chair!  Why the two different audio takes has always been beyond me?  But I'll prefer watching the FILM in theatres over the DVD anytime, especially for this reason alone.

Eric, I have a copy that was sent to reviewers and members of the Academy...  and on it, at least, there's no difference.  I didn't note any.  Maybe my DVD is better qualilty than what's being sold in the USA?

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: KristinDaBomb on September 24, 2007, 12:06:42 am
I agree 100% with that!   Anyway, this thread has run so long because there are so many ways to take and hear that line.  I love hearing every different insight and idea about it and welcome you too KrisDaBomb!  Nice to have ya.

Thanks so much for the welcome and replying/agreeing with my post, that's so nice of you. =]
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 03, 2007, 09:12:21 pm
Hi all from Quebec City!!

Even when I am in the art where currently here where I am exhibiting my paintings I created this year, I think of Jack i swear... so many gays pass here in front and some enter it too!!

And that too in the gay bath where many USA gay men come to enjoy life and the city, and of course... some of moi!!


Come...

hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on October 03, 2007, 09:16:53 pm
Hi all from Quebec City!!

Even when I am in the art where currently here where I am exhibiting my paintings I created this year, I think of Jack i swear... so many gays pass here in front and some enter it too!!

And that too in the gay bath where many USA gay men come to enjoy life and the city, and of course... some of moi!!


Come...

hugs!!

LOL! :laugh:
Artsie, so good to hear from you and you seem to be doing well!
I'm very glad to see you posting!
Take care and don't be a Stranger
Richard AKA Lee
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 03, 2007, 09:20:35 pm
Merci, yes thanks!!

You must not be a stranger too and come see my exhibition here in Quebec City, such a wow happy city for gays!!

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on October 03, 2007, 09:22:39 pm
Merci, yes thanks!!

You must not be a stranger too and come see my exhibition here in Quebec City, such a wow happy city for gays!!

Hugs!!
I would love to someday!
I'm still in recovery from my trip to San Fransisco though!  :laugh:
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 03, 2007, 09:28:47 pm
You must tell me when you do come to Canada: Quebec province so you and I, and others can meet.

Try for the end of September 2008 (last week) and early October 2008 (first week), as i will exhibiting (my painting I create) for 2 weeks in Montreal then?? Plan now?? Maybe ??


Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 04, 2007, 01:33:12 am
I know I've heard people say that they think he says "I'll swear..." instead of "I swear..."

And, honestly I can see how that mistake could be made if you were a first time viewer and/or hadn't read the story.

Hello all,

I got some mail saying there's been recent activity on this thread so I came over to see what the buzz was all about.

Someone said if you listen very carefully with volume turned up, when Ennis presses the shirts in the closet to his face, he says, "I love you."   I can't hear that, nor did I ever hear "I'll swear" in the last line...  Just a comment bringing the thread back to topic.   
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on October 04, 2007, 11:33:21 am
The elusive 'I love you' in the closet I think will remain one of the great unresolved contested issues among fans of the film. There are those who swear it is there, but agree that it is barely discernable. I've never caught it myself, and if it is barely discernable, it arguably makes little if any impact on the casual viewer and their reception/interpretation of the work. I'd prefer it not to be there--it would detract from the final 'Jack, I swear', which is, among other things, Ennis's affirmation of love.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 04, 2007, 05:29:32 pm
He says both: Jack i swear... I love!!

That seems that to me!!

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 05, 2007, 03:21:35 am
I'd prefer it not to be there--it would detract from the final 'Jack, I swear', which is, among other things, Ennis's affirmation of love.

I agree Moremojo!  There really isn't any need for "an inaudible" statement of love when it's clear to anyone that Ennis loves Jack. 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 06, 2007, 11:19:15 am
Jack  swear... I love you; to me also means that his love is eternal now for Jack, and that he will fight in order to be a gay man now!!

That is what I now think of my former partner/lover/pal who was killed like Jack because he was a gay man!!

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on October 07, 2007, 05:52:29 pm
The elusive 'I love you' in the closet I think will remain one of the great unresolved contested issues among fans of the film. There are those who swear it is there, but agree that it is barely discernable. I've never caught it myself, and if it is barely discernable, it arguably makes little if any impact on the casual viewer and their reception/interpretation of the work. I'd prefer it not to be there--it would detract from the final 'Jack, I swear', which is, among other things, Ennis's affirmation of love.

Honestly, I have not heard Ennis say "I love you" in this scene before. But, as I really WANT to hear Ennis say those words......I think that I'll just turn up the volume until it is loud enough for me to hear it anyway.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 07, 2007, 05:57:18 pm
Jack, I swear... you were a saint to me.

Jack, I swear... I will now be your lover.

Could Ennis had thought that??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on October 07, 2007, 06:04:12 pm
Jack, I swear... you were a saint to me.

Jack, I swear... I will now be your lover.

Could Ennis had thought that??

Hugs!!

maybe so, certainly he understood that he loved Jack. He was probably still confused about his feelings, but there was no denying them. I like to believe that after Jack's death, Ennis was able to have a great loving father/daughter relationship with his two children. maybe he never established a good realtionship with Alma. In my fantasy, I hope that Ennis is able to find someone, a man or a woman that he can relate to as friend and a lover. Hope springs eternal.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 07, 2007, 06:14:24 pm
Thanks brokeplex!

It could be, I feel, that Ennis still loves somewhat his wiife. As you say, he contiues to love his daugthers.

Will he find another woman or man.... it seems NOT as he does prefers to love Jack only!
ONLY! (I understand that as I lost my partner/lover/buddy/pal to similar circumstances as Jack's death! And still loving him, I must also seek another IF I CAN, but am I in the right mode to be seeking that yet??)

What do you think?

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on October 07, 2007, 06:34:57 pm
Thanks brokeplex!

It could be, I feel, that Ennis still loves somewhat his wiife. As you say, he contiues to love his daugthers.

Will he find another woman or man.... it seems NOT as he does prefers to love Jack only!
ONLY! (I understand that as I lost my partner/lover/buddy/pal to similar circumstances as Jack's death! And still loving him, I must also seek another IF I CAN, but am I in the right mode to be seeking that yet??)

What do you think?

Hugs!!

Artiste, I am sorry about your loss. I too lost the love of my life. Chris died in a traffic accident in California back in 1999. It took me a very long time to deal with the loss. Eventually, I opened up again, and found a wonderful man. We have been dating him for 5 years now. I will always love Chris, I will always feel regrets. But I had to live, and I couldn't live without someone. I was very fortunate to find a very special someone who understands my grief. I wish happiness and contentment as the years go on.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 07, 2007, 06:49:13 pm
Thanks brokeplex!

Pray the same continues with you too: a lover and/or partner/ and/ or b uddy / and or pal is great!!

I want that. Wonder how to find one. Where? Etc.? As I am like Ennis...now; without my Jack!! Pensif about my past lover and my future one if I can find!! I swear like Ennis now... for gladly remembering Jack!!

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 08, 2007, 07:29:23 am
We all want to be happy and be loved, have someone to love.  If you look around you where you live, there are  people who you can love and be loved by, not just a "loved one", even though I understand the personal desire for a special loved one. 

However, I would like to gently guide the conversation back to the topic and hope that's ok with everyone.  I feel some responsibility for that since I started the thread and wish it to continue in the intended form. 

Thanks for all your comments on or off topic, they're great and do add to the big pic, but let's keep on track guys not too far from the topic...  Ok?   ;)

Peace,
Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on October 08, 2007, 07:36:01 am
It's the least ambivalent line in the book----and the one with the most debate!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 08, 2007, 10:00:37 am
Yes!

To me Jack  I swear means that he now loves MUCH more Jack, and that he will KEEP ON loving him.

Ennis is a man of HIS WORD! He is stating that he will continue to love JACK, as well as to love OTHERS, like to love his daughter by going to her wedding!! Of course, he will love now in many wondrous ways to better HIMSELF and the WORLD, especially the GAY world!!

Any comments on this?

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 08, 2007, 10:44:47 am
It's the least ambivalent line in the book----and the one with the most debate!

That is one of the best comments I've ever read on here because it 's so succinct and so true.  Yes, the emotions behind the line are very straight forward and strong. 

It's so Ennis to say it too, as I see him.  He can be very true and honest at times and then too, at times, he can be very ambivalent about his feeling.   Ennis, in my opinion, is a more complex character than Jack, and so it's natural he would say that line.

 It's what he means by it that causes debate because again, like Ennis, what he doesn't say is often as important as what he does say.  Great insight brokebackjack! 
 
  :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on October 08, 2007, 11:07:13 am
That is one of the best comments I've ever read on here because it 's so succinct and so true.  Yes, the emotions behind the line are very straight forward and strong. 

It's so Ennis to say it too, as I see him.  He can be very true and honest at times and then too, at times, he can be very ambivalent about his feeling.   Ennis, in my opinion, is a more complex character than Jack, and so it's natural he would say that line.

 It's what he means by it that causes debate because again, like Ennis, what he doesn't say is often as important as what he does say.  Great insight brokebackjack! 
 
  :)

I think Ennis wants to let go a lot of the time but he forces himself to hold back. He is a conundrum!
It's like he has 2 sides fighting for dominance! I can so relate to him for that.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 08, 2007, 11:26:54 am
At least Ennis is a man, saying that phrase!!

And he thinks!! Feels too more??

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on October 09, 2007, 05:46:40 am
I meant what I wrote about that line; at the same time, it is deliberately designed so the reader--I am speaking of the short story--fills in the blank. And in the film it is the same.

The problem is we all talk too damned much.


lol
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 09, 2007, 09:50:59 am
Jack I swear... that from now on that gays or a gay will know that i am a gay man?

Could that be?

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on October 09, 2007, 08:44:00 pm
If that's what you think that's what it is, but that's the one thing which never entered my head.

Thanks artiste!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 09, 2007, 09:05:49 pm
Thanks brokenbackjack!

Ennis knew about Jack getting sex with the Mexican!

Ennis knew about Jack and Randall!! Before Jack's death?

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on October 10, 2007, 01:29:07 pm
Something I have noticed which has made the "Jack I swear.." scene much more important to me.
I listened very carefully to the scene that takes place with Ennis in Jack's closet in the old Twist house in Lightening Flat. I am delighted to say that the Ennis character does speak the 3 little words: "I love you". I confirmed this by carefully watching the scene with the volume way up and I repeated it several times. After Ennis presses the two shirts into his face, he takes a deep breath and quietly mouths the words, "I love you". It is hard to catch, but I lip read fairly well and to me it is clear that Heath is saying "I love you". Interestingly, this line does not appear in either the short story or the published screen play. The fact that Heath uses the line shows the genius of Ang Lee.
For deeply personal reasons it was important for me to hear the Ennis character vocalize his love for Jack, even if it is too late for Jack to hear. I believe that at this moment of grief and revelation, Ennis crosses over a boundary into self-awareness that allows him to finally verbally express his love for Jack.
For me, this scene makes the final "Jack I swear" scene so much more important.
I am now convinced that the Ennis character would be able to use the transformative power of his love for Jack to experience what I called in an earlier thread an "epiphany". By an epiphany, I mean to say that he has a new insight of self-awareness that will allow him to bond more closely with those who love him, such as his daughters, and allows him to love and finally accept himself.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank the Bettermostians who brought this interpretation to my attention. Seeing Heath Ledger use the "3 little words" meant a great deal to me, and it resolves an important unanswered question in my mind about the movie version of the Ennis character.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on October 10, 2007, 02:04:41 pm
I looked and listened for the I Love You at the Castro but I missed it.
I'm gonna go home and watch the DVD and see if I can catch it.
I always knew he felt it though he just couldn't say it. :-\
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 10, 2007, 06:58:10 pm
That is great brokeplex!

It may be that the actor playing Ennis, take the LIBERTY to say: I LOVE YOU; then and there in that scene?

What dou think loneleeb3, and others??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on October 10, 2007, 07:08:43 pm
That is great brokeplex!

It may be that the actor playing Ennis, take the LIBERTY to say: I LOVE YOU; then and there in that scene?

What dou think loneleeb3, and others??

Hugs!!
I think it's probably the case.
Iknow it was heaths Idea to have the shirts one inside the other.
I think he lovingly and respectfully acted out the Character of Ennis to the T.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 10, 2007, 07:16:50 pm
Yes! it could very well be his idea!!

Can we find out?

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on October 11, 2007, 04:53:26 am
These are such great comments, loneleed, plex, everybody!

I just want to say Artiste, there is no definite answer.

Annie Proulx  worked hard on that book, she was changing things up until the morning it went to press. I think she said her last change was the last line, at 2AM.

Jack I sawear was deliberately designed to make the reader think and fill in the blanks from his or her own experience. Artiste, I doubt very much that sex in Mexico was on Ennis's mind lol!

That's not what she wanted us to do.


I hope I am not trespassing on your boundaries here, Artiste. She wanted us to do something which YOU, in particular, can do very very well my friend!
You have lost a great love. 
You lost that love to a violent act.

What you would have told your love after saying  "__________, I swear..." is the  answer, for you, to that question...

Just so, each of us has an answer from our experience. Mine, because when it comes to this I don't talk much, would probably have said more with that silence then I could have using a million words.

When we answer this question we tell each other more about ourselves then we do about that line.....
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 11, 2007, 11:02:37 am
Thanks brokenbackjack!

To me, it is obvious that Ennis knew about Jack's sex episodes (with others besides him)!! One, at least like the one(s) in Mexico!! However, did Ennis know about Jack's other one(s), especially with Randall, BEFORE Jack's death?? Maybe!??

Therefore, since Ennis found out about Randall in a way via Jack's father, it could be that Ennis wants now to find the gay bashers who killed Jack... because Ennis asys: I swear...

What do you and all think about that??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on October 14, 2007, 02:54:29 pm
I think it's probably the case.
Iknow it was heaths Idea to have the shirts one inside the other.
I think he lovingly and respectfully acted out the Character of Ennis to the T.

Thanks for the comment about Heath Ledger. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the barely noticeable mouthing of "I love you" was an ad lib by Ledger(shades of what we now know happened on the set of "Casablanca" with Claude Rains and Bogart ad libbing like mad!). I'm not surprised because Heath Ledger is one of the best actors to come along in some time, an actor who follows his instincts. Gosh, I wish that the Academy had awarded Heath "Best Actor" for Brokeback!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on October 14, 2007, 08:38:38 pm
Thanks for the comment about Heath Ledger. I wouldn't be surprised at all if the barely noticeable mouthing of "I love you" was an ad lib by Ledger(shades of what we now know happened on the set of "Casablanca" with Claude Rains and Bogart ad libbing like mad!). I'm not surprised because Heath Ledger is one of the best actors to come along in some time, an actor who follows his instincts. Gosh, I wish that the Academy had awarded Heath "Best Actor" for Brokeback!

We all know it should have!  :-\
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ifyoucantfixit on October 14, 2007, 10:05:13 pm



          I always thought that Ennis meant.  I swear I always loved you.  If I could have done
differently.  I would have.  I was afraid....and who could blame him...he found out what would
happen..
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on October 14, 2007, 10:19:13 pm
maybe what Ennis meant to say was :

Jack I swear, I remember that old cold time on the mountain whan we heard the wind soughing through the pines,
Jack I swear, I remember that time soaring in the air when we believed that our love was nobody's business but ours,
Jack I swear, I remember the mountain covered with the snow of our memories and regrets.

we'll never really know of course what Ennis meant to say to Jack, but this is what it means to me.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: ifyoucantfixit on October 14, 2007, 10:26:21 pm


   Everyone is entitled to the thought that they think he meant..
But tp be angry with him, to me is to be mad at a man that had his own set of reasons that
were to him justified and genuine..
   Its the same old cliqche "walk a mile in my shoes"
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on October 15, 2007, 04:33:55 am
Jack I swear... that from now on that gays or a gay will know that i am a gay man?

Could that be?

Hugs!

I don't believe so...   As I read the book and the character in the movie, I don't think Ennis ever even heard the word, Gay .... His word is queer used as an adjective, "You know I ain't queer".   Gay would be too progressive a word for him and the Gay Movement wasn't well known to people in his parts until the late 70s/80s ...

 I don't think Ennis cared much for social movements of his day.   He wasn't concerned with that.  He was more concerned with getting by, and life in general, his friends, family and work.  Plain and simple cowboy, as I see him.  That's my opinion though, based on the book and the movie I read and saw.

 :)

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on October 15, 2007, 06:26:17 am
I've never been able to put into words what Ennis meant [IMO] and that is perfect. neither could he. But I think he meant all the above, wasn't angry, didn't even think about randall, the Mexican's, none of them.

He was expressing love.

And the author would have hummed All You Need Is Love. I'm serious. Ennis would have simply loved.

We complicate it all with bullshit words and emotions he wouldn't have bothered to feel, emotions not in the screenplay or the short story.

he would have loved. It's so immense and so awesome he couldn't find anything but "Jack, I swear..."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on October 17, 2007, 09:48:38 am
Hi brokenbackjack and others!!

I do not believe that was just so... nor could it be the only thing, brokenbackjack!!

Since I figure with much proofs that an islamic MD killed on purpose my gay love-partner-buddy-pal in the hospital and is getting away with it, and, therefore I can NOT only swear that I can only say that I love my partner, but that I must also express that the criminal islamic MD did wrong taking a life of another only because my pal was a gay man!!

When Ennis says: Jack, I swear... Ennis has to say much more than ONLY Jack I love you!!

Your comments? And from others!!

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on December 28, 2007, 07:34:09 am
He was expressing love.  It's so immense and so awesome he couldn't find anything but "Jack, I swear..."

Of course that's true, and All You Need Is Love, is true, too, but each person who sees the movie or reads the story also comes to their own conclusion which is valid for them.  The fun of this thread is seeing what others conclude and feel and think or imagine.  It's a fun way to get to know each other too.  I'm glad to see it still going after all this time and hope it goes on to entertain and educate new comers if there are any in the future.  I have been so busy lately, I haven't been online at BetterMost lately, so I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the thread and wish you each a Happy New Year!   

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: myprivatejack on December 29, 2007, 11:46:47 am
Well,I suppose everything has been said about this open end that implies so many interpretations almost as persons have seen the movie or read the story...No matter what words we can include after this "Jack,I swear...",IMO all of them go to the same point: Ennis discovers how he has wasted  his life and Jack's,finds the irony that there's in passing all this life protecting themselves to finish like Earl and Rich by denying this "sweet life" together to end precisely like them.He realises how deep was Jack's love and his own love,in spite of himself,how many times he put a denial made by his mind instead of a "I love you"made by his heart...And decides to change,although it's too late for  this time of their lives,not for the others that will come thereafter.From this point onward,think,write or say what you want;everything is valid,mainly because he's swearing to himself too.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on December 29, 2007, 05:47:29 pm
That's right!  And, as much as it hurts to think about ( I have tell myself sometimes .. it's only a movie) I hadn't equated Jack and Ennis with Earl and Rich...  Yes, how truly ironic and painfully sad.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on December 29, 2007, 07:55:59 pm
Wow, how interesting are all comments and wishes!! Thanks!!

I am immediately without a word or words to answer: Jack, I swear... Maybe because I had thought of many other ways! Hopefully, these will come back to me... especially since I wrote some to remind me.

Rayn, I agree with you that Ennis would not have used the word gay! I grew up as Ennis and Jack!! However, maybe the word queer?? Which word queer I do not accept then nor now!! I prefer always gay!! That word  gay colours us gay men, somewhat!! As to: we are hopeful for freedom and love!! Why be sad always nor not hopeful for joys to live as normals, as we are gay men and ladies?? What do you think? And you all??

As to answer: Jack I swear... I do not dare mention my momentary thought about it!! Since, good gladings for the Happy Holidays are here!!

Could Ennis still have secrets and at what cost?? Does he maybe secretly want to tell them or one or some now... to Jack?? By this expression: Jack, I swear...

Hugs!!   
Happy Gay Holidays full of Joys to you and to all on Bettermost and on Earth!!



Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on December 30, 2007, 05:30:54 am
"However, maybe the word queer?? Which word queer I do not accept then nor now!! I prefer always gay!!  Why be sad always nor not hopeful for joys to live as normals, as we are gay men and ladies?? What do you think? And you all??"

 Artiste
 

      Every adult has the right to their own choice of words to describe or define who they are, don't they?   I'd say, that's part of what self determination is about; wouldn't you, Artiste?    That 's perhaps why you call yourself Artiste and not Artist?  Don't you prefer being known as Artiste

     There are some men who actually prefer to call themselves QUEER, did you know that? Didn't you ever hear of Queer Nation?   And you cannot assume that because a person interacts with the Gay Community that they are immediately and undoubtedly GAY.  There are all kinds of  people who exist in and out of the community who are not Gay.  If I interact with Native Americans a lot, does that make me a Native America?   If I often attend Church with my Baptist friends, does it make me Baptist?  Perhaps I am just an open minded Episcopalian, huh? I live among Asian people, but I'm haven't started turning into "an Asian".   

    Also, Artiste, you could consider the fact that even Heterosexual people do not fit neatly into one sexual category, behavior or pattern.  Diversity is the rule of Nature, and yes, there is a place for conformity too, but human beings, like other life forms on earth, don't always fit into the categories that the Human Mind attempts to impose.  Reality is about change against a changeless background.   But I don't want to get too philosophical here, let's stay on topic and look at what is one of the defining moments of the movie.   When Ennis said, "You know I ain't Queer."  Jack replied, "Me neither."  I respect them as adults and leave them the freedom to define themselves.   End of question and of discussion:  it's not up to me or you to determine how other people define themselves.  When it comes to how other people define their own personal lives, it is best to respect what they decide for themselves, don't you think?   Otherswise, one could be seen as trying to impose their will or way on other people and that's not polite.  No one has the right to do that, do they?

     Respect for individual choices is the hallmark of true freedom.  Live and let live, yes?  If more people everywhere in the world, in your country and mine, could believe and do that, the world would be far more peaceful.   And for the record Artiste, I support the freedom of all people to find happiness in a marriage, whether with the opposite or the same sex.  To me, that's a matter, not so much of Gay or Lesbian Rights, but of Human Rights.   Wouldn't you agree, Artiste?   

PEACE
Rayn
 

HAPPY NEW  YEAR!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on December 30, 2007, 01:49:21 pm
Well said Rayn!


May I say:
To me: A word is like history!! That is needed!!

To me: A word is also a presence!! Like a present!!

I do not know why some persons prefer to use the word queer!! Qu'est-ce sera, sera;
whatever will be, will be as the song says
!!

To those who prefer to call themselves queer ... do so, as I am open to that! I will never acept it for myself... for many reasons!! One reason is for me: is that I consider gay life normal!! I find nothing queer about it... even if of course some things about my gay living is queer but not in the negative sense!! Hard for me to explain. Why do I survive as a gay man?? I want to live!! To be effective... as a person in an normal society as a gay man (among mainly straights since society is that)!! 


My purpose... my destiny, among getting out like a star in the world among stars!!

Indeed, you are right that I prefer being called Artiste!! For many reasons... one being that it brings about the subject of art right away as my main interest!!

My priority is to live... to be fruitful: my goal to make it better for gay men as well as for all others!!

You say:
    Also, Artiste, you could consider the fact that even Heterosexual people do not fit neatly into one sexual category, behavior or pattern.  Diversity is the rule of Nature, and yes, there is a place for conformity too, but human beings, like other life forms on earth, don't always fit into the categories

...

And I totally agree with you as you likely noted by my responses on Bettermost, plus in my paintings I created!!
.....

Respect... is another word. But am puzzled about that one!
...

The main message is too human rights for me!! I lost my house giving it to a criminal (passing himself as a Chritian) who nearly murdered me sending 4 to kill me and burn me in my home! And yet I still believe in human rights!! Another such person as an MD (likely islamic) in a hospital, it seems to me, murdered my lover because he was a christian or a jew!! And I still believe in human rights!! I wonder where mine are... and that of my deceased lover!! ?? Criminals have rights, more that decent persons?? I am wondering in our democratic societies!! I need wish bone, no I do not say a woman on TV, I need backbone!! How?

I do not want to put up nor needlessly fight with, more such violence, since I am passionate about life!! I do not murder!! What is my call and yours??

Anyway! Thanks for your comments which I accept! And await your news with open arms,

hugs!!

Since I do not steal my destiny, prefering to steel it with my passion and direction for love, gay living everyday, may I wish you and to all Happy Gay Holidays daily with gladness!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Penthesilea on December 30, 2007, 03:18:16 pm

Let's get back on topic:


I've never been able to put into words what Ennis meant [IMO] and that is perfect. neither could he. But I think he meant all the above, wasn't angry, didn't even think about randall, the Mexican's, none of them.

He was expressing love.

And the author would have hummed All You Need Is Love. I'm serious. Ennis would have simply loved.

We complicate it all with bullshit words and emotions he wouldn't have bothered to feel, emotions not in the screenplay or the short story.

he would have loved. It's so immense and so awesome he couldn't find anything but "Jack, I swear..."

I agree and disagree with you at the same time  :).

I agree that when you go right to the core of it, "Jack, I swear...." expresses love. Simple and yet immense and awesome.

But I don't agree that all our interpretations are bullshit which complicates the matter unneccessarily. I think they are indeed valid. There's much more to the story and movie than what is spelled out in screenplay or SS. That's why we're still discussing it, isn't it?

And I'm positive that there was more on Ennis' mind in this exact moment than love. Remember the context of the scene. Alma Jr. has just announced her wedding, she's nineteen, she can do what she wants (but Ennis and Jack couldn't when they were nineteen), she's about to make the commitment Ennis was never able to make to Jack.
I think the similarities and also the huge differences between the situations are also on Ennis's mind and expressed with "Jack, I swear..." Not vocalized and spelled out like I did it, and probably not as concious, but they were there.

There were so many emotions and thoughts twirling on Ennis's mind that he was unable to express them, the above mentioned only being part of it.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on December 30, 2007, 05:07:37 pm

1. But I don't agree that all our interpretations are bullshit which complicates the matter unneccessarily.

Me Neither.

2. I think they are indeed valid. 

Me too.    


Thanks,
RAYN     ;)   

 

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on December 31, 2007, 08:47:43 pm


Chrissy when I said bullshit, what I meant was this>>>>> I've seen what amounts to a graduate thesis from some people about 'Jack, I swear....' Those things rather flip me out lolol, they always seem to be the work of some over-zealous wordy romantic

Ennis was a simple guy with enormous complexities. He wouldn't have understood, and IMO would undoubtedly have shrugged off all the complex interpretations which some use to describe 'Jack, I swear...' with thousands of misapplied words. I agree with you and Rayn both. Love was paramount, especially in the context of the timing of "Jack, I swear..."; he said it right after Juniour told him about her impending marriage, right after he had  asked  'This Kurt fella...does he love you?'

I think  he used those words to express every regret he had, every lost moment of 20 years, every sad decision, every denial he had ever made. It was a laconic lament with more impact and feeling  expressed in 3 words then most people could express with 3 thousand.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on December 31, 2007, 11:45:45 pm
Wow brokenbackjack!

I suppose that we do answer that Ennis Jack, I swear as romantic expressions.

We also could do so otherwise? But do not dare!

Hard to say?

Hugs!!
Happy Gay New 2008 Year to you and to all with all the desires you want!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 01, 2008, 02:40:34 am

Chrissy when I said bullshit, what I meant was this>>>>> I've seen what amounts to a graduate thesis from some people about 'Jack, I swear....' Those things rather flip me out lolol, they always seem to be the work of some over-zealous wordy romantic

Ennis was a simple guy with enormous complexities. He wouldn't have understood, and IMO would undoubtedly have shrugged off all the complex interpretations which some use to describe 'Jack, I swear...' with thousands of misapplied words. I agree with you and Rayn both. Love was paramount, especially in the context of the timing of "Jack, I swear..."; he said it right after Juniour told him about her impending marriage, right after he had  asked  'This Kurt fella...does he love you?'

I think  he used those words to express every regret he had, every lost moment of 20 years, every sad decision, every denial he had ever made. It was a laconic lament with more impact and feeling  expressed in 3 words then most people could express with 3 thousand.


Excellent entry, brokebackjack, very valid and, IMO, well said and true.  However, as I mentioned before, what any one person thinks & enters here is as valid as any other's in the end because every person has his or her own conclusions and interpretations about what "Jack, I swear..." means.   I think it's true when you say, "Ennis was a simple guy with enormous complexities.."  That statement can be applied to his "laconic lament" (a brilliant phrase, BTW) i.e. it was a simple statement with enormous complexities, which allows, entertains in fact, all kinds of comments, feelings, conclusions from all kinds of people, doesn't it?

I say again, that's part of the fun and interest in this thread.  Considering the many responses to it, the thread also calls for a good amount of tolerance and respect for the conclusions of others.  Though some of the entries may " ... seem to be the work of some overzealous wordy romantics", they are the feelings and ideas of other Brokies ( people ) and could be respected even if one doesn't like them.  In my experience, one of the worst things to do is hurt the feelings of a romantic person.  Some romantics may be "over zealous and wordy" to you, but some are the most sensitive people too. Couldn't we take more care or at least be respectful of them if only for the sake of "community".

Personally, through what has been shared on this thread by realists and romantics, I have come to the conclusion that the meaning of the statement, "Jack, I swear..." is really open ended.  That is a conclusion supported by Annie Proux and one of the main reasons, among others, for the Bettermost Community and website: "It is my feeling that a story is not finished until it is read, and that the reader finishes it through his or her life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts." - Annie Proux   Readers/Movie goers will conclude what "Jack, I swear..." means through their own life experience, prejudices, world view and thoughts.

That might even be considered the final and definitive conclusion for this thread, though it doesn't have to be taken that way.  I'd like to leave it open ended and let it go on just for the sheer fun of interaction on it.  On that note, I wish you a Happy New Year!  See you again sometime on Bettemost.com.

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on January 01, 2008, 07:19:57 am
Rayn, really, that was SO well done. The whole Brokeback experience was created for the reader to make conclusions from his or her own experience. The whole short story is like that. Everyone who reads it has a different and very valid conclusion formed from their own lives, their own hearts.That quality of the SS was kept intact when Ang Lee made the film.

Having said that, I still feel  a LOT of the scholarly critique and analysis done on Brokeback's short story form, literary construction and style is nothing less then maddening. It can be even more verbose and baffling when the film is discussed. From the way you responded, I'm pretty sure you too  read the 'scholarly articles' in the BBM issue of the magazine Film Quarterly. So I will use that as my example even though they didn't deal with 'Jack, I swear...'  You and I are on the same wave length, which makes me suspect you might have  found yourself wondering whether the learned contributors to that issue saw the same film the rest of us did lol!!!!!!!

I had to consciously remind myself that the magazine's content mattered far less then this simple fact: Quarterly's treatment of BBM formally added it to the short list of legendary films, barely 2 years after its theatrical release. For a LOT  of that content---let alone some of the conclusions--  left Brokies  [who generally know more about the film then the contributors did] scratching their heads. Those analytic pieces  tended to miss the point.  With great erudition, they went on and on, using too many words to illustrate startling conclusions which I doubt either Annie Proulx of Ang Lee would have ever thought of. I mean it IS possible lol, but it was hard to see why they would CARE. The meaning of the tale, the ability to extrapolate one's own experience onto the film and draw your own conclusions, was rather lost in the treatment......

While interesting, it was also something of a classic and beside-the-point self indulgence  which ended by obscuring what they tried to illuminate.

So too, with 'Jack, I swear...'

Last spring I read this extraordinary critique somewhere---maybe Lee {FrontRanger} might have it in her files?? I'm not sure, but think it might have been written by someone in the UK, honestly don't remember. I think it is about 10-12 pages long, and may very well have BEEN someone's thesis lol.

The damned thesis went on and on, mixing misplaced romanticism [as opposed to romantic feeling!!!!!] with what the author thought was impartial analysis. Well, it wasn't.  He used thousands of words to describe the meaning of THREE. In the process, he lost sight of the forest>>>>>>>>leaving the reader with a couple of mishapen trees instead of  healthy woods. If anybody has that article, or knows who wrote it, could they post it here? The damned thing was awesome in its ability to confuse the reader; the writer somehow managed to GUSH in all the wrong places.

I just have no patience with the sort of obscurantist 'scholarship' which pulls everything off track. You, me, artiste, ellemeno, David---any member of this forum could have done it better. Why? We may disagree, which is natural; yet we all look towards the common goal of genuine understanding.

Too many of these formal analysiii <sp??> couldn't care less about THAT, while THAT is what we all treasure.

That stuff really irritates me lol.

and HAPPY NEW YEAR! :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 01, 2008, 10:36:42 am
Hello brokebackjack,

     Yeah, I understand what you mean, so I usually read such entries until I can stand it and since I know I can't fix it, I stop, ask myself if I really want to continue reading something I'm losing interest in, then follow where my heart and mind direct.  Sometimes that means reading on, sometimes it means moving on without a second thought.  I'm unable to read very quickly, so I can't always read every long entry on Bettermost.  Only short entries or very good writing get my time and interest.  But I do know what you're saying.   I try to decide as quickly as possible what I want to spend time on then read on or stop without much comment on why I didn't like someone else's entry.  That works for me.   

    I love writing too much not to give it my full attention, so if I offer a long entry, I labor over it, edit and revise until I have what I consider clarity, and of course, writing with an economy of words or what I call "trimming the fat from the page" is important.   I can't help it, I'm an English teacher and a writer myself.  Writing and speakings are essential parts of who I am and how I make a living. 

    Thanks much for your good comments on my last entry.  I enjoyed yours too.     :)

Peace,
Rayn


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Sandy on January 01, 2008, 05:37:40 pm
This whole scene is absolutely heartbreaking.  When Ennis asks Alma if Kurt loves her, he takes a breath and in typical Ennis style, appears quite unsure of himself.  When she answers him, he gazes out of the window and the emotion on his face is as plain as day.  I agree with many of the other comments that the line “I swear” was prompted by this exchange.  What I find surprising however is the timing of it all.  Ennis folds Alma’s sweater and doesn’t really seem fazed however by the time he has opened the wardrobe and we see his face, his eyes are full to the brim with tears.

I think the delivery of the words is the most telling however.  I don’t think that these words were thought through, to me, it is almost as if they have burst from his mouth.  He tidies the shirts and we see his crying eyes, and it seems to me as if he is trying to stop words escaping.  It’s as if the emotion is spilling over and his heart can’t cope-he needs to speak.  When he says “I swear” though, I sense a little relief? 

I had always sensed regret in those words, but I have read the previous posters and agree that “swearing” in everyday language is to reaffirm one’s honesty (e.g. I swear that this is a true story) or making a formal promise (e.g. taking the oath in Court).  I am therefore more inclined to take the meaning as being about Ennis’ future, either he promises to move on and embrace love, or simply to promise that if Jack was still with him, the sweet life would be theirs. 

I must say that I don’t think Ennis would have been Ennis if he had completed the sentence. 

Sandy (newbie!). 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 01, 2008, 09:49:20 pm
Thanks Sandy, thanks brokebackjack, thanks Rayn, and thanks to all others!!

Rayn, now, we know that you are a teacher and a writer!! Great!!

Looking forward to more comments by you, by brokebackjack, by Sandy, and by others!!

I wonder, just now, if Ennis could mean by Jack I swear...as I am applauding your love, efforts for me now!! -  What do you think Bettermost pals??

Hugs!!
Happy Gay New 2008 Year to you and to all on Earth for more and more understanding, sharing, peace and love!!



Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 02, 2008, 02:44:46 am
This whole scene is absolutely heartbreaking.  When Ennis asks Alma if Kurt loves her, he takes a breath and in typical Ennis style, appears quite unsure of himself.  When she answers him, he gazes out of the window and the emotion on his face is as plain as day.  I agree with many of the other comments that the line “I swear” was prompted by this exchange.  What I find surprising however is the timing of it all.  Ennis folds Alma’s sweater and doesn’t really seem fazed however by the time he has opened the wardrobe and we see his face, his eyes are full to the brim with tears.

I think the delivery of the words is the most telling however.  I don’t think that these words were thought through, to me, it is almost as if they have burst from his mouth.  He tidies the shirts and we see his crying eyes, and it seems to me as if he is trying to stop words escaping.  It’s as if the emotion is spilling over and his heart can’t cope-he needs to speak.  When he says “I swear” though, I sense a little relief? 

I had always sensed regret in those words, but I have read the previous posters and agree that “swearing” in everyday language is to reaffirm one’s honesty (e.g. I swear that this is a true story) or making a formal promise (e.g. taking the oath in Court).  I am therefore more inclined to take the meaning as being about Ennis’ future, either he promises to move on and embrace love, or simply to promise that  if Jack was still with him, the sweet life would be theirs.

I must say that I don’t think Ennis would have been Ennis if he had completed the sentence. 

Sandy (newbie!). 


Thanks Sandy, and welcome.   The insights in your post have helped me to see Ennis more clearly, especially your last sentence, "I must say that I don't think Ennis would have been Ennis if he had completed the sentence."   brokebackjack used the word "laconic" which certainly describes him well.  He just had a hard time putting his feelings into words.  Some people are that way for all kinds of reasons. 

All your ideas are possible, but I also like " if Jack was still with him, the sweet life would be theirs."  That feeling comes through to me very strongly as if Jack were right there with him. In a way, Jack is with him still.  Why else would Ennis speak directly to him?  This, of course, isn't uncommon with our loved ones who die.  Part of them remains... in us as we continue living.  We can recall their joy and sadness and let go of our attachment to them which sometimes takes a long time.  In the end, even the memories leave us, but what's important to me is the fact that we knew the love of another and did our best to return it.  It's one of life's precious lessons and greatest gifts.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 02, 2008, 03:27:36 am

Rayn, now, we know that you are a teacher and a writer!! Great!!

I wonder, just now, if Ennis could mean by Jack I swear...as I am applauding your love, efforts for me now!! -  What do you think Bettermost pals??


That's a fact.   On the "Introduce Yourself Thread", I mentioned this last year months before The Pilgrimage to Alberta, so it's no big secret and I'd have it no other way.  Keeping an open heart with friends and having a clear mind is important to me.   But to keep on topic, your most recent post, Ariste, leaves me kinda like Ennis was 90% of the time, either having a hard time finding anything to say or speechless.    8)
Peace...
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Sandy on January 02, 2008, 12:11:53 pm
Thank you both for your warm welcome and comments!

Rayn, I completely agree that Ennis could not convey his feelings with words, and as such “Jack, I swear” is of such magnitude that I do not think that any of us can actually put into any other words what this line conveys. 

Does Ennis believe that Jack is with him?  I think he does.  When people lose someone, they wish that they had said, “[whatever]” and regret that they did not.  Ennis wants to be sure that Jack now knows exactly how he feels. 

We may not be equipped to understand exactly what Ennis was swearing to, but I would bet my life that Jack would understand perfectly.  In fact, if Jack could see Ennis’ face, Ennis would not even need to speak. And that to me is the beauty of this story.   
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Penthesilea on January 02, 2008, 01:20:08 pm
..., or simply to promise that if Jack was still with him, the sweet life would be theirs. 

Sandy (newbie!). 



Hi Sandy,

welcome to BetterMost!
What an insightful post you wrote as your first on BM. I liked it very much.

From all possible interpretations, the above quoted is my personal one (and you worded it so beautiful). That's what I thought immediately when seeing the movie for the first time. "Jack, I swear, ... if I had the chance, I would make it different."


Quote
I must say that I don’t think Ennis would have been Ennis if he had completed the sentence. 

Liked this  :).
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 02, 2008, 01:30:53 pm
Thanks Rayn, thanks Sandy and thanks to all too!!

Rayn  you say Ennis' I sewar: leaves me kinda like Ennis was 90% of the time, either having a hard time finding anything to say or speechless.    
Peace...

.........
Rayn, you puzzled me with that 90 per cent!! So, where is the other percent as 10??

When my pal passed away, he, it seems to mother and I, communicated still... with us!! Proofs to us, were there, especially one!! You want to know that?? I would now swear like Ennis: Wayne (instead of Jack) I swear, you are communicating with me!!
...........

Sandy, you say: I completely agree that Ennis could not convey his feelings with words!!
......
Sandy, you are right about communicating mostly without words!! One can do so with no words. I was surprised (even shocked) once when a lady said that my paintings I created say much and replaces words which can not convey such expressions!! I now think more and more about that!! Since there are other ways to talk: like to create a painting, a drawing, etc.!!

WE, most of us most times, are not accustomed to think nor see another person talk without words. I remember that as a young man, I saw a poet who came to say his poems at an audience of educators but when I wrote about him after his recital, most persons wondered why I wrote that this poet said more by his silence!!

Remember Marcel Marceau!!  You can also see Emmett Kelly playing the poor hobo who was sad and happy too like Ennis; by the way, I have a great condition Willie doll (like his hobo he played), for sale, if anyone is interested, not played with in the box!!

Not only facial expressions are important, since we can also see movements which tell too!! Such is Ennis to me!! To you too and to all??

Hugs, hugs!!  
May all words and non-words be important in your lives and ours throughout 2008 to create happiness and peace among all too on Earth!!




Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 03, 2008, 12:13:26 am
Thank you both for your warm welcome and comments! In fact, if Jack could see Ennis’ face, Ennis would not even need to speak. And that to me is the beauty of this story.  



Yes, you hit it the nail on the head.....  My own parents, old lovers, have been together 65 year!   I've seen them just look across a room, stare at each other, smile, roll their eyes or make some sort of facial expression because each knows what the other is thinking!  They can carry on conversations that would seem strange to anyone who doesn't know them well.  My mother is famous for saying, "I don't have to ask him what he thinks, I know what he thinks."  She may tell you what he thinks too, and sure enough, when you ask her husband what he thinks, she's usually correct. 

Rayn
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 03, 2008, 12:23:59 am
Rayn  you say Ennis' I sewar: leaves me kinda like Ennis was 90% of the time, either having a hard time finding anything to say or speechless.    .........Rayn, you puzzled me with that 90 per cent!! So, where is the other percent as 10??

In his back pocket or maybe one of his saddle bags.  Only Ennis could tell ya!     ;)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 03, 2008, 01:49:13 pm
Thanks Rayn!

Ennis says Jack I swear... maybe as: That I now know that you wanted to keep your love in my heart!!

Rayn, I still would like to think about that 10 percent. Could it
be some thing? What? Guess more...

Hugs!!
In 2008, Ennis and Jack , I swear: that no matter where my life goes, your love forever leads my life!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 08, 2008, 10:36:51 pm
This may be along the same lines as what others have said. However I'm not (at the moment) going to bother reading through that many posts. So here's my interpretation:

Ennis to me here, is saying several things.

"Jack, I swear I loved you since we first shook hands outside Joe Aguirre's office that day and I always will and if you were murdered, and I came to know them, who did it, they would get the thrashing of their lives. And I swear if I could go back and do things differently, then I would. I would have built us a cabin up there on Brokeback, where we could live away from the prying eyes of society. Where we could be just us"

Of course, Ennis might not be so ummmm articulate? but thats my interpretation and I'm sticking to it. *folds arms defiantly*  ;D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 08, 2008, 11:29:11 pm
Thanks Kateness!

Well said.

Kateness, melb, and all: I wonder if Ennis would build that cabin there, plus another elsewhere too??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 09, 2008, 01:26:15 am
Rayn, I still would like to think about that 10 percent. Could it be some thing? What? Guess more...

Nah, now I told you.... it ain't gonna be that way....   See you got your ideas and that's fine, but I got mine... and they ain't the same.   Besides, all I got time for now is making a livin', so, you wanna go lookin' for that 10%, you go right ahead, but there ain't gonna be no more guessin' by me.....See, you're kinna stuck with what you got.

 I gotta go now.     ;)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Brown Eyes on January 09, 2008, 01:30:49 am
This may be along the same lines as what others have said. However I'm not (at the moment) going to bother reading through that many posts. So here's my interpretation:

Ennis to me here, is saying several things.

"Jack, I swear I loved you since we first shook hands outside Joe Aguirre's office that day and I always will and if you were murdered, and I came to know them, who did it, they would get the thrashing of their lives. And I swear if I could go back and do things differently, then I would. I would have built a cabin up there on Brokeback, where we could live away from the prying eyes of society. Where we could be just us"

Of course, Ennis might not be so ummmm articulate? but thats my interpretation and I'm sticking to it. *folds arms defiantly*  ;D

Hey Kat!

That definitely would be a mouthful for our Ennis!  But, seriously, it's a lovely interpretation. 

I personally think Ennis was motivated to go look at his little shrine in the closet specifically because of the conversation about "love" with Junior.  So, I do think that it's very likely that the "word" love might be in Ennis's head as he makes this enigmatic statement.

Truly, I think the wonderful this is that the sentence is incomplete.  So all of us can fill in the rest based on our own interpretations and understandings.  It's the perfect manifestation of "completing the story" ourselves.

I love all the ambiguity that exists in BBM.  It seems to be one of the key reasons that we can discuss this endlessly.

And, you have the right instincts about some of these really old, long threads.  You certainly can just jump right in with your own comment on a topic without reading the whole thread.  I do that all the time.


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 09, 2008, 02:29:00 am
Excuse my manners!  Welcome to Bettermost Katness...Yes, that sure enough was a lovely post.

atz75, I agree with you completely on this, "I love all the ambiguity that exists in BBM.  It seems to be one of the key reasons that we can discuss this endlessly."   It's also a key to why both story and movie are so lifelike.  Life often has more uncertainty and ambiguity in it than certainty and clarity.

Ah, but those moments of clarity in between are so worth having, huh?  The dozy embrace is one of them, just a gentle song and a hug was all that was needed to say what they both felt for each other.


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 09, 2008, 03:02:00 am
Thank you for the welcome. I had originally written my post above as separate sentences. But then decided it would be better as one.

But, I agree Atz75, about the ambiguity of BBM. I......wait let me start that sentence again with a quote from the film itself, Well "son of a whoreson bitch" I love films that don't beat you about the head with what they are trying to say. But instead make you use your brain cells, sometimes in overdrive. And me being someone who could easily stay up 24 hours straight. I have all the time in the world to use my brain cells.

Eh, if I ramble like that a few more times. Don't mind me. It is most likely because I have not slept for close to 24 hours and I'm in deep thinking mode. That and I'm also on the autism spectrum. So I could ramble on about BBM and connect several other interests of mine to BBM in rather convoluted ways and bore everyone to sleep.....or death. So like I said don't mind me.  :P  ;D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 09, 2008, 03:09:58 am
Thank you for the welcome.
Eh, if I ramble like that a few more times. Don't mind me
.


No prob Kat....  Ramble on, now's the time the time is now, sing your song..... ;)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 09, 2008, 03:15:06 am
Cool. I only wanted to say that. Because sometimes I've been known to be told to shut up. Anyway. *steers the convo back to topic*

And that "Dozy embrace" WOWZERS. Speaking of camping I should start doing that again myself. Now that I don't live in the city anymore and more in the mountains. Head further out to Lithgow (which is sort of Northwest of where I live in the Blue Mountains) Where you have the possibility of coming face to face with a kangaroo. (looks out window in a daydream) No fun without someone by your side though. :(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Sandy on January 09, 2008, 08:02:44 am
I have had difficulty with the really wrong threads as I too didn't want to repeat what someone else had said-but if that's ok with everyone else, then I'm good to go!

I agree with Katness and Amanda-everytime I watch the film and read the book, I marvel at the fact I see something else or interpret a conversation differently.  The sentence was never finished, and let's face it, it was a private thought! 

Another thing, even if Ennis had thought about his feelings for Jack,I reckon he would have pushed them to one side rather than face them. For him to have his shrine, and speak aloud shows his progression.  It took for Jack to die for him to get there and I wish he had reached that stage whilst Jack was still alive. 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 09, 2008, 11:19:26 am
You know, Sandy, what you just wrote about Ennis and his shrine was actually the first time I have ever heard that observation and insight in the entire topic and I started it, so I've been with it from the git-go! 

Yes, it took Jack's death to get Ennis to speak his feelings openly, even if to Jack's memory or spirit, but I'm sure Jack never doubted Ennis' feelings, and vice versa.  In the end it was more about time..."Never enough time..."

Also, the greater part of Ennis' difficulty wasn't so much his inability to verbalize feelings, but rather it was his inability to get over this fears of being killed because they might be discovered.  That is what kept Ennis bound up inside and out too.  He lived in a prison of fear.

It's truly, and this has been said before, it's truly ironic that Ennis' fear of what happened to Rich and Earl kept Jack and Ennis' in hiding for years and then have the story end with the loss of Jack in an event that remains forever uncertain.  Was Jack murdered or was it an accident is a whole different topic I have contributed to and we shouldn't really go into here, but the sad irony of the end is profound, but not without hope.  For me, one of the great messages of the tale is, fear can kill a full expression of love and if not dealt with and overcome, it can end the exchange of love completely.

If new people like Katness or others come to this topic they needn't worry about repeating anything said before.  We all have a new and unique way of writing posts, you know?  I look at every topic as an endless conversation between new or different Brokie firends.  The function of a topic isn't to reach some final destination or conclusion, but rather it's a process of continuing communication.   People come in and out of it like they come in and out of a room.  Some listen, some add to the conversation and each person gets something from themselves out of it. 

 :)

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Sandy on January 09, 2008, 12:13:02 pm


 fear can kill a full expression of love and if not dealt with and overcome, it can end the exchange of love completely.



I completely agree.  For twenty years, Jack waited.  He always hoped, hence why he jumped in his truck when Ennis got divorced.  Ennis never managed to express his love for Jack, and it was clear that Jack was moving on from prostitutes to actually "seeing a ranch foreman ['s wife]".  The argument on the lake was Jack's way of shouting "I love you and if you don't want me, I can show you a guy who does".  Ennis didn't ask him to stay yet thought their trip in November would go ahead as planned. 
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 09, 2008, 12:23:29 pm
I completely agree.  For twenty years, Jack waited.  He always hoped, hence why he jumped in his truck when Ennis got divorced.  Ennis never managed to express his love for Jack, and it was clear that Jack was moving on from prostitutes to actually "seeing a ranch foreman ['s wife]".  The argument on the lake was Jack's way of shouting "I love you and if you don't want me, I can show you a guy who does".  Ennis didn't ask him to stay yet thought their trip in November would go ahead as planned. 

I so agree with what both Rayn said about fear killing love, but what Sandy said too. Fear, in my opinion, can not only kill love. But someone's soul. What I'm trying to say is, fear can stop a person from living life the way it should be lived and not just "living". If that makes sense.

On that note. I'm off to sleep. at 3:18AM. Been up almost 36 hours or more.

And with stark awareness I also realize that I feel extremely dumb. *smacks forehead*

I guess thats just because there is more to life then my brain can handle at the moment??..........Sleeeeeeep.
NIGHT!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 09, 2008, 07:54:56 pm
Thanks Katness!! Thanks to all too!!

Yes, there is fear in all humans, I think!!

I fear more and more others!! Have no choice, in a way... being an Ennis now, I guess!

In other ways, I used to me more of an Jack!

Wow, what a change!!

Been thinking about fear and love... lately.

More comments about it and the BM movie or book from you and from all, please.

A note, for being pensive or for a smile: Jack, I swear... I will reply to you too, since I am now Ennis (like)!!

Hugs!



Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 10, 2008, 01:06:32 am
When I read the words "fear and love" I immediately thought of Patrick Swayze's Jim Cunningham from Donnie Darko. Heh heh heh.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 10, 2008, 10:52:15 am
Well that is a wild card association if ever there was one... even if Jake Gyllenhaal is the lead character, but hey, BTW, did you know Jake's real sister, Maggie, plays Donnie's sister in the movie?  What a trip the whole thing is.... but how does it relate, outside of "fear and love", to Brokeback Mountain?!??   You got me~ 

 ;D
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 10, 2008, 12:43:35 pm
Hum, well, Jack loves Ennis, yet Ennis is scared of what could happen if he commits. Yet he too loves Jack but doesn't express it.

So, if Donnie Darko was in that class holding a scenario card, it could say "Jack loves Ennis, but Ennis is too afraid of consequences to commit, yet he loves Jack but doesn't show it" then his teacher could say "now place the x on the line between love and fear where the story would fall".

Hah, my brain works in odd ways. I love it!.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on January 10, 2008, 06:22:23 pm
When I read the words "fear and love" I immediately thought of Patrick Swayze's Jim Cunningham from Donnie Darko. Heh heh heh.

rofrlmao

completely offtopic, but when my childhood friends saw Donnie Darko they began callin ME Donnie
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 10, 2008, 10:39:32 pm
Oh Yeah....   ???    LOL that's funny... I think     :laugh:   LOL     Could we just go back to Ennis & Jack alone so I don't get so confused??   ???
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 10, 2008, 11:50:37 pm
Well said Katness!

Do you think that Ennis means or says something else too?

By swearing such...Jack I sweak...

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katness on January 11, 2008, 12:23:06 am
Oh Yeah....   ???    LOL that's funny... I think     :laugh:   LOL     Could we just go back to Ennis & Jack alone so I don't get so confused??   ???

Heh, sorry for confusion. I'll explain the particular scene I'm referring to.

In Donnie Darko, there are two characters, Jim Cunningham who is portrayed by Partick Swayze and Donnie's teacher Kitty Farmer who is portrayed by Beth Grant (who also was the religious woman running across the street while hallucinating that some blow up dolls filled with helium are angels in Six Feet Under) Anyway. Jim Cinningham is a salesman for an infomercial that (if I remember correctly) Is a system for overcoming fear and feeling love. No matter what it is. Kitty is a fan of his, almost fanatical.

So, during class one time Kitty had some scenario cards. And she picked up the chalk and drew a straight line on the blackboard and put fear at one end and love at the other. She then asked her students to pick a card and read it out loud. Then put an x on the line that that scenario would fall between love and fear. And Donnie comes up and practically says it won't work.

That ^^^ is one of my favourite scenes that leads straight onto another favourite scene. Hence with the convo of love and fear, I was thinking Donnie Darko.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 11, 2008, 10:19:13 am
I got it I got it...  I even remember that scene!  (not bad for a 56 yr old slow poke)....   LOL
 :laugh:

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on January 12, 2008, 11:02:25 am
point taken!
sincerely,
Donnoi
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 12, 2008, 08:51:14 pm
Wondering when Ennis says Jack I swear... then Ennis is refining his love for Jack? But how?


Like Jack I swear: I wish you and I could have had our own wedding?

Wonder too you all??

Hugs!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katie77 on January 26, 2008, 06:54:26 pm
I've quoted many versions of what I think he meant by "Jack....I Swear"

Last night I watched BBM, the first time since Heath has gone....and when he said it, I felt he meant...

"Jack....I swear........never again will I hold back how I feel about someone, never again, will I hold back my feelings, or put anything between me and someone I love...never again, will I fail to realize when someone loves me, like you did....never again will I hurt or reject someone I love and who loves me.....

.......never again, will I take for granted that someone I love, will always be here, because they can be taken from us in a split second, and then it is too late to tell them all the things we love about them
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 26, 2008, 08:00:22 pm
Thanks Katie!!

I am in full agreement with you, may I say!!

I thank  Heath for thinking about the way the shirt/jacket are!! That was his idea... it seems.

You probably know about that...

hugs!! 
May Heath and Ennis be for us all always!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 27, 2008, 01:41:41 am
I thank  Heath for thinking about the way the shirt/jacket are!! That was his idea... it seems.
You probably know about that...


Some of us don't know about "that".   What was Heath's idea about the shirt?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katie77 on January 27, 2008, 02:41:51 am

Some of us don't know about "that".   What was Heath's idea about the shirt?

When Heath found the shirts the blue one, Jack's shirt, was on the outside.....it was Heaths idea to have it the other way around,with Ennis' shirt on the outside.... once Ennis had them.....
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on January 27, 2008, 11:19:08 pm
When Heath found the shirts the blue one, Jack's shirt, was on the outside.....it was Heaths idea to have it the other way around,with Ennis' shirt on the outside.... once Ennis had them.....

Oh yeah, of course... that's old hat...  or maybe I should say "old shirt".  Yes, the symbolic power of that action on Ennis' part was a fantastic literary device.  Annie is good at that.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokebackjack on January 28, 2008, 12:12:09 am
That was a brilliant idea out of Heath, an idea so simple and in retrospect so obvious---yet not even Ang Lee thought of it. Heath did. And that makes the loss of an actor so young and brilliant all the more frustrating, all the more sad.

What would he have done 10 years from now?

-------------------------------

I'm going to be very careful what I write the next few days. I'm just as wound up as most of you, just told someone in another thread, who grates,  to block me, please block me . 
A lot of us are dancing on eggs after the last week.....
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on January 28, 2008, 12:38:54 am
Thanks brokenbackjack, thanks Katie77, thanks Rayn!!!

Brokebackjack, we are all dancing on eggs, as you describe, may I say, since we all love Heath and we are sad of Heath's passing and we all want him to remain in our hearts and we will have him forever in our souls, be assured!! Passages, some are hard, and love enters, follows, may I say!!

I will not tell you off nor block you, as never did and  never will; I will try always to learn, understand what you say, even if I can not at times do not undertand your comment or question, nor you can not understand me; at least, we try; that is important too!! Of course, there will be emotional times, that's OK, we learn from that all of us daily here on Bettermost!! That is what is great about Bettermost and you here, right; we all try to help each other and others ?? !!

WE learn as ourselves individually and collectively as Ennis, as Jack, as Alma, as Lureen, as Alma Jr., as others did; we do too in our yesterdays, to-day, and will in our wondrous tomorrows. But everyone had difficulties as in the BM movie and Annie's book, at least like them: we become better at loving ourselves and others!!

Thanks brokenback jack for your frankness! You can always be frank with me. I appreciate that very much!! Hugs!

Thanks for your question Ryan, and thanks to Katie who answered you!!

Hugs to all of you and to all others too!! 
WE all will continue to hug Heath as he hugged us as Ennis - merci, that'sthanks Heath!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on February 13, 2008, 11:13:37 am
Jack I swear...

I wish I had moved in with you...

to protect you!!

Happy St-Valentine, my dear love!!

Hugs too!!
.......

Hugs to all and happy St-Valentine!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: myprivatejack on February 13, 2008, 01:47:57 pm
It's sure that Ennis last words were mainly a vow of love and the commitment he hadn't got when Jack was alive;but it has been said also that is a phrase open to many interpretations and meanings.In this sense,I wonder if this was a kind of saying that he was to begin a new life,accepting himself just like he was.It's said that we don't know what we have until we lose it;and we know then what we have,WHAT WE ARE AND WHAT WE FEEL...Does Ennis mean that he has came to terms with his own sexuality and he is able to live it in a not so guilty way?.More concretely,would Ennis be able to open himself enough as to have a relationship with another man in the future?.
Well,in the s.s. beginning we see He's alone several years after Jack's death;and that he's united emotionally to his lover's memories,who is alive and by his side only in his dreams.He's alone,yes,but in this very moment of the story;had he could have a relationship,even if it was only a mere sexual relief,as Jack's Mexican hustlers?Or,on the contrary,this irony of being afraid all his life for something that happenned in the end,could make him being more closed,protected into his shield?.The irony of protecting themselves against being murdered by their sexuality by ending in the same way however,is a way of telling Ennis he was right? Or a way to telling him "do as you please because you have only one life and you must live it by yourself before it's too late?".
We've seen also how Ennis lives a kind of "coming out" precisely with the persons whose reaction could have been more violent:Jack's wife and parents.And he feels as more free,more himself than ever before...So,I ask:could it be his last phrase like-"Jack,I swear...I'm going to be myself from now onwards.I'm going to live as I feel,faithful to your memory,but in the way you taught me I was"?.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on February 15, 2008, 12:03:23 pm
"Jack, I swear..." 

Of the two men, Ennis was the more formidable fighter and protector. This is ironic since Ennis was the one who was the most fearful of the consequences of their relationship.  Jack was more vulnerable, but the more hopeful. Ennis realized that just as he failed the sheep when he failed to protect that ewe when she was attacked and killed by the coyotes, he also failed to protect Jack by not allowing the relationship which they could have had. If Ennis had been with Jack, it is less likely that an attack on them would have been successful.

People in relationships must nurture each other and protect each other, Ennis's denial of Jack meant he couldn't protect Jack, and so he failed Jack.

Too late, Ennis understood the consequences of failing in one's responsibility, maybe those old words from Joe Aguirre came back to haunt him, "ranch stiff, they're never no good."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on February 15, 2008, 12:10:48 pm
"Jack, I swear..." 

Of the two men, Ennis was the more formidable fighter and protector. This is ironic since Ennis was the one who was the most fearful of the consequences of their relationship.  Jack was more vulnerable, but the more hopeful. Ennis realized that just as he failed the sheep when he failed to protect that ewe when she was attacked and killed by the coyotes, he also failed to protect Jack by not allowing the relationship which they could have had. If Ennis had been with Jack, it is less likely that an attack on them would have been successful.

People in relationships must nurture each other and protect each other, Ennis's denial of Jack meant he couldn't protect Jack, and so he failed Jack.

Too late, Ennis understood the consequences of failing in one's responsibility, maybe those old words from Joe Aguirre came back to haunt him, "ranch stiff, they're never no good."

Wow, I have heard alot of pontificating about this point but that was an awsome and very well thought out observation.
I love it! Man, I wish I had thet depth. I can see it after it is brought out.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on February 15, 2008, 12:16:58 pm
thanks loneleeb,

it is painful but I feel a truthful consequence Ennis's failure. not that I am not very sympathetic to Ennis, I am, I understand him. but, I feel as gay men we can't grow from the Brokie experience unless we see these painful truths. and take responsibility for our lives and for caring for the lives of those whom we love.

happy trails!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: moremojo on February 15, 2008, 02:57:49 pm
Of the two men, Ennis was the more formidable fighter and protector. This is ironic since Ennis was the one who was the most fearful of the consequences of their relationship.  Jack was more vulnerable, but the more hopeful. Ennis realized that just as he failed the sheep when he failed to protect that ewe when she was attacked and killed by the coyotes, he also failed to protect Jack by not allowing the relationship which they could have had. If Ennis had been with Jack, it is less likely that an attack on them would have been successful.
I agree with this, and would only add that I think Ennis felt guilt even when contemplating the possibility that Jack's death was the accident he was told it was. In the end, Ennis was not present at Jack's time of need, and I think that must have haunted him, even if the feeling wasn't necessarily logical (grieving often encompasses irrational thoughts).
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on February 15, 2008, 08:07:05 pm
Thanks all of you... great comments!!

It could very be that if Ennis had lived with Jack, that Jack would have been safe or safer!! I hope too!!

However, that would NOT have been nescessarally so. For instance, in my case when I had an USA army sargeant living with me, I still got anti-gay menaces... from criminals!! WE are, were, both very masculine men!! So, how do anti-gays find out if we are gays?? They know since they sense it!! ?? Even ladies would come to my place!!

Ennis, when he was young, had seen that dead gay man, one of the two who were living together or working ?? !! That One man in the BM movie was murdered even if they were two tough old birds!! More can be said about that??

Yes, we must protect oneself, two the better, and even more as a group... society!! Since criminals too often become a gang(s)!! One must know that??

It could be that Ennis found that out?? That gang which murdered Jack?? !!

Ennis still will hope for the best for Jack!! Forever!!

Hugs!!
   How can we protect ourselves??  Please do!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on February 28, 2008, 11:54:20 pm
Jack, I swear...

it was so easy to fall in love with you...

hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on March 03, 2008, 04:18:15 am
"Jack I swear,"if there's a place we go after death, love will take me to you there.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: myprivatejack on March 03, 2008, 05:50:51 am
(http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=309.0;attach=17423)
"Jack I swear,"if there's a place we go after death, love will take me to you there.
Wonderful,Rayn¡  :)  But so sad,and for a time ago,still more...
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Rayn on March 03, 2008, 12:36:15 pm
Thanks Bud.... :)
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on March 03, 2008, 05:18:15 pm
Jack I swear: that this land was made for you and me!!

For us to be together on Earth and in Heaven!!

Hugs to all Ennis' and Jacks, Almas, Lureens... and keep care!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on March 07, 2008, 09:31:19 pm
Jack, I swear...

that you and I did express ourselves.

We were in love!

Au revoir,
hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on March 08, 2008, 06:49:15 pm
Jack, I swear...

that I am missing you...

and want to see you, soon.

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: elomelo on March 13, 2008, 12:07:51 pm
Hm, maybe it meant that Ennis internally took an oath to protect Jack from his own demons but in the end said demons - being the 'tire irons' Ennis dreaded - got him in the end. This is remembering Ennis's obvious rage and jealousy during their last meeting and make-or-break argument when Jack says he's been to Mexico.

"I swear I tried to protect you."

Thoughts?
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: myprivatejack on March 13, 2008, 12:24:54 pm
I guess we'll never find an only answer to these words;each one of us has their own interpretation,that's for sure.It's just one of the many questions of the movie that remains opened to more than one answer...But,IMO,the final solution is the same: that Ennis makes a commitment with himself.He would have done things in another way if he could and he would do things in another way from this moment onwards.The tragic difference is that in his future there won't be his reason for living again... :'(
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: elomelo on March 13, 2008, 12:36:46 pm
I guess we'll never find an only answer to these words;each one of us has their own interpretation,that's for sure.It's just one of the many questions of the movie that remains opened to more than one answer...But,IMO,the final solution is the same: that Ennis makes a commitment with himself.He would have done things in another way if he could and he would do things in another way from this moment onwards.The tragic difference is that in his future there won't be his reason for living again... :'(

 :'(

So very true yet so very sad.

And maybe that just it; Ann leaves us to interpret Ennis's word according to what we've seen of his life and make of it wahat we may.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on March 13, 2008, 08:52:24 pm
Thanks elomelo, thanks myprivatejack!!

Like you say:
Quote
And maybe that just it; Ann leaves us to interpret Ennis's word according to what we've seen of his life and make of it wahat we may.
........

To you both and to others: may I reply yes as well as no.

Annie works in circles... so it could be much more, if we consider different spot lights placed??

Hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: elomelo on March 14, 2008, 01:18:14 pm
Ah, we're going in circles now! ;)

Maybe it meant if he could do it over again, things would've been different. Ennis never didn't want the sweet life with Jack; he just didn't want Jack to be hurt and end up like Earl and Rich from his childhood.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: loneleeb3 on March 14, 2008, 04:08:54 pm
Ah, we're going in circles now! ;)

Maybe it meant if he could do it over again, things would've been different. Ennis never didn't want the sweet life with Jack; he just didn't want Jack to be hurt and end up like Earl and Rich from his childhood.
Nicely Said  :)
Whatever he meant, whyever he said it then, it's heart breaking in no uncertain terms!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Monika on March 22, 2008, 02:20:09 pm
Personally I don´t think Ennis meant anything.
Jack is dead, game over. Therefor there is nothing for him to say, something I think he feels acutely. There is simply nothing left for him to swear to.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on March 22, 2008, 04:53:28 pm
Thanks buffymon!

Wwow, may I ask why you say that?

Ennis has no more thoughts for Jack?

Au revoir,
hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Monika on March 22, 2008, 05:28:06 pm
Thanks buffymon!

Wwow, may I ask why you say that?

Ennis has no more thoughts for Jack?

Au revoir,
hugs!

I mean that there is nothing left for him to say. Of course he has a lot of things we would like to say but he know ít´s to late. To late for any words or promises. I have just always interprited the scene as Ennis knowing that there is nothing he can swear to, and that´s the reason he never finish that sentence


Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on March 31, 2008, 07:16:48 pm
Jack, I swear..." 

getting married to you is something I have avoided for so long, and now I regret that!!

Au revoir,
hugs!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 01, 2008, 11:32:44 am
Jack, I swear..." 

that I LOVE you
,

and I will never forget you !!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 01, 2008, 11:34:09 am
Jack, I swear..." 

that I will plant a Rose of PEACE...

for you to be happy with!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 02, 2008, 02:46:51 pm
And here it is... for you Jack!

Jack, I swear that I will plant one at your place very year!!

Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 02, 2008, 06:08:21 pm
Jack I swear...

that both of us are man to man friendship, that I will plant some narcissus for you and I...
since I think many times  about you!

Etymology
There are two derivations of the name. One is that of the youth of Greek mythology called Narcissus, who, in at least one of many variations of the tale, became so obsessed with his own reflection as he kneeled and gazed into a pool of water that he fell into the water and drowned. The legend continues that the Narcissus plant first sprang from where he died. The other derivation is that the plant is named after its narcotic properties (narkoa, to numb in Greek).
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: brokeplex on April 02, 2008, 06:22:01 pm
Jack I swear...

that both of us are man to man friendship, that I will plant some narcissus for you and I...
since I think many times  about you!

Etymology
There are two derivations of the name. One is that of the youth of Greek mythology called Narcissus, who, in at least one of many variations of the tale, became so obsessed with his own reflection as he kneeled and gazed into a pool of water that he fell into the water and drowned. The legend continues that the Narcissus plant first sprang from where he died. The other derivation is that the plant is named after its narcotic properties (narkoa, to numb in Greek).


that is very pretty daffodil!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on April 02, 2008, 06:33:09 pm
Merci brokeplex!

Would you consider narcissus or daffodil as the gay flower for gay men ??

Au revoir,
hugs!  Note the shorter centre !!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on December 20, 2008, 11:51:30 pm
Jack, I swear, that I always think of you, being my lover, and on Christmas too!!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Artiste on December 24, 2008, 07:38:41 pm
Jack I swear, that I am wishing you Merry Christmas Eve!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Shakesthecoffecan on January 30, 2014, 12:12:45 pm
In an interview this morning on NPRs "Morning Edition" Annie Proulx and Charles Wuorinen spoke of the expansion of the characters in the Libretto of the Brokeback Mountain Opera. There is a scene of Alma in a wedding dress store.

Considering this libretto is coming from Proulx herself, it seems "Jack, I swear" is finally explained. Please follow the link:

http://www.npr.org/blogs/deceptivecadence/2014/01/27/267225321/cowboys-in-love-brokeback-mountain-saddles-up-for-opera

And listen to the audio of the story, right about 7:05 you will hear:

"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: Katie77 on January 31, 2014, 12:52:49 am

"It was only you in my life, and it will always be only you, Jack, I swear."

Yes.....I can feel that very much, and when I picture Ennis saying "I swear", I can believe that is what he meant...

BUT WHY has it taken Proulx so long to disclose it......WHY?????
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: southendmd on January 31, 2014, 06:52:35 am
I think it's because in opera, Ennis can't just mumble. He has to wear his heart on his sleeve. I'll let you know tomorrow when I see the opera!
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: coyoteman on January 07, 2016, 07:33:47 pm
I have spent two days reading the posts on this long, long thread - fascinating and wonderful that so many have thought long and hard about the walloping conclusion of this great film.
While it was touched upon in a couple of posts, little discussion has been focused upon the context of the final "Jack, I swear -" line.  It is delivered to the closet, the powerful symbol and pink elephant character of the film.  The story is about homophobia in all it's layered and dangerously intertwined aspects:  the homophobia of society, of prevailing religion, of families and of the individuals - AND the absolute destruction that it wrecks upon each of these.
For homosexuality/gay/queer is not about a sex act or sexual preference but about love and where our love wants to go.  In the case of Jack and Ennis, love wants to go to someone of the same sex.  It is this that is countered with the silence of the closet, with homophobia.
Ennis is honoring where his love wanted to go by first tidying the shrine (symbolically moved from one closet to another) and vocalizing an oath.  Honored, yes, but hidden and silent inside Ennis' closet and by extension the closet of his family and society.
I believe that Annie is challenging each of us to dismantle the closet, to let love loose from it, to give it voice and name.
The final words must be left open ended, because it is till the love that dare not speak it's name.
Title: Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
Post by: southendmd on January 07, 2016, 07:50:31 pm
Welcome, coyoteman. 

Wanna cup of coffee, dontcha?  Piece of cherry cake?