Author Topic: Broken in Two  (Read 66167 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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Broken in Two
« on: May 03, 2006, 04:46:18 pm »
I have always wondered about the significance of the term, Brokeback Mountain. I am just starting to have some insight. This fictional mountain exists in the Rocky Mountains near the Continental Divide, which divides North America, as well as Wyoming, in two. One way of interpreting the story is on a sociological level: BBM is a "western" which embraces the duality of west and east (the director is Asian), rural and urban, modern and primordial, gay and straight, sheepherders and cowboys, family farms and towns/businesses. The two main characters had many similarities, but they came from opposite corners of the state. Wyoming itself is a state of contrasts. The northeast portion is flat and boasts the richest deposits of coal in North America in the Powder River Basin. The western portion is mountainous and devoted primarily to agriculture, including ranching and livestock.

There is a part of the story left out of the movie which gave me another clue to the naming of Brokeback Mountain. As Jack and Ennis relax together at the motel after reuniting, Jack tells Ennis why the Army "didn't get him" and he got out of rodeoing: "Got...a stress fracture, the arm bone here....Even if you tape it good, you break it a little goddam bit at a time. . . . Had a busted leg. Busted in three places. . . . Bunch a other things, f**kin busted ribs, sprains and pains, torn ligaments." Not only is Jack's body broken, but in the end his ashes were divided up, never to be made whole again, and far from Brokeback Mountain.
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Offline nakymaton

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2006, 04:57:04 pm »
From the other side of the Continental Divide... ;D

I love this.

"You break it a little goddam bit at a time..."

Yeeouch. Do you think it was like that, every time Ennis refused the possibility of a "sweet life"?
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Offline southendmd

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2006, 05:03:37 pm »
F-R,

I like the east/west idea.

Also, the Timmy character talks about 'breakin' my back' shoveling asphalt, and 'strong back, weak mind' dichotomy.

The most compelling idea I've heard involves 'Symposium' by Plato; this is also alluded to in 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' during the song 'Origin of Love' with its wonderful animation.  The concept is of three kinds of beings: children of the sun (two men stuck together back to back), earth (two women) and moon (a man and a woman) who are separated by the gods by a lightning bolt down the back. They are scattered over the earth, and struggle to find their "other half".

Has anyone heard what Proulx herself might have intended?

Offline j.U.d.E.

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2006, 05:19:35 pm »
I've been thinking about the meaning of Brokeback Mountain too. Afraid to ask though, because there were questions about 'why Brokeback Mountain' at nauseam on the big board..

Still wondering why Annie Proulx chose that name..

Way too easy probably, but 'brokeback' -> broken back.. Someone with a broken back is paralyzed.. which is kind of what Ennis is..

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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2006, 05:40:20 pm »
Nothing on her website about it. Here's what I found through a general search:

Means worthless, swayback, or double peak:
http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/002913.html

OT, but about Proulx' prose:
http://www.pbs.org/speak/seatosea/powerprose/texas/

Well, that's about all...
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moremojo

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2006, 05:48:01 pm »

Has anyone heard what Proulx herself might have intended?
I believe I read somewhere that there is a site in Wyoming called Breakback Mountain, and that Proulx was inspired to tweak this a bit to form 'Brokeback Mountain'. But it should be stressed that Brokeback Mountain is not meant to stand in for Breakback Mountain, and the town of Signal is likewise fictional.

I've also read comments alluding to the sexually suggestive connotations of 'Brokeback', along with its more obvious connotations of a hard life (as in, "back-breaking work", the kind that Ennis endured for his whole existence).

Offline starboardlight

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2006, 06:13:08 pm »
There is a part of the story left out of the movie which gave me another clue to the naming of Brokeback Mountain. As Jack and Ennis relax together at the motel after reuniting, Jack tells Ennis why the Army "didn't get him" and he got out of rodeoing: "Got...a stress fracture, the arm bone here....Even if you tape it good, you break it a little goddam bit at a time. . . . Had a busted leg. Busted in three places. . . . Bunch a other things, f**kin busted ribs, sprains and pains, torn ligaments." Not only is Jack's body broken, but in the end his ashes were divided up, never to be made whole again, and far from Brokeback Mountain.

that just made me think of the song in Hedwig.

"And, if we don't behave,
They'll tear us down again."

Jack dreamed further than fate would allow, and so he is torn in half yet again.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2006, 06:17:01 pm »
Those are really interesting observations southend and starboard!
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Offline j.U.d.E.

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2006, 06:23:28 pm »
Quote
Means worthless, swayback
Don't quite like that..

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Offline ednbarby

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Re: Broken in Two
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2006, 06:29:02 pm »
"You break it a little goddam bit at a time..."

Yeeouch. Do you think it was like that, every time Ennis refused the possibility of a "sweet life"?

Wow.  Never made that connection.  But I'm always going on about how we watch Jack's heart break a little bit at a time over the course of the movie.  Thanks for that.   :-*
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