Author Topic: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"  (Read 8792 times)

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #40 on: November 15, 2007, 10:32:40 pm »
Well good for you!  Hold onto that brass ring as long as you can!  Gonna be a fun ride.

"Ain't no reins on this one!"  ;D
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #41 on: November 16, 2007, 01:11:41 am »
Another possibility is that Annie did say it, and perhaps she even meant it, and she might be wrong about what it means.  Many brilliant artists create dazzling works of art, and are notoriously unreliable critics of their own work.


I also completely agree with this.  Artists (in general) really often do have an interesting blind spot when it comes to truly looking at their own work.  I suppose this is somewhat understandable since they're also **so** close to the work itself.  Sometimes it takes an objective viewer to get a real grasp on a work of art or to see how it might have greater/fuller meaning than even the artist could predict or articulate.


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Offline delalluvia

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #42 on: November 16, 2007, 02:01:28 am »
I've no idea what Annie Proulx meant.  Obviously not everyone who watched BBM is gay, so I'm not sure what a 'test' is supposed to conclude.

I'm straight and I always thought Jack's death was an accident.  So what does that mean?

Personally, I relate to the story/movie in very realistic terms and in reality, more people die from accidents while working on their cars than by violence of any kind.

Yes, Ang most definitely wanted to make Jack's death less ambiguous than Annie intended, hence the scenes we all saw in the preview, but Ang made some changes to the short story that I don't agree with and probably shifted Annie's intent of the story somewhat for the sake of artistry and symbolism which I agree was brilliant.  Making Jack's death a murder would have fit neatly into the bookends/circles the plot/Ennis character goes through in the movie and made it much more satisfying artistically, but I find it reassuring that the Book Gods decreed that it not be so. Ang tried to fit in the unambiguous scene, but it kept the story from flowing smoothly. 

I think the writers said Ang tried to make the scene work, but in the end left it out because it just didn't.

Some things are just meant to be and Jack's fate in BBM was meant to be ambiguous and it is.

Offline Lynne

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #43 on: November 16, 2007, 02:33:16 am »
Hi all, this is my first post, after getting a comment on my blog from someone here ("J"?).

Anyway, here's my thoughts: I'm one of those people who likes to let a movie just "be". A movie is what it is, and BBM is an excellent example of that. It's supposed to be ambiguous. There are no firm answers, and that's okay.

Either way, murder or accident, one point comes across clearly: If you care for someone, don't just settle for a few "high altitude f***s". Don't wait, don't let yourself be filled with regret when you're older, don't let yourself be shocked when someone you thought would always be there is gone.

I just saw BBM for the first time a few days ago, and that realization hit me like a ton of bricks. So, in a couple of weeks I'll be moving a few hours away to be with a man who loves me very much, and who I love very much. Thanks, Annie, for that.

Welcome to BetterMost, SimonNolan, and thanks for posting!

I had much the same take on BBM especially with respect to missed opportunities.  Congratulations on your move and to your commitment to your lover - I wish you every happiness!

-Lynne
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Offline smellykellyjay

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #44 on: November 16, 2007, 04:06:54 am »
I read the short story awhile before I saw the movie, which I saw the week of its release in New York City, so I'd pretty much made up my mind before I saw the film, discussed it with others, and read BbM message boards. 

My first thought was that Jack's death was an accident, and I stick to that interpretation.  I suppose it's plausible to me because the father of one of my elementary school classmates died when a tire blew up in his face back when I was a kid.  I've never forgotten that.  I also worked for several years in an auto plant and have hung around enough auto shops to be familiar with safety when it comes to tires.  Now that it's been mentioned here, I recall that Proulx’s describing it as an accident contributed to my thinking as well. 

But I stick with the accident theory, even with thoughts and potential to the contrary, mainly because it makes me feel better.  I mean, it's bad enough that he died, but I can't hardly stand to think of Jack being murdered.  It makes an already sad situation unbearable and is even too cynical and pessimistic for me.  It feels hopeless.  It feels like it makes Ennis right, possibly even justifying and condoning why he lived as he did. 

I think Ennis's interpretation of Jack's death as murder is a reflection of Ennis's fears.  In the story (not in the movie), Ennis says when he and Jack are in the hotel room, “I don't want to be like them guys you see around sometimes.  And I don't want to be dead.”  Then a little later, regarding his father, “If he was alive and was to put his head in that door right now you bet he'd go get his tire iron.” 

Seems to me that Ennis was preoccupied with the idea that being gay lead to being killed for it.  It's kinda like how some people refuse to step one toe into a big city because they see those places as crime-ridden war zones where they'll be mugged or beaten or killed within 15 minutes of entering the city limits. 

I've long thought that part of Ennis's getting so upset with Jack when they last saw each other was because he was concerned that Jack was being too open with his homosexuality and that it was putting Jack's life in danger and that Jack kept pushing Ennis to be “careless” too.  As far as Ennis was concerned, what Jack was doing and suggesting that Ennis do was about the same as lying down on the railroad tracks and taking a nap. 

Regarding Lureen and Ennis's telephone conversation. . . I've read a lot of people say they just know, can tell, that Lureen is lying to Ennis when she tells him how Jack died, but only in this thread have I've seen it suggested that maybe Lureen is telling the truth but that she's told the tale so many times that she has a script of it memorized. 

I mean, a 39-year-old man in good health doesn't often just up and die.  People are going to be curious as to how he died and ask questions about it.  It's surely not pleasant recounting over and over again how he died, being quizzed for the details. 

Maybe she worked up a response that told the whole story (flat tire, alone on a back road) in a few sentences so she could just get it over with, avoid a long conversation, answering questions about it.  Maybe by having it scripted, she could recite it by rote and not have to really think about it or dredge up too many emotions. 

Maybe the “Oh yeah” that preceded her telling Ennis was her digging that script out in her mind.  It had been several months since Jack died, and Ennis's call was unexpected.  She had probably not had to talk about how Jack died for awhile, so she needed a couple of seconds to remember it. 

I'm too tired right now to think much on what all this says about me.  Hell, I've had a tough enough time making sure I didn't mess up on my verb tenses in this post.  Y'all figure it out if you want and get back to me.  I'm going to bed. 
I been one poor correspondent, and I been too, too hard to find, but it doesn't mean you ain't been on my mind.  -- America

Offline BelAir

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #45 on: November 16, 2007, 09:54:34 am »
I think it says that you have a good handle on the English language, and have given time and consideration to the characters' motivations in both the movie and the short story.

  ;)
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #46 on: November 20, 2007, 07:13:33 pm »
Jack was murdered!

Other way than that... is just wishfull thinking!

There are too many gays being murdered because one is a gay man!! Unfortunate, but facts are real!

That to me is what Annie says!! So a gay man must be careful! And society needs to be changed!

But the BM movie seems to accent maybe for death?

Hugs!


Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #47 on: January 14, 2008, 03:05:29 pm »
Well, she did say (and I'm quoting from our front page here):

Quote
"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 Proulx
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Offline Artiste

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #48 on: January 15, 2008, 12:43:45 pm »
Thansk Atz, and thanks to others too!!

Atz, you say: I also completely agree with this.  Artists (in general) really often do have an interesting blind spot when it comes to truly looking at their own work.  I suppose this is somewhat understandable since they're also **so** close to the work itself.  Sometimes it takes an objective viewer to get a real grasp on a work of art or to see how it might have greater/fuller meaning than even the artist could predict or articulate.



....

Atz, may I agree with you! Plus say too that, since I am an artist who create paintings on canvas, that there are times (mostly in my case) that I know what I did; as an example, there were some abstracts (in a way) created by me years ago, and when I met a friend of a friend, I was so surprised that he had realized what I had done!! He was a student becoming soon a minister (pastor), and he told me exactly which religious or humanistic subject I had created in EACH different painting I had created!!

I think that Jack's death was a test... in many ways. I am starting to understand that... I feel.

Hugs!

Offline RossInIllinois

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Re: Annie says Jack's death is a "test"
« Reply #49 on: January 30, 2008, 03:40:00 pm »
It sure makes sense to me.  Even more so because Ennis is in "hiding" and he sees it as a killing/murder in his eyes in the short and in the film. What she did was give the story two endings and let the readers/viewers decide Jacks fate on there own. Its really very clever considering the subject matter.