Author Topic: How Did Jack Die?  (Read 36388 times)

Marge_Innavera

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #70 on: August 25, 2012, 02:12:06 pm »
There's another hint to the reality of Jack's demise...his origins in the town of Lightning Flat!

As we all discovered when we looked for Lightning Flat on a map, it's in a very isolated part of the US state with the lowest population density.  And according to what history I've seen of the town, Lightning Flat was almost a ghost town in the early-mid 1940s when Jack was born, and very little left of it when he came of age.  It contributes to the theme of both men leading very isolated lives, although Jack's life doesn't appear that way to outsiders.

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #71 on: August 25, 2012, 03:19:57 pm »
After six+ years, my opinion hasn't changed. Of course we can't know for certain, that's how the story is meant to be. We're left with some open space, just like Ennis is.
However, I've always thought Jack died in an accident with the tire rim. My reasoning is pretty much the same as Katherine's (no surprise here :laugh:).

Jack dies in an accident, far away from Ennis, who doesn't even know about it for months (oh my, the thought is so cruel, still). The story simply makes more sense that way. Had Jack died in a gay-bashing, then Ennis would have been right all along to deny them the sweet life. But if Jack dies in a freak accident, Ennis denying them the sweet life is completely and utterly in vein.
You can't get any more tragic. Ennis lets himself be guided by his (understandable and justified) fear, and it doesn't do him or Jack any good. His crippling fear, bordering on paranoia, leads him (both, really) to a lonesome, sad existence, but doesn't buy them safety in exchange.

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #72 on: August 25, 2012, 03:49:58 pm »
It's late August, the time when Jack died under mysterious circumstances.

Why do you think Jack died in August, even in late August?

I rather think it was June/July.

Ennis didn't know about it for months - plural, meaning minimum two. If Jack died in late August - then you'd have to add at least two months - making it end of October before Ennis gets the postcard back, stamped deceased.
I think that's too close to the proposed Nov 7th gathering (the camping trip that never was :'().

What if one of them couldn't come on the proposed date? They had to consider the possibility of a change in date when communicating via postcards, give it enough time to write back and forth. Thus I think Ennis wrote the postcard with plenty time for Jack to reply and even write a second one, confirming a different date (say, if Jack had replied "Can't make it before the 11th" or something like that).

In the story, Ennis' postcard said "that November still looked like the first chance". He wouldn't say this if he wrote the card at a time on October.


Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #73 on: August 25, 2012, 07:10:20 pm »
Why do you think Jack died in August, even in late August?

I rather think it was June/July.

I guess I thought it was late August because chowhound said so in the thread "An Accurate Timeline of BBM--let's figure it out together!" I got interested in that thread when I was researching the August 13th banner that I did. It makes sense if Jack was conceptualized as a continuation of the harvest god myth, where the barley is harvested in August to make the whiskey or beer.

Keep in mind that the US Postal System has nothing close to the efficiency that the German system undoubtedly has. And back then it was even worse. Ennis may have sent the postcard in September or October but didn't get it back until close to November.
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Offline Marina

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #74 on: August 25, 2012, 07:11:25 pm »
I have to agree that, and also after having read the story, that Ennis thought Jack died by an attack, but he may have died just the way Lureen described.   The way the scene cuts to Jack being beaten as if in Ennis' mind as Lureen tells him what happened.  Her answer does sound a bit rehearsed, but that may be from repeating the account to others.    Yes, homophobia was and is out there, but the great tragedy is that Ennis had internalized it and believed it himself.   His question to Jack "do the people on the pavement know" reminds me of almost like when a child has done something he or she feels is "wrong", and keeps it to himself and doesn't tell, but then feels guilty and thinks everybody "knows".   He certainly was damaged by what he was made to witness as a child.  Jack, of course, while not unsympathetic, seems to lose patience with that kind of thinking.  

I think after hearing Ennis' voice over the telephone, it does possibly bring to Lureen an awareness that she probably didn't want to face consciously.  

Also "Jack in the Green" is who I thought of - their times together up on Brokeback in summertime and in the mountains in Ennis' youth - also a dying-and-rebirth figure.
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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #75 on: August 26, 2012, 10:21:01 am »
In the first picture that is on the news banner right now, there is a field of barley growing outside the window. The second picture is of John Barleycorn as a scarecrow.


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Offline RossInIllinois

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #76 on: August 26, 2012, 12:50:36 pm »
Well since the death took place in the late 70s if it would have been murder it would have been very public even in Texas. I say death by tire but in Enis imagination it was death by tire iron. Nothing else really makes sense. There would be no reason for Laureen to cover it up to Enis

Offline southendmd

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #77 on: August 26, 2012, 06:56:56 pm »
Are we really still at this?!!! LOL

I noticed there is one vote for a third option.  Wonder who that is and what they thought. 

I'd strictly separate the story from the film here.  Seems like most folks here are talking about the film.

On first viewing, Lureen's story sounds stilted and suspicious, and the tire iron scene wasn't so clearly just in Ennis's head.  I suspect the reason that the majority of people in the poll believe the tire iron is because many of us identify with Ennis.

But here's a question:  although they were deleted, what was the point of these guys?


We know them from the trailer, but never see them again.  Was Ang/Diana/Larry trying to add more ambiguity?

Just imagine for a minute, if this scene were included.  Wouldn't it have introduced more doubt to Lureen's story and more credence to Ennis's?

Here is an interesting discussion from findingbrokeback.com:


The Sneering Mechanics scene was placed between Ennis’s meeting with Cassie and Carl in the bus station café and his second post office visit.


153   EXT: GAS STATION: ROAD OUTSIDE CHILDRESS, TEXAS: DAY: 1982:   153

JACK’S truck pulls up to the dirt lot next to the gas station. A MECHANIC, tire jack in hand, fiddling with a car, takes a beer from his BUDDY, who sits on a tire nearby. They both watch as RANDALL gets out of the truck and walks to his own truck parked in the lot, waving back at JACK. The MECHANIC trades knowing glances with his friend.

Their POV:

RANDALL’S truck pulls out of the lot, goes in one direction.

JACK’S pulls out after him, going in the opposite direction.

WIDE:

We hold on JACK’S truck, as it drives off into the distance.

[Script excerpt]


“It was removed to add ambiguity; Lee believes that the harder the audience must work, the better the result,” says a reliable source. There are at least three other excellent arguments for deletion of the Sneering Mechanics scene.

1. It elevates “I wish I knew how to quit you,” and the Dozy Embrace, to their rightful place as Jack’s valediction. Absent the Sneering Mechanics scene, we remember Jack as a man deeply in love, who spent his unhappy life struggling to overcome the consequences of hatred and fear. Could there be a higher honor?

2. It has given rise to literally thousands of hours of vigorous discussion and debate about Jack’s fidelity, and the issue of monogamy in general. Fan websites are awash in lengthy arguments over Jack and his “ranch neighbor friend.” Ennis never knew the truth with certainty, and neither will we.

3. Jack’s fate becomes the film’s much-celebrated mystery. Is Lureen telling the truth? When we witness the murder are we seeing what actually happened or is it Ennis’s imagination at work? Perhaps most intriguing of all, why does it matter to us so?

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #78 on: August 26, 2012, 10:24:37 pm »
I was hoping you would weigh in on this friend! Thank you!
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Offline Penthesilea

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #79 on: August 27, 2012, 02:17:27 am »
Are we really still at this?!!! LOL


Not still, but again. ;D
I find it interesting how people see this question now, in contrast to then. If their believes and/or feelings about it have changed over times. Mine did.
My opinion about how Jack died hasn't changed, as stated above. But how I feel about it has. Back then I tended heavily towards accident, but the doubt was nagging. Now, not so much. In my personal view, all the hours of intellectual exchange, weighing options and rewatching/rereading the movie and story have confirmed what my gut feeling always knew.
And the fact that others see it differently is interesting and perfectly valid, but doesn't faze me.



Quote
On first viewing, Lureen's story sounds stilted and suspicious, and the tire iron scene wasn't so clearly just in Ennis's head.  I suspect the reason that the majority of people in the poll believe the tire iron is because many of us identify with Ennis.

Agreed. On first viewing, many people get a different impression: that Lureeen tells one story, but the director shows us what really happened. I came out of the theater, completely sure Jack was murdered. Later, at home, the doubts set in.
Apart from the viewer identifying with Ennis, the fact that nobody can pick up all the subtleties at one viewing contributes to people's believe Jack was murdered.




Quote
But here's a question:  although they were deleted, what was the point of these guys?
[...]
Just imagine for a minute, if this scene were included.  Wouldn't it have introduced more doubt to Lureen's story and more credence to Ennis's?

It would be harder to recognize the murder scene as being in Ennis's head. It would convince people even more that the murder scene was what really happened. And that's the exact reason why it was deleted, IMO.
Heck, even I might change camps if it were in the movie.

Going a step further: I know Ang Lee said Lureen lied on the phone with Ennis. I know I'm leaning far out of the window here, but maybe even Mr. Lee doesn't know the one and only truth about it.


Quote
I'd strictly separate the story from the film here.  Seems like most folks here are talking about the film.

Speaking story only, the biggest clues are:

Ennis didn't know about the accident for months
So now he knew it had been the tire iron. (Ennis knew, in his head, just like in the movie)