Author Topic: How Did Jack Die?  (Read 29181 times)

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #80 on: August 27, 2012, 02:23:41 am »
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.

Oh, just realizing this. If it were included at this point (not during the phone call), it would kill any ambiguity completely. It couldn't be in Ennis' head, since Ennis doesn't yet know. It would be like "meanwhile, in Texas" and then I would accept it totally as reality. I'd change camps for sure.


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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #81 on: August 27, 2012, 03:38:51 pm »
Not still, but again. ;D

Haha! You bet!

I can't believe it, but I got to readin' and thinkin' some more!  This discussion always takes me back to CaseyCornelius's classic IMDb thread "Ennis's Maledictions".  It's archived here.  But also, it was a rich "topic of the week" back in January 2008--another poll, where I was in the "we are not supposed to know" camp. 

I wrote this, in response to Chrissi's pointing out that all six times "tire iron" is mentioned, it is by Ennis.


Great point, Chrissi. (Isn't it great to be able to search the story?)

I'm reminded of one of my favorite IMDb discussions:  Ennis's Maledictions with CaseyCornelius.  Briefly, there are three:

1) "You probably deserve it" in response to Jack's statement that he feared getting shot by Lureen or "the husband" every time he slips off to see the ranchman's wife.

2) Most importantly, the Mexico response, "All them things I don't know could get you killed if I should come to know them".

3) "Why don't you" (quit me).

I would add 4) "I can't stand this anymore, Jack" at the end of the Lake Scene, just before the dozy embrace.

In my opinion, Ennis psychologically  kills Jack.  Why?  Because Jack has broken their pact that they're not "queer".  Notice their last night together, they're talking about their "women", Ennis's Cassie and Jack's rancher's wife.  But, Jack ventures the "truth" with "...sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."  Awfully close to "I love you".

The closer Jack gets to "queer", the more distressed Ennis gets.  Thus, Mexico is the last straw.  If Jack is queer, so is Ennis, and he can't stand that. 

Ennis is predetermined to believe queer = violent death, because of Earl (and his expectation his father would have come into the motel with the tire iron).

In the story, the sequence goes from:  Lureen's call--->believing tire iron--->end of call--->didn't know if it were tire iron or real accident--->OMT mentions the other fella--->now he knew it was the tire iron.

So, as Chrissi points out, all the tire iron references come from Ennis.  I think the murder is a projection  on his part.


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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #82 on: August 27, 2012, 04:16:06 pm »
Ang said that Lureen was lying.  He says it's better to let the audience work for it.

When asked, Annie would say she doesn't know which way it was.  She says we have to finish the story ourselves.

How are we mere mortals to know?

So, I think it's unknowable.  And we'll just have to stand it. 

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Offline Sason

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #83 on: August 27, 2012, 04:33:32 pm »
Ang said that Lureen was lying.  He says it's better to let the audience work for it.

When asked, Annie would say she doesn't know which way it was.  She says we have to finish the story ourselves.

How are we mere mortals to know?

So, I think it's unknowable.  And we'll just have to stand it. 




I don't think we're actually supposed to know, because of what both Ang and Annie said.

The ambiguity is deliberate, in both story and film.


And, I think Ennis too would have to stand it; to live the rest of his life without knowing.

When he first hears about the accident, he immediately thinks of the tire iron, for sure.
That will probably always be his first reaction to any gay man's death.
But later, when the shock wears off, he may start to wonder. Why would Lureen lie to him?
I think there's a chance he will reevaluate his first assumption, at least later in life. And come to the conclusion
that he will never know for sure.

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #84 on: August 27, 2012, 11:11:32 pm »
When asked, Annie would say she doesn't know which way it was.  She says we have to finish the story ourselves.

I've seen this, and frankly I find it disappointing. I hope she's being disingenuous.

If Jack died as Lureen described it, then the story is about how the damage from homophobia is so pervasive that it infects even the people it targets, destroying their lives from within. It's a brilliant concept, which Ang and Larry/Diana expressed a number of times, including the pool players in the Jimbo scenes and most of Aguirre's post-binoculars scenes.

If Jack died as Ennis imagines it, then the story is about how small-town people in the early 1980s could sometimes be violent homophobes. Surprise, surprise.

Leaving it to seem ambiguous lets us experience what Ennis did, just as the pool-hall scene lets us experience what Jack did. But I hope the "reality" is that Lureen is telling the truth.



Offline Meryl

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #85 on: August 28, 2012, 10:58:25 am »
Thanks for the well-considered thoughts, buds.  I've always been in the Ironite camp, but I do find the subtler Rimmist view compelling and persuasive.  I think I'll join Paul in the "we're not supposed to know" category.
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Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #86 on: September 14, 2012, 06:04:39 pm »
Here is a photo of the tall barley that grows in Bieseker, Alberta, Canada, where the closing scene looking out Ennis's trailer was filmed:

May 2019 be better for us all.

Offline RouxB

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Re: How Did Jack Die?
« Reply #87 on: May 01, 2013, 08:36:44 pm »
The one place I refused to step foot on that first trip  :'(

I tend to think I have nothing left to discuss on this topic---and I'm always wrong  ::)

 I have always believed, and still do, that it is meant to be ambiguous but in my heart believe Lureen.  Right this minute it occurs to me that in finishing the story in our own way we are either supporting/confirming/justifying(?) Ennis' fear (Ennis' version) or we are rejecting Ennis' fear (Lureen's version)- that his and Jack's love would result in their death. So while Ennis' and Lureen's version can't both be accurate, the realities- their love won't necessarily get them killed and their love could get them killed-are both true.
 O0

Here is a photo of the tall barley that grows in Bieseker, Alberta, Canada, where the closing scene looking out Ennis's trailer was filmed:





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