Author Topic: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie  (Read 6323 times)

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #20 on: May 07, 2009, 01:26:02 pm »
Musing on the topic of food and eating in the movie today...It's interesting that Jack told Ennis "Friend, that's the most you've said in two weeks." And later, Jack's son Bobby complained that "I'm going to be eating this food for two weeks" at Thanksgiving dinner. I've often wondered why the screenwriters had Bobby saying that, and why he was made to eat ambrosia. He was too old to be teething. The only conclusion I can think of was that he was hungry and whining while his mama took three hours to cook dinner, so was given the ambrosia to tide him over. But, Lureen told Bobby to "eat your dinner" when she caught him watching football. So, clearly Bobbie was eating the ambrosia instead of turkey. Maybe he was a picky eater. He seemed to be high maintenance, as he needed a tutor, and seemed to have a classic only child personality. Probably took after Jack in that way. And Mrs. Twist was depicted in the story as coring apples with a sharp serrated instrument. There must be a meaning hidden in here somewhere!
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Offline optom3

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #21 on: May 07, 2009, 02:49:01 pm »
It has always intrigued me that one of the more overt signs of Ennis starting to display some feelings about/towards Jack, is when he tries to replace the beans with soup.He has already been told soup is a pain so he is putting himself out for Jack.
The episode continues, with  the best intentions of Ennis being thwarted by a bear. On returning to camp, Jack immediately tries to bathe the wound on Ennis's head, but is pushed away.
It seems there is an ongoing and invisible tug of war. Ennis has maybe recognised within himself, some emotion of which he is wary. It is undoubtedly alien to him, and he seems unwilling, to accept or acknowledge it on anything but his own terms. So his plan to please Jack,with the soup, goes wrong and when Jack then tries to aid him, he is pushed away and we are back with taciturn Ennis.This theme pretty much continues, with Ennis calling most of the shots.
 We seem to have 2 tugs of war ongoing.The one between Ennis and Jack, which is both emotional and physical and the one within the deep recesses of Ennis's mind.Food is universally acknowledged to be nurturing, loving, providing succour and it is interesting that this is the route Ennis chooses as he stumbles around with his new found emotions.Which returns to the way he seasons the food. It seems food, in all its guises is a way Ennis has found to move closer to Jack. It is demonstrated later, when they go from separate drinking cups to passing the bottle and each swigging from it.

I personally have always thought the preparing and serving of food to the one you love, is a very intimate gesture.





Offline LauraGigs

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2009, 12:05:52 pm »
Quote
Food is universally acknowledged to be nurturing, loving, providing succour and it is interesting that this is the route Ennis chooses as he stumbles around with his new found emotions. Which returns to the way he seasons the food. It seems food, in all its guises is a way Ennis has found to move closer to Jack.

Oh yeah I love the way Ennis is seasoning the food at the beginning of the "commutin 4 hours a day" scene.  You see him shake the salt/pepper into his hand first (to see if it's flowing or how fast it's flowing) and then onto the food.  A big extra touch for a stoic sheepherder!  I wonder if that was in the script, an Ang Lee direction, or Heath Ledger's idea.

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2009, 01:11:46 pm »
Oh yeah I love the way Ennis is seasoning the food at the beginning of the "commutin 4 hours a day" scene.  You see him shake the salt/pepper into his hand first (to see if it's flowing or how fast it's flowing) and then onto the food.  A big extra touch for a stoic sheepherder!  I wonder if that was in the script, an Ang Lee direction, or Heath Ledger's idea.

Not in the script, as I recall (at least an early version of it). My guess is that Heath was showing that Ennis was worth his salt!! And notice how he takes his glove off to shake the salt into his hand...that's powerful symbolism. His other hand is gloved as a form of potholder to withstand the heat of the cast iron skillet.
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Offline optom3

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2009, 01:41:33 pm »
One other food scene I LOVE is when Ennis manages to shoot the deer. Jack is ecstatic like an overgrown kid, Ennis gives that wonderful slightly shy and embarrassed smile of his, as if to say shucks it wasn't nothing. Instead he says, was getting tired of your dumbass missing. That smile gives it all away though, he is pleased to have done something for Jack. Yet again it is food related.
It is odd to me that Ennis uses food simultaneously as a sign of his growing feelings and yet also as a mask.He can always grunt some off the cuff remark as if to say, don't read anything into this.Another internal tug of war he goes through, as if to provide himself with both an entrance and exit, he always has a safety net.

I know this next bit is from the S.S but it is related I think. When the two meet after 4 years, Ennis tells Jack of how he "got gut cramps so bad------thought I ate something bad "
 We see the alley scene in the movie, although we don't get the conversation, Ennis literally is love sick. He admits as much to Jack in the story, when he says,"took me about a year a figure out it was I shouldn't a let you out a my sights. Too late then by a long, long while"
That sentence when I first read the story tore me apart.I knew then there was going to be no happy ending, but  still hoped. Ennis may not have had a long education, but he knew exactly what had made him sick in the alley. It is also telling that he must have thought of it on and off for a year, trying to work it out.

Offline LauraGigs

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #25 on: May 10, 2009, 05:26:35 pm »
[from another thread but I think it's appropriate for here]

Quote from: Front-Ranger
I am wondering why AP had Jack eat two bowls of stew, two bottles of beer, four of Ennis's stone biscuits, and a can of peaches one evening early in their Brokeback Mountain adventure...

Obviously Proulx is indicating Jack's ravenous nature and appreciation of what Ennis provides.  But if we "read in" as Brokies tend to do...

The menu to me seems to hint at sexual tension.  Even numbers (pairs) of most everything.  Then the peaches with their smell, ripeness, fuzz and round cleavage on the outside connote youth, freshness and sexuality.  Here, they're "canned" = preserved from a while ago, put on hold.  Our boys, at least so far, have put overt sexuality on hold while up away from town.  So the "stew" is especially appropriate.  I pictured the "stone biscuits" as being round (or hard) like stones (didn't know that "stone" referred the grinding method).  It can be thought of as a testicular reference (do you have the stones to do it, or not?)

And of course (to really reach), peaches are a fruit (queer).

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: TOTW 26/08: Symbolism of food in the movie
« Reply #26 on: June 02, 2009, 09:50:39 pm »
Good interpretation, friend!
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