Author Topic: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault  (Read 85982 times)

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« on: June 25, 2006, 05:58:39 pm »
July 3, 2006

I first posted this thread on 06/25 and called it: Hello - I'm new here.

People suggested I change the title to make it more attractive.  After a long and well-fought contest, I chose JakeTwist's suggestion and on 6/27 changed the title to "It Wasn't All Ennis' Fault After All."  An excellent title!  And I awarded JakeTwist the first prize, a lifetime supply of BetterMost beans.  We had a shindig at Don Wroe's cabin and fun was had by all.

But then, on 6/30, ednbarby suggested a new thread title that was just to good to pass up -- a true Brokeism -- "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."  It was so good, I asked the original winner if I could change the title yet again and JakeTwist very graciously agreed.  So, today, 7/03, I’m changing the title (again, sorry) to "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."  Hope you all enjoy.

---------


Hello.

I was reading a post on the IMDb board about the awkwardness between Jack and Ennis at the truck when they had come down from the mountain.  I  thought I could offer a response.  Before I knew it, my response was rather long-winded and I thought it might make a good introduction for me to this board.  OK?  Here it is...


I think it’s all about confusion, misreading each other, each guy not fully understanding himself let alone the other.  I think this day in the film is when Jack made the biggest mistakes of his life, mistakes that would haunt them both until the end.

To me, it’s all about their love for each other.  When did each fall in love with the other, when did each realize that he had fallen in love with the other, and when did each realize that the other had fallen in love with him?  These are the key questions.

When they first met, they checked each other out, on a couple of levels.  For example, before they went into Aguirre’s trailer, I think that Jack was looking at Ennis and wondering “Who is this guy who may be here to get MY job?”  Jack worked alone the summer before.  One job for one guy.  And, Jack knew that Aguirre had blamed Jack for the sheep loss the previous summer.  In the trailer, he looked relieved when Aguirre announced it was going to be a two-man job this summer.  But Jack also was checking Ennis out in an attraction sense – the shaving in the mirror shot.  And each stole a glance at the other during Aguirre’s phone call – at each “No.”

Then they go to the bar, Jack works his can opener and tries to get Ennis to open up.  Jack kept this up all the time on the mountain.  And Jack opened himself up to Ennis, even though Ennis hardly ever asked Jack a question that was related to who Jack was as a person.  Uninterested?  Hardly.  Ennis is the one who kept going out of his way to please Jack – trying to get soup, seasoning the food, checking out the tent, etc.  But Jack just went along with the flow. 

They each played courting games with the other -- Jack with his ‘yee-haw’ dance and his music, and Ennis with his opportunity comment.  They were both getting to know each other as friends, and their attraction was growing.  But I think with Ennis it was a love attraction that was growing based on what he did for Jack, and I think with Jack it was more of a sex attraction.  Jack initiated the sex in a really overt way.  I’m not surprised that the sex happened in the first tent scene, but I am surprised as to how Jack initiated it.  He could have gotten his clock cleaned and worse.

Then the “queer” scene… parameters were set up.  There’s disagreement on exactly what those parameters were, but they were limitations – for the time being, at least.  In the second tent scene, Ennis absolutely melted into Jack’s arms.  For him, not only had this great guy become his friend, but also his lover.  This is where I believe that Ennis fell in love with Jack.  Ennis had a specific point where it all changed for him – or it all culminated.  And Ennis is the one of them who weaved a love relationship for the rest of the time on the mountain.  He’s the one who made gestures and spoke certain words that show that he was in love and was building it further.  Jack was much more lackadaisical about it.  I don’t think this meant that Jack wasn’t experiencing love for Ennis, but I do think that Jack was so comfortable in the relationship, first as friends, and then as lovers, that he was just going with the flow.  So much so that I think Jack just had a natural assumption after some point that it would continue post-mountain.  I don’t think Ennis was even thinking of post-mountain.  He was so caught up in their private, idyllic home life that they had established.  This is why Ennis is the one who got smacked right between the eyes with reality when Aguirre told them to come down early.

Did either of them know the other was in love with him?  I don’t think Ennis would have called it “love.”  This is his character and it’s consistent throughout the movie.  Even at the final lake scene, he couldn’t admit “love,” and he tried to appease Jack with fun and “a good time” from previous times.  But not love.

I think that once Jack came to the point of realizing that he was in love with Ennis, that he just naturally felt that Ennis was in love with Jack.  And when did Jack realize that he had fallen in love with Ennis?  I believe at the dozy embrace.  I believe the dozy embrace took place after they untangled the Chilean sheep and immediately before Ennis spent the night in the pup tent, waking up to the snow.  I believe this is why Jack flashed back to this scene (from the final lake scene) – because it’s the moment he realized that he had fallen in love with Ennis.

So now, Ennis wakes up in the snow, Aguirre comes by again to tell Jack to take the sheep down, Jack starts dismantling the camp, and Ennis returns to camp.  What does Ennis find?  He finds Jack taking down the home they had built together.  Notice that it appears Ennis did nothing at all to help take down the home that he himself (mainly) had set up for them… at least, after it had been set up, he’s the one who cared about the details.  And Ennis found Jack taking it down very nonchalantly.  And why shouldn’t he?  To Jack it wasn’t an ending.  He expected their relationship would continue.  Jack’s just that way… the natural flow.

But Ennis had not even taken time to think about their relationship post-mountain.  So he was smacked upside the head with reality.  He had no time for closure.  So he went off and sat first on the chopping block like a log waiting to be split, and then up on the mountainside to sit and think.  And think he did.  He did a lot of thinking – he’s a real thinker there -- probably more than he had done in the past year.

Then Jack, Jack who had just dismantled their life together, comes up and makes a game of it.  Sure, we all know Jack was just trying to get in a playful tussle, but it was the wrong time for it.  Ennis wasn’t ready for leaving the mountain and he had no idea what lay ahead in the real world for him, or for him and Jack.  So he lashed out at the object of his disillusionment (at that time) –- Jack.  This then threw Jack for a loop.  Now Jack was confused.  He didn’t understand what Ennis was going through.  For all Jack knew, Ennis was making a strong statement that he’s going back to the real world, and he’s a real man, and “get the f off of me” -- which Jack couldn’t understand because Jack had just the previous evening realized his love for Ennis, and believed that Ennis loved him.

Now this was a big mistake on Jack’s part.  But a bigger one was yet to come.

When they got back to Jack’s truck, watch Ennis very closely.  Look at his body language and the few words he uses.  And remember he had just had the wind knocked out of him by having his life with Jack abruptly ended.  And, what did Ennis always allow Jack to do?  What did Ennis always WANT Jack to do?  Take the lead.  And this is where Jack made the biggest mistake of his life, this is where he failed Ennis the most.

Ennis had done a lot of thinking in those last few hours on the mountain.  He saw Jack dismantle their life together, he saw Jack make a game out of it, he saw Jack spit in front of him (spitting in the film always symbolizes a disgusting dismissal of someone or something that has just happened), and he saw Jack not take the lead at the truck scene.  Ennis was just begging for Jack to take the lead and to say something – ANYTHING – about their relationship.  Ennis needed this more than anything else. 

But Jack was confused (and rightly so) about their last few hours, too.  An he missed the big picture.  Jack didn’t know anything at this time about Ennis’ great fears.  Jack just made an assumption that their relationship would continue and that reality wouldn’t change it.  So Jack missed out on Ennis’ clues.  Jack didn’t see that Ennis was begging for Jack to take the lead.

Now, I’m not saying that had Jack taken the lead and said something that Ennis would have flown into Jack’s arms and said “Let’s live together, forever.”  No.  But, this was the point in the film where Ennis was his most available and where Ennis was at his most vulnerable.  If Jack had said something like “You and Alma, that’s a life?”, then  Ennis was at a point where he could have realized that and may have not gotten himself into that marriage.  They could have gone on the rodeo circuit together and had good cover for their relationship,  or they could have moved to another town besides Riverton and worked at separate ranches and gotten together as much more regular lovers while still not living together.  And this could have led to a lot of other building up of that foundation that was started on Brokeback Mountain, a building that they failed to complete.

But Jack failed to see what was going on.  He failed to see that he and Ennis were different.  And the impact of this was never fully realized until the final lake scene when he verbalized it to Ennis.  Jack is the one who should have taken the lead for closure and for continuance – in fact, Jack is the only one of the two who could have done this – and he failed.  Instead of being able to have a relationship with Ennis through which Ennis’ fears would have been dealt with for the next twenty years, Jack, through his failure at this point, set them up for twenty years of Ennis’ fears being magnified and his paranoia increasing, until it got to the point that it could not be overcome.

So, I believe that Ennis “fell in love” in the second tent scene, without ever admitting it to himself, and I believe that Jack fell in love over their time on the mountain, and came to realize it at the dozy embrace.  But when did each realize the other had fallen in love?  Twenty f-in’ years later.

Jack just assumed they were in love on the mountain, but due to the last day together and the way they parted, it seems that Jack didn’t know what to think.  And then four years later, he got the message that Ennis really did love him all along (the reunion kiss and the motel scene), but that was somehow skewed by Ennis’ denial of a life together at the reunion river scene.  And it kept getting worse, not better.  Until Ennis finally broke down at the final lake scene and told Jack that he was nothing, he was nowhere, and it’s because of Jack.  Jack finally understood what Ennis’ love for Jack had done to Ennis all these years.

And Ennis, when did he realize Jack loved him?  He got his first inkling of it from Cassie in the bus depot.  Ennis apologized for not being much fun and Cassie told Ennis that girls don’t fall in love with fun.  This is the connection to the previous final lake scene.  Fun.  “A good time.”  Ennis would never admit to himself that he loved Jack and he certainly wouldn’t want to admit to himself that Jack loved Ennis because that would make Jack queer and that would make Ennis queer and that would violate the pact they made up on the mountain – we ain’t queer.  No, Ennis thought it was all about fun and a good time.  But now he first sees that Jack wasn’t in it for fun – heck, it was hell for Jack – Jack was in it for love.  Cassie turned the light bulb on over Ennis’ head, she woke him up.  And this continues with Lureen telling Ennis that Brokeback Mountain was Jack’s favorite place.  And this continues with Old Man Twist telling Ennis that Jack talked about bringing Ennis up to the ranch.  AND this continues with Old Man Twist telling Ennis about the other guy – because now that Ennis has been getting the message that it wasn’t just about fun for Jack, he now gets the message that Jack was in it for love, and without Ennis’ love, Jack had to look elsewhere, just as he had had to look elsewhere for the “fun” part of it, the Mexican prostitute.

But the whole thing culminates in finding the two shirts.  From this moment on, there is no denying that Ennis has finally realized that what the two of them shared all along was love.  A love that was fully realized only when it was too late.

I know I’ve posted a long-winded spiel on the boys’ love.  And I’m sorry if it’s been a little too analytical, but then again, I have been called “ruthlessly unsentimental.”





« Last Edit: December 06, 2006, 12:37:02 pm by Meryl »

Offline David

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2006, 06:07:38 pm »
Quote
  I have been called “ruthlessly unsentimental.”


Can we just call you Ruth for short?      ;D
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 07:32:51 am by DavidinHartford »

Offline welliwont

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #2 on: June 26, 2006, 04:48:54 am »
Hello.

I was reading a post on the IMDb board about the awkwardness between Jack and Ennis at the truck when they had come down from the mountain.  I  thought I could offer a response.  Before I knew it, my response was rather long-winded and I thought it might make a good introduction for me to this board.  OK?  Here it is...

I know I’ve posted a long-winded spiel on the boys’ love.  And I’m sorry if it’s been a little too analytical, but then again, I have been called “ruthlessly unsentimental.”

OMG, that is THE most amazing first post to ever grace the pages of BetterMost, IMHO!!  I think you just earned your doctorate degree in Jack-and-Ennis in one day!  My goodness!!  I have been obsessed with this movie-story for over two months now and I wish I could summarize it even half as well as that!  You are gifted fer sure!

Did you say that you only watched the movie a few days ago, and you did not know the story
Sorry, I got you mixed up with another member... :(

 Well you have come to the right place, how did you find BetterMost so quickly?  This is a nice tight group, almost 500 so not too big, and here you will find an abundance of insightful discussion, many threads and archived threads discussing most of the diverse topics, ambiguities (that word is used a LOT here :)), oh, polls for some of the obvious conundrums, there's lots of good stuff here.

Just by way of a welcome to BetterMost and a great big thank you from me for the enlightenment you shared in your amazing post, here is a link to what has been called an alternate take, short name is Ennis Crying.  This is an alternate take of when Ennis finds the shirts in Jack's closet, and some people like this take better, you will see why when you view it.

http://bettermost.net/forum/index.php?topic=2600.msg41346#msg41346

I am so glad you have come here bcz you are expressing way better than I can a lot of the stuff in BBM that I have been searching for all this time!  Welcome to BetterMost!

J
« Last Edit: June 26, 2006, 05:56:52 am by JakeTwist »
Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #3 on: June 26, 2006, 10:36:19 am »
Welcome from me, too.  And thanks for sharing your, I think, brilliant observations.  For what it's worth, I don't find you ruthlessly unsentimental at all.  I agree with all you've said, and yet the movie still shakes me to the core every time I watch it.  I think you touched on why - because it is real.  Real people who love one another have misunderstandings.  And sometimes those misunderstandings lead them to make the wrong choices.  And those choices drive them further apart when other choices would have moved them closer together.  I've been thinking about what you wrote off an on since last night when I first read it.  And yes, I think that if Jack had stopped his truck, turned around and gone back to Ennis and even just said, "Hell, we're going in the same direction - lemme give you a ride to the [bustop, your ride, whatever]," Ennis would have accepted and they might have said a more proper good-bye, maybe even exchanged addresses, and at least shaken hands if not embraced.  And just that much of an effort on Jack's part could have changed the entire course of their lives.  But he misunderstood Ennis at that point, and Ennis him.

God, there is no end to the suck, is there?   :-\
No more beans!

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2006, 01:28:30 pm »
Can we just call you Ruth for short?      ;D



Are you saying my folks just stopped at "Ruth?"


How 'bouts "Ruthlessly" as a compromise?

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2006, 06:57:54 pm »
Hey Ruthless,

What an amazing, insightful, original post. I've always thought Jack blew it that day leaving the mountain, letting Ennis down by acting so chipper and failing to acknowledge Ennis' devastation. Others have argued Jack was nonchalant because he assumed things would continue as they had been. Your theory wraps both arguments into one completely plausible whole, vastly deepening my understanding of both men and the entire movie. Didn't think it was possible to get much deeper after five months -- let alone from a single post!

I have read it a few times and will read it a few more. I think I might have tiny quibbles here and there, but the main points sound so right to me I'm not even going to bother right now.

If this is your very first post, I can't wait to see what others will bring. So glad to have you here at BetterMost!

Katherine

Offline David

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #6 on: June 26, 2006, 07:20:49 pm »


Are you saying my folks just stopped at "Ruth?"


How 'bouts "Ruthlessly" as a compromise?

LOL!    "Sure enough"   ;)

Offline JennyC

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #7 on: June 26, 2006, 07:31:11 pm »
Ruthlessly,

Thanks for the in-depth analysis on Ennis and Jack's love moments.  I find it's not "ruthlessly unsentimental" at all.  Your analysis of Jack's biggest mistake of not taking lead when they parted after the summer of 1963 was very interesting perspective.  I too felt Jack missed the opportunity to grab onto what they had that summer and make some impact into their future relationship when they parted.  What you said about Jack was confused at the time and didn’t know what to do makes sense.

Welcome to BetterMost!  Please feel free to enlighten us more with your “ruthlessly unsentimental” comments  :).

Offline Ellemeno

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #8 on: June 26, 2006, 09:42:24 pm »
As is so often the case - what latjormeme and ednbarby said.  I'll take that lazy, yet heartfelt, way out.

One thing I like about your analysis is it shifts some of the "blame" off of My Boy Ennis.  Sometimes I git so durn mad at him....

Welcome to BetterMost!

Clarissa

slayers_creek_oth

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #9 on: June 26, 2006, 09:43:29 pm »
Welcome to CT and BetterMost Ruthless...