Author Topic: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault  (Read 71166 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...

Offline wolf

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #10 on: June 26, 2006, 11:01:01 pm »
YEE HAW - great post Ruthless!

Welcome to you  :).  I do hope we get to keep you, feed you beans and cherry cake, a little whiskey   ;).  It's posts like yours that have us falling in love with the movie all over again.  Look forward to reading more!

W

Offline newyearsday

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #11 on: June 26, 2006, 11:19:15 pm »
Hiya Ruthlessly (or how about r.u.?)

I'm too tired right now to read your post and do it justice, but I am posting to remind myself to read it in the next day or two. From what people are saying I can tell you I look forward to it. We love new insights on our beloved boys here, and there seems to be no end in sight to the discussion, thank god. Welcome here, and nice to know you, ruthelessly unsentimental.

Jenny
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Offline Ray

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2006, 01:23:58 am »
Welcome Ruthetc. I hope you love it here.  The folk 'round here are the best!  And thankyou for your post.  A HUGE maiden speech to be certain!  An unsentimental journey perhaps?!
~A good general knows when to retreat~

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2006, 01:35:58 am »
YEE HAW - great post Ruthless!

Welcome to you  :).  I do hope we get to keep you, feed you beans and cherry cake, a little whiskey   ;).  It's posts like yours that have us falling in love with the movie all over again.  Look forward to reading more!

W

Well, I'll have a cup of coffee, but I can't eat no cake (or beans) just now.  Thank you.

I'm a little choked up.  What a nice, warm welcome from so many.  I can't begin to tell you how good I feel.  I hope I make -- at the very least -- an interesting addition to the bettermost community.  I'll try if I can to keep my posts shorter than this one.  I'm sure I can learn somethin' new here, maybe add a little somethin', or maybe throw in a twist or two here and there.

You have so many different boards, threads, and posts here.  I'll try if I can to read 'em all, but seems there ain't never enough time... never enough.

Anyway, thanks for the warm reception.  I feel like I just got kissed by a man running down to greet me after four years of absence.  (Hope no one was lookin'.)      :)

vkm91941

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #14 on: June 27, 2006, 02:47:42 am »
Well, I'll have a cup of coffee, but I can't eat no cake (or beans) just now.  Thank you.

Ahh Honey you are gonna fit right in  :D you knew the secret response and delivered it without even being prompted....Yessiree you're gonna fit right in here.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #15 on: June 27, 2006, 03:10:30 am »
I'll try if I can to keep my posts shorter than this one.

Please don't try too hard. For one thing, your post was well worth every word. For another, the more people besides myself who write long posts, the less I feel like a thread hog.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 11:03:36 am by latjoreme »

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #16 on: June 27, 2006, 10:26:57 am »
Sigh, Ruthlessly.  I just read your post again.  And your observations make Ennis' finding of the shirts even more heartbreaking than it already has been.  Because right then, he realizes how much they misunderstood each other that last day on the mountain 20 years before, and how that's led to everything else that happened the way it did.  As you said, Ennis was beginning to understand and know that Jack had really been in love with him all those years because of Cassie turning the lightbulb on for him (what brilliant screenwriting that was, by the way), and by Lureen and then John Twist reinforcing it with their revelations.  And while finding the shirts after feeling the sting of John's words had to have been somewhat of a relief, how it must have smacked him right between the eyes, as you've said, to realize how pivotal that day was and how, maybe, just maybe, if he'd taken the lead that day when Jack finally failed, everything would be different.

 :'(

As Katherine said, just when you think you've gotten everything out of this beautiful piece of art that you can, someone comes along out of nowhere and illuminates yet another aspect of it - in fact opens up a whole new level of understanding of it for you to explore.  Thank you. 

« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 01:28:40 pm by ednbarby »
No more beans!

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #17 on: June 27, 2006, 01:14:09 pm »
Of all the great ideas in your post, Ruthlessly, I especially love the ones in this passage:

Quote
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. ...

...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 was just begging for Jack to take the lead and to say something – ANYTHING – about their relationship.  Ennis needed this more than anything else.

So often I have seen that sequence described as being about Ennis struggling to detach himself their life together, to tuck in his shirt and get back to the real world. Supposedly he lashes out at Jack as a way to deny or suppress his own feelings. Supposedly their parting is awkward and uncommunicative because Ennis doesn't respond to Jack's cues about meeting again next year.

But I have never seen those scenes that way. In my view, when Ennis rides up just as Jack is dismantling the tent -- site of their most intimate moments -- he is crushed by the sight, and by Jack's nonchalance. He is hurt again when Jack fails to catch what he's hinting at in his complaint about Aguirre and the money, and again later, when Jack acts all perky and cheerful instead of upset. Ennis doesn't punch Jack because he's angry at himself or can't deal with his own feelings; he punches Jack because he's angry at Jack for not appearing equally devastated. But of course Ennis can't broach the subject directly -- how many of us could, under the circumstances? How easy is it for anyone to express hearbreak to someone who appears not to share it? And of course it's impossible for someone like Ennis.

When they're parting in town, Ennis is NOT eager to cut the ties and get away and go back to his other life, as some have suggested. On the contrary, he lingers there, hoping Jack will break the communication barrier. His "And you?" his hesitant, "Well, I guess I'll see you around, hunh?" his long pause before turning and walking away ... he's desperate for Jack to acknowledge what they have between them, because Ennis can't do it alone.

Ennis needs Jack to take the lead, and not just because Jack is better at it and has done it all along. In this case, Jack is the only one who could say something because so far he hasn't, and Ennis can't take the risk of exposing his feelings to someone who, at this point, from what Ennis can tell, may not clearly reciprocate. (On top of that, he's afraid Jack is still sore from the punch.) Sure, Jack hints that he hopes they'll see each other again. Even if Ennis picks up on that, it's not enough. He needs Jack to come right out and say something. Neither of them is able to do that, so they part without any word or touch.

Which is why the contrast in their reunion four years later is so particularly intense and beautiful.

*MODIFIED to fix my bungled quote and /quote in the original.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 03:12:16 pm by latjoreme »

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #18 on: June 27, 2006, 01:55:13 pm »

Quote
Ennis doesn't punch Jack because he's angry at himself or can't deal with his own feelings; he punches Jack because he's angry at Jack for not appearing equally devastated.

Exactly!  I do think Ennis was also going over his own inability to deal with himself, no doubt -- but the fight and the punch was all about "How could you do this to me?  You roped me in.  I gave you everything I could think to give.  Now, you're leaving me.  F- you for leaving me!"  I think that the fight scene is just another example in Ennis' mind of how people leave him -- his parents died, his brother and sister each wed.  Now we all know that when his parents died it wasn't because they were trying to leave Ennis, same for each sibling getting married, but in Ennis' mind, at least, it's that people left him.  Now that's a significant contributing factor to what has made him a loner.  But the interesting irony here is that Ennis pushes people away from himself.  Often times people become what they fear or hate the most.  Ennis became what he believed he "was worthy of" -- being abandoned.  And he himself ends up doing the abandoning -- most importantly, on an emotional level.


Quote
When they're parting in town, Ennis is NOT eager to cut the ties and get away and go back to his other life, as some have suggested.

Exactly-amundo!  Why else would he have broken down a few moments later?


Quote
On the contrary, he lingers there, hoping Jack will break the communication barrier. His "And you?" his hesitant, "Well, I guess I'll see you around, hunh?" his long pause before turning and walking away ... he's desperate for Jack to acknowledge what they have between them, because Ennis can't do it alone.

Ennis needs Jack to take the lead, and not just because Jack is better at it and has done it all along. In this case, Jack is the only one who could say something because so far he hasn't, and Ennis can't take the risk of exposing his feelings to someone who, at this point, from what Ennis can tell, may not clearly reciprocate.

How true, my Brokeback Buddy (BBB    ;)   )!   There are only a few minutes of scenes in the film after the second night in the tent until Ennis rides back into the dismantling of their camp.  I've watched those scenes over and over.  Jack is always nonchalant and not doing anything that overtly says "I love you" -- because he just goes with the flow and he believes it's going to continue.  But in all of those scenes, it's Ennis who is making little gestures and speaking little words of love or affection -- Ennis starts the playful tussle by tapping Jack...  Ennis, like a wide-eyed little boy, shows Jack the piece of hail -- lookey how big this one is! -- while Jack just tends to the business of getting them secured in the tent... Ennis is the one who dismisses Jack's "f- Aguirre" comment -- by saying "What if we need to work for him again?" -- ENNIS is the one who actually verbalizes that they may be together again after this summer... Ennis teases Jack about his harmonica playing... and Ennis is the one who initiates the dozy embrace (which I believe is properly placed at this point in the film).  Post-SNIT, it's Ennis who does all of the overt affection showing.

SUCH a contrast to Jack pre-SNIT and throughout the rest of the film post-reunion kiss (which was initiated by Ennis).

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #19 on: June 27, 2006, 02:58:00 pm »
Do you know, Ruthlessly, that all this time, I've never properly seen this movie from Ennis' perspective?  The first time I saw it, I was just letting the story unfold for me - I hadn't read the short story yet so I knew nothing of what was to come.  The second time, I saw it very Jack-centrically.  And I don't think I've ever come much further than that.  Until your postings here.  Thank you again.  Like I say, it's opened up a whole new level of understanding into both characters from which I can discover it anew.

(And now I'm *really* jealous of you Fox viewers to be...  ;))
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Offline JennyC

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #20 on: June 27, 2006, 03:23:56 pm »
The first time I saw it, I was just letting the story unfold for me - I hadn't read the short story yet so I knew nothing of what was to come.  The second time, I saw it very Jack-centrically. 

Barb,

I didn't realize until you mentioned it  Now come to think of it, I saw the movie with an Ennis-centric view.  Wonder if that has anything to do with why we pick our favorite character among these two.   But is it the reason or the result?
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 03:28:49 pm by JennyC »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #21 on: June 27, 2006, 03:37:14 pm »
Do you know, Ruthlessly, that all this time, I've never properly seen this movie from Ennis' perspective? 

I, on the other hand, alwys HAVE seen it from Ennis' perspective -- the movie and in these scenes in particular -- and at every opportunity have rushed to his defense when people "blame" him for his actions (or lack of). Yet I haven't always been able to articulate as well as I'd like the reasons I feel so empathetic toward him. So this discussion has opened up a whole new level of understanding for me, too. Especially this part:

Quote
it's Ennis who is making little gestures and speaking little words of love or affection -- Ennis starts the playful tussle by tapping Jack...  Ennis, like a wide-eyed little boy, shows Jack the piece of hail -- lookey how big this one is! -- while Jack just tends to the business of getting them secured in the tent... Ennis is the one who dismisses Jack's "f- Aguirre" comment -- by saying "What if we need to work for him again?" -- ENNIS is the one who actually verbalizes that they may be together again after this summer... Ennis teases Jack about his harmonica playing... and Ennis is the one who initiates the dozy embrace (which I believe is properly placed at this point in the film).  Post-SNIT, it's Ennis who does all of the overt affection showing.

All this time defending Ennis, and I'd never thought of those scenes in that light. Way to go, Ruthlessly.

And Barb, if this perspective helps unite die-hard Jackcentrics and Enniscentrics like you and me, so much the better!  :)

PS, this makes perfect sense:

  But the interesting irony here is that Ennis pushes people away from himself.  Often times people become what they fear or hate the most.  Ennis became what he believed he "was worthy of" -- being abandoned.  And he himself ends up doing the abandoning -- most importantly, on an emotional level.

So true! People who fear being abandoned often are the first to do the abandoning, because they'd rather have control of the situation rather than endure the pain of having it done TO them.

PSS Jenny, your post came in as I was writing this. Good point, and it seems like a chicken-and-egg question, hunh?

Offline southendmd

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #22 on: June 27, 2006, 04:20:53 pm »
OK, I feel the need to defend poor Jack: While I can agree on some of the above points, I want to point out the following:

Jack is incredibly tender in tent scene #2, cradling Ennis who looks like a scared child, and tells him it's all right.

Certainly their paradise is cut short and unexpected. Jack's offer of a loan is, I think, a way, however lame, to extend the relationship; stay in touch. 

In their tussle, Jack is horrified that he has hurt Ennis and tries to comfort him and is blasted instead.

At the parting, it is Jack who asks if Ennis is going to do this again, Jack says I might be back. Ennis says, like I said I'm getting married (shades of 'it ain't gonna be that way').

Just as Ennis expects abandonment, I think Jack expects rejection.

Offline YaadPyar

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #23 on: June 27, 2006, 04:44:23 pm »
Hello Ruth/Ruthless -

You'll find plenty of folks here happy to explore every nuance of BBM right along with you.  Great community here and great spirit - lots of humor and insight and all sorts of wonderful other qualities.  Welcome!

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Offline ednbarby

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #24 on: June 27, 2006, 04:45:32 pm »
Just as Ennis expects abandonment, I think Jack expects rejection.

Wooo-eeee.  You sure said a mouthful there, darlin'.
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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #25 on: June 27, 2006, 04:55:01 pm »

Just as Ennis expects abandonment, I think Jack expects rejection.


A really excellent observation!  He sure does get it doesn't he?  He's always marginalized.



BTW -- I don't take either Ennis' or Jack's side in the film.  I just take it all for what it's worth.  In my post I was just pointing out that Jack failed Ennis at the most crucial moment.  I didn't mean to imply that the relationship failures were all Jack's fault.  Just that both boys had their hands in the proverbial coffee pot -- and bucket, for that matter.  (Although it does seem that Ennis takes most of the heat for it.)

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #26 on: June 27, 2006, 05:06:47 pm »

A really excellent observation!  He sure does get it doesn't he?  He's always marginalized.

BTW -- I don't take either Ennis' or Jack's side in the film.  I just take it all for what it's worth.  In my post I was just pointing out that Jack failed Ennis at the most crucial moment.  I didn't mean to imply that the relationship failures were all Jack's fault.  Just that both boys had their hands in the proverbial coffee pot -- and bucket, for that matter.  (Although it does seem that Ennis takes most of the heat for it.)

I hear you, there.  I am one of the most militant defenders of Jack around these parts, as you can probably surmise.  ;).  Your insights here are showing me that *I* have taken his side in all these viewings, though not intentionally.  I wonder if those of us who do find ourselves defending him more often and vehemently than we do Ennis do that because we relate more to having been rejected than having been abandoned?  (Sort of trying to answer JennyC's question here, via southendmd's excellent observation.)
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 05:08:32 pm by ednbarby »
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Offline southendmd

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #27 on: June 27, 2006, 05:34:05 pm »
Great thread! Hey, Ruthlessly, you might consider changing the subject line to entice others.

I agree that it "takes two to two-step".  The first time I saw the film, at the parting scene, I was incredulous: "What??!! Ennis, you're just gonna turn around a leave with a 'see you around'? and Jack, you're not going after him??" I just sat there with my mouth open, "What the f--- just happened?"

Not to get too shrinky, but each is set up for this:

Ennis was abandoned by his parents early on in life, and then is (unintentionally) abandoned by his sibling caretakers and becomes alone in the world. I think he expects to be alone, or to be left, and then does the abandoning himself.
In addition, he "abandons" his own feelings.

Jack clearly tells us of the rejection by his father: 'can't please my old man; never taught me a thing, never once came to see me ride.' (Many gay boys can relate to this). Perhaps he becomes tentative around Ennis ('I ain't queer') for fear of rejection.

And, they're both too young and unsure of themselves at this point to dare to try to be together.  It's only later that Jack suggests it.
« Last Edit: June 27, 2006, 05:36:09 pm by southendmd »

Offline Kelda

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #28 on: June 27, 2006, 05:52:33 pm »
nothing to add except welcome 'ruth' and great post and replies!
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #29 on: June 27, 2006, 06:00:15 pm »
(Although it does seem that Ennis takes most of the heat for it.)

Yeah, that's exactly the problem. I would probably take Ennis' side anyway. But my natural empathy for and inclination to defend him is intensified because he's so often blamed for the relationship's failures -- especially unfairly, IMO, given how much Ennis is a product of his environment.

I wonder if those of us who do find ourselves defending him more often and vehemently than we do Ennis do that because we relate more to having been rejected than having been abandoned?

For some reason, this sort of explation doesn't apply to me. No events in my "real life" would predict a greater empathy for Ennis -- in fact, according to Barb's reasoning I would be a Jackophile. I don't know exactly what causes those preferences. (Well, OK, I do have one theory, but it's too shallow to get into here.)

Great thread! Hey, Ruthlessly, you might consider changing the subject line to entice others.

I'd second this. I was talking up this thread on another thread, and someone replied that he'd read Ruthlessly's post over lunch and liked it a lot, but wouldn't have done so without my recommendation because this guy was thrown off by the subject line.

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #30 on: June 27, 2006, 06:14:20 pm »
you might consider changing the subject line to entice others.


OK.  I'm open to suggestions...


All I can come up with is: A Clinical Analysis and Discourse on the Effects of Misunderstandings in Communication between Two Homoerotically-Charged Individuals in a Remote Rural Setting

But that's kind of boring...

How about: Jack Done Him Wrong?

Or: The Truth Revealed?

Or: Please Read My Post?

Or: Ennis' Unfulfilled Expectations? ...

Or: It Happened One Day... By the Truck

Or: The Day the Mountain Stood Still

Or: Love and Loss on Brokeback Mountain

Or: Gone with Jack's Wind

Or: ...

I'm just kidding.

Really, I am open to suggestions.      :-\

Offline nic

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #31 on: June 27, 2006, 06:20:20 pm »
Hi R (the ultimate abbreviation!)

I agree a name change to the thread is in order - it is a great thread started by your excellent first post. I love reading long posts if the topic is right, just as much as the shorter posts.

I quite like Ennis's Unfilled Expectations, as this is angle on things some people may not have fully understood, or as I find on many aspects of BBM discussion, I have thought it but it's mixed up with so many thoughts I haven't been able to crystallise it.  That is the beauty of this kind of discussion  :)
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Offline JennyC

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #32 on: June 27, 2006, 06:29:44 pm »
For some reason, this sort of explation doesn't apply to me. No events in my "real life" would predict a greater empathy for Ennis -- in fact, according to Barb's reasoning I would be a Jackophile. I don't know exactly what causes those preferences. (Well, OK, I do have one theory, but it's too shallow to get into here.)

Katherine,

I want to hear your theory.  Nothing you say is going to be too shallow, seriously.  I agree Barb's explanation probably applies to some people, but I don't think I am one of them.  I can’t say that I have experienced abandonment in my life.   I love both Jack and Ennis and can see myself being Jack or Ennis in different situations, but I have to say that I care for Ennis more.  I am struggling to understand why the movie has such an impact on me and why particularly Ennis made my heartache.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #33 on: June 27, 2006, 07:11:23 pm »
Ruthlessly,

Welcome "home," and THANK YOU for the awesome initial post. Yeah, I'll join in the chorus suggesting a change to thread title. I have to admit that if Katherine hadn't called attention to it on another thread, I never would have read it, based on the title. There's never enough time, never enough. ... And when I think what I would have missed! Yikes!

I can't quarrel with anything you said, except for the following very small point, which takes nothing away from your main points:

Quote
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.

I don't think Jack worked alone in 1962. I'll be clear, however, that my assumptions about Jack's previous experience on the mountain are not derived from anything directly observable in the film, and are derived a lot from the Annie Proulx story.

Annie writes: "That spring, hungry for any job, each had signed up with Farm and Ranch Employment--they came together on paper as herder and camp tender for the same sheep operation north of Signal."

I interpret that quotation as meaning that in both story and film, they show up at Joe Aguirre's office that morning because they had been told to report there by Farm and Ranch Employment, and they probably even knew they would be working with somebody. (I can't explain Jack's "looked relieved" because I've never noticed that--maybe it's relief that he's actually going to be working with that handsome feller he'd been trying to cruise in the parking lot.  ;D )

I figure Aguirre initially makes Jack the herder but Ennis the camp tender because Jack is the one with experience in the job. But I also don't think Jack was up on the mountain alone the previous summer because, well, I don't think that makes sense. In her essay in Story to Screenplay, Annie mentions a rancher who always sent his herders off in pairs (so they could "poke each other" if they got lonely  ;D), but it also would have been too dangerous for one man alone. If one man alone got thrown by his horse and broke his leg, or something, he could be dead before someone found him. More to the point from the sheep owner's perspective, if something happened to one man alone, the flock could be scattered and destroyed by predators.

We just don't know anything about Jack's putative partner in the job from the previous summer. It has been speculated elsewhere, however, that it might have been this partner who initiated Jack into homosexual activity--which would mean that Jack was no stranger to it when he took the initiative with Ennis.

But none of this detracts from your wonderful and fascinating analysis.
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Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #34 on: June 27, 2006, 07:55:47 pm »
I'm just kidding.

Really, I am open to suggestions.      :-\

These made me laugh, so for that reason I like all of them. Particularly the first one, but that won't fit into the alloted space. As for "The Truth Revealed," sorry, but I have copyrighted that subject line for use on all of MY threads.

I would use something with "Ennis" in the title, because IMO your perspective on him is the part that's the most startling and groundbreaking and potentially controversial.

Katherine,

I want to hear your theory.  Nothing you say is going to be too shallow, seriously.

No. Really. Take my word for it, it is. It's nothing i haven't rhapsodized about on many, many other threads. (See, for example, "Heath Heath Heath" or "Your Age and Favorite Cowboy" ((over 35, Ennis))). But it seems out of place in the context of this solemn and scholarly analysis. (I don't think I'm the only one influenced by that sort of thing, but in any case it only partly explains my sympathy for Ennis. It's not even entirely clear whether this factor is a cause or an effect of that sympathy.)

Ruthlessly, how do you see Ennis explaining his feelings to himself? As Mikaela put it yesterday, Ennis would have to be sleepwalking not to notice that what he feels Jack approximates love, even if he calls it "this thing" instead of that actual word. That's exactly how I see it -- if his feelings are that obvious to viewers, if his behavior shouts "love" at every turn, how could he fail to recognize that himself? But my understanding from your post is that you don't think Ennis admits to himself that he loved Jack until the end, because doing so would force him to consider the possibility that he is "queer." Right?

Offline ednbarby

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #35 on: June 27, 2006, 08:01:24 pm »
I agree Barb's explanation probably applies to some people, but I don't think I am one of them.  I can’t say that I have experienced abandonment in my life.   I love both Jack and Ennis and can see myself being Jack or Ennis in different situations, but I have to say that I care for Ennis more.  I am struggling to understand why the movie has such an impact on me and why particularly Ennis made my heartache.

My explanation was just a shot in the dark, really.  What makes any of us feel more drawn to some people than to others?  There are kind of universally attractive and universally repellent people, but when you have two people (or characters, ah, but we know they are real people...) who are on the same plane of physical attractiveness and who each has more than his share of endearing (as well as aggravating) personality traits, why does one engage one's sympathies more than the other?  Not to try to be flippant, but maybe there is no reason for matters of the heart - maybe they just are.
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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #36 on: June 27, 2006, 08:45:34 pm »

Ruthlessly, how do you see Ennis explaining his feelings to himself? As Mikaela put it yesterday, Ennis would have to be sleepwalking not to notice that what he feels Jack approximates love, even if he calls it "this thing" instead of that actual word. That's exactly how I see it -- if his feelings are that obvious to viewers, if his behavior shouts "love" at every turn, how could he fail to recognize that himself? But my understanding from your post is that you don't think Ennis admits to himself that he loved Jack until the end, because doing so would force him to consider the possibility that he is "queer." Right?



Yes.  That is one of the points of what I wrote.  It all goes back to "I ain't queer."  This is a fear-based statement -- especially in light of what we later learn Ennis' father did to him.  Ennis' fear is, to put it into a very small nutshell, the entire theme of the movie.  It all started with him encountering that bear -- his fears -- and getting spooked off his horse -- off of himself -- meeting up with a few more bears (Alma, the bikers, etc.) and culminating in the final bear, Old Man Twist.  (Actually, there is one more after OMT.)  In the original bear scene, Ennis ran off scared trying to scramble together what he could for Jack; in the Old Man Twist bear scene, Ennis climbed Old Brokeback Mountain (the stairs) to find Jack once again (the shirts) and Ennis conquered this bear (OMT, Ennis' fears) by defiantly walking past him, determinedly holding Jack (the shirts), sort of in public.

Throughout the whole movie, Ennis ain't queer.  At least not in his mind.  It's just a thing that grabs hold of him.  I find this wholly real-world based on two notions: 1) People who are fear-based are often in denial -- often to the point of complete and utter disassociation from the reality of the object of the great fear (here, his homosexuality); and, 2) Sadly, there are far too many people who do not recognize love even when it's right under their own noses.  Ennis displayed loving behaviors, gestures, and words to Jack -- all throughout the movie.  WE see that.  WE know it.  And Jack recognized it as such (though even he had his (understandable) misgivings about it).  But not Ennis.  He would always want to please Jack.  He would always want to say cute things to him.  But even though he knew what they were doing was "forbidden," he thought of it as "this thing," not as love.  To Ennis, what his father showed him was two men who had shacked up together and got punished for it -- not two men who were in love.  The former would be easier for a nine-year old Ennis to understand and process; the latter, not so much so -- a nine-year old boy would ask himself "Why couldn't they love each other?"

This is why Ennis' anger at Jack in the final lake scene is not about jealousy.  It's about fear.  That's his controlling emotion.  It's not that Ennis was jealous of Jack being with another man.  It was that Ennis was mad as hell at Jack that he broke their one-shot pact, their "I ain't queer" pact.  Because by breaking it, Jack said "I'm queer."  And that would make Ennis queer.  And his fears would not allow him to accept that reality.

Offline welliwont

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Here's a suggestion for re-naming the thread
« Reply #37 on: June 27, 2006, 08:46:07 pm »

Really, I am open to suggestions.      :-\


How about "It wasn't all Ennis' fault after all"   :D  ;)


J

PS:  Ruthie, did you get to see the alternate scene of Ennis Crying, or what?  I thought you might be interested since your OP addressed the finding the shirts scene...  I am interested in hearing what you thought of it if you did see it! ???   :)

Jane
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Offline welliwont

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Ok, instead of finding in this thread and quoting the passages where this was mentioned, (never enough time, never enough)  I would just like to throw this out there:  after the punch, after they leave their campsite, after they go up to the sheep, with the mules and all their equipment, and gather the sheep, and get the sheep (the whole thousand a them!) down the mountain, and back to the jump-off spot, a lot of time must have passed.  As in, could they really have done all that in one day?  Did they perhaps have to overnight it somewhere, either with the sheep up on Brokeback, or ??

If they did take more than one day to accomplish all that, do you think that they just stopped speaking to each other until they parted by the truck, or ??




Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Here's a suggestion for re-naming the thread
« Reply #39 on: June 28, 2006, 01:54:47 am »
How about "It wasn't all Ennis' fault after all"   :D  ;)


J

PS:  Ruthie, did you get to see the alternate scene of Ennis Crying, or what?  I thought you might be interested since your OP addressed the finding the shirts scene...  I am interested in hearing what you thought of it if you did see it! ???   :)

Jane


First, EXCELLENT new name for the thread.  I think I'll go with it.  I mean it's got "Ennis" (which has been suggested) and it builds intrigue ("fault") and it sounds so groundbreaking and authoritative ("after all").  (Not that I believe my post is either groundbreaking or authoritative, but it sounds good, huh?)


Second, one thing you should know about me... oh, boy!  Here I go! ... I am probably in a minority when I say that I am totally against any extra scenes ever being shown or put on a "special edition" DVD.  To me, the film, as it has been presented to us, is a pristine and complete product.  I feel that any extras would only bastardize that.

Great big BUT time...

BUT... when I heard the description of the extra few seconds of footage of the shirt scene, it sounded way too good to pass up.  And, the description I heard of it sounded as if it would completely fit the film as presented without adding something unnecessary or extraneous.  So, hypocrite that I am, I watched it.  And I LOVED it!  Those few extra seconds gave me a sort of closure for that scene that I had never before experienced.  Yes, I know... those extra few seconds did change something for me.  Not the film, though -- it changed my experience of the film... in a way that I needed.

I have only one other example of something I’ve seen that was extra that didn't "ruin" the film for me.  There's a promo picture (or something like that) floating around that shows Jack and Ennis in the sunlight at the final lake scene, hugging.  (I assume it was the final lake scene because of the clothes and equipment.)  The fact that Ennis didn’t verbally respond to "Sometimes I miss you so much..." always bugged me.  And then it really depressed me that the next shot shows them sleeping in the tent, clothed, with Ennis simply hanging his arm over Jack from behind.  I really wanted SOME concrete show of affection between them that would have occurred during their final trip together -- they seemed sooooo distant from each other.  That picture gave me what I needed.  So, hypocrite that I am...


 
Quote
Ok, instead of finding in this thread and quoting the passages where this was mentioned, (never enough time, never enough)  I would just like to throw this out there:  after the punch, after they leave their campsite, after they go up to the sheep, with the mules and all their equipment, and gather the sheep, and get the sheep (the whole thousand a them!) down the mountain, and back to the jump-off spot, a lot of time must have passed.  As in, could they really have done all that in one day?  Did they perhaps have to overnight it somewhere, either with the sheep up on Brokeback, or ??

If they did take more than one day to accomplish all that, do you think that they just stopped speaking to each other until they parted by the truck, or ??

I've thought about this a lot.  It does seem logistically improbable that they themselves got all of that accomplished in one day.  But, then again, we see Ennis ride into camp.  Presumably it's his morning return.  And Aguirre had already been by and Jack had already started dismantling everything.  And then, the scene with Aguirre and the sheep count... that could have been late afternoon.  And the scene at the truck could have been mid-to late evening.  It's the middle of August so these scenes could be as early as say 7:00 a.m. until 8 p.m. -- 13 hours, let's say.  I dunno.  It's possible... but still...

And then, of course, Jack and Ennis had to take some time to change shirts and Jack had to find a time to steal Ennis' shirt...  I dunno. 

Also, if it did take more than a day and they had to camp somewhere for a night, that would certainly beg for us to believe that they had to have had time to talk.  Similarly, if it was all crammed into a 13-hour period, that would explain their NOT having had time to talk.  I still dunno. 

I will say, though, that the way they act at the truck seems more to me as if they had worked all day and gotten it all done in one day rather than them spending a wordless night together.

All I know is that if I think about it too much I'll start to feel like a rabbit tryin' to squeeze into a snake hole with a coyote on its tail.




Finally, to everyone... Is JakeTwist's thread title OK with everyone?  And just HOW do I change the thread title?  And, how do I insert a link to a thread into a post?

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #40 on: June 28, 2006, 03:22:12 am »
I think JakeTwist's thread title is excellent (and kudos to JakeTwist for suggesting it, since if understand her correctly -- and I know, Jane, you'll correct me if I'm wrong -- she's been known to argue more or less the opposite position on that point; but she is very open-minded :D  :-*).

Ruthlessly, you can change the subject line the same way you change the text of a post. In other words, go back to your original post and click "modify" at the top, then write the new title in. You might consider adding "(Formerly, 'Hello - I'm new here')" for clarification.

To insert a link to a thread, copy the thread's URL and paste it into your post. Then highlight the URL in your post and click the icon above with the little globe on it, which will automatically put "url" and "/url" in brackets around the URL (or you can write that coding in manually).

Back to your previous post, Ruthlessly, and your analysis of why Ennis doesn't recognize that he loves Jack. Your individual arguments make sense, but overall I respectfully disagree about what they add up to. That comes from my belief that Ennis is, well, hypocritical. When he says "You know I ain't queer," he is only slightly more sincere than Jack saying "Me neither" -- and Jack isn't sincere at all (he's just trying to calm Ennis). They're both posturing. Ennis holds an image in his mind of "queerness" and all the unappealing things he connects with that term and wants disassociate from. But deep down he knows full well he's attracted to Jack and to men in general -- he's may have been desperately repressing it for years because he's ashamed of it, but it hasn't escaped his own notice -- and he understands what that implies. (We see him in the act of repression in the scene where Jack momentarily loses control of the crow-hopping horse and then rides away, and Ennis leans out to check him out as he rides off, then half a second later catches himself and turns back to the dishes.)

When he tells Jack about his fears of what would happen if "this thing ... grabs hold of us" it's because he doesn't trust himself to keep his feelings hidden and controlled. And with good reason -- he failed to do just that in the parking lot the day before. And years later, when he asks whether Jack worries about people in town and out on the pavement "knowing," it's an indication that Ennis himself "knows."

As for love, though I think it's possible for people to fail to recognize other people's love when it's under their noses, I don't think I agree that people often fail to recognize their own love. It's such an intense, thrilling, painful, overwhelming feeling -- hard to ignore. It grabs hold of you! In the wrong place and wrong time! It can make you cry in an alley, pine for somebody for four f'in years, get all excited when you think you'll finally see them, sit there all day peering out a window, take the stairs two at a time and throw yourself into their arms, risk alienating your wife, risk losing your job, risk people finding out the one thing you can't face anybody knowing. And despite all these dangers you light up with joy when you come in contact with the person you love. It contradicts my understanding of human nature to think of people behaving in all those ways without noticing they're doing it and guessing what it all adds up to, whatever name they choose to give it.

So I think what Ennis realizes at the end is that he shouldn't have let his fear and shame stand in the way of his love for Jack, that he should have honored that love rather than tried to hide it and follow society's rules. That's why the question he asks Alma Jr. is whether this Kurt fella loves her. He has come to see that love outweighs all other considerations.

Ennis conquered this bear (OMT, Ennis' fears) by defiantly walking past him, determinedly holding Jack (the shirts), sort of in public.

Great point. I have noticed that he sort of protectively shelters the shirts when he walks past OMT. Which is significant in itself -- it's his way of protecting Jack. But visiting the Twists is sort of Ennis' coming out, and defiantly walking past Mr. Twist with shirts in hand, sheltering but not hiding them, is a good way to illustrate that he can finally, to some extent, under extreme circumstances anyway, face the prospect that people "know."
« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 03:35:50 am by latjoreme »

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Here's a suggestion for re-naming the thread
« Reply #41 on: June 28, 2006, 03:36:08 am »
How about "It wasn't all Ennis' fault after all"   :D  ;)


JakeTwist won the "Re-Name Ruthlessly's First Post" Contest!  (Although I did like "Gone With Jack's Wind"...)

With honorable mention to latjoreme for the "formerly" part!

You may pick up your prizes at Don Wroe's cabin anytime in the next four f-in' years.  A lifetime supply of BetterMost Beans -- the Brokeback Treat!



 :laugh:      ;D      :D      :laugh:
« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 04:24:38 am by ruthlesslyunsentimental »

Offline welliwont

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Re: Here's a suggestion for re-naming the thread
« Reply #42 on: June 28, 2006, 03:59:06 am »

Finally, to everyone... Is JakeTwist's thread title OK with everyone?  And just HOW do I change the thread title?  And, how do I insert a link to a thread into a post?



I'll tell you how Ruthie:

Since you are the author of the OP (original post) you can modify it at any time.  All you have to do is click on it, and modify it!  I am flattered that you liked my suggestion, kinda like I wrote the whole OP, right?  LOLOL!   ;) :D ;D :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:



The fact that Ennis didn’t verbally respond to "Sometimes I miss you so much..." always bugged me.


I have always felt the same way, exactly the same way!!!.  I have posted about this before in fact...  Ruthie you and I see eye to eye on just about every aspect of this masterpiece, except for one or two little things...

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#1:  this is sooo minor, I am almost embarassed to bring it up, but...  why do you say Ennis' fears are being magnified and his paranoia is increasing?

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.



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#2:  I think your whole OP is awsome, and I think it is near-indisputable, even if I have not been able to find the time to read all the replies to it yet... every f'n day!!

I am the Continuity Director of Broke Arsed Mountain, doncha-know!!!

but please to explain, (and maybe you can!) how the following scene fits together with your masterful analysis, I think there is some contradiction happenin' here, no?

If they were trying to keep up the pretense, then how does that reconcile with a prior camping trip when Ennis asks Jack does her ever get the feeling that people "know"  -- ok now that is yet another line you and I can discuss back and forth Katherine, because to me Ennis' saying that is kind of an admission that there is someting to "know".

Does Ennis think that people "know" that he does things with his best bud Jack?

or

is he thinking that they "know" that he is homosexual?

If it is the latter, then why does he blow up at Jack during the fight "All them things that I don't know, could get you killed if I should come to know 'em"?  Because that line has been explained to me as:  the reason Enns blows a gasket is bcz if Jack goes to Mexico to visit male prostitutes that makes Jack gay, and if Jack is gay ergo Ennis is gay too.

Huhmmmm.



« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 05:05:28 am by JakeTwist »
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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #43 on: June 28, 2006, 04:20:10 am »

Back to your previous post, Ruthlessly, and your analysis of why Ennis doesn't recognize that he loves Jack. Your individual arguments make sense, but overall I respectfully disagree about what they add up to. That comes from my belief that Ennis is, well, hypocritical. When he says "You know I ain't queer," he is only slightly more sincere than Jack saying "Me neither" -- and Jack isn't sincere at all (he's just trying to calm Ennis). They're both posturing. Ennis holds an image in his mind of "queerness" and all the unappealing things he connects with that term and wants disassociate from. But deep down he knows full well he's attracted to Jack and to men in general -- he's may have been desperately repressing it for years because he's ashamed of it, but it hasn't escaped his own notice -- and he understands what that implies. (We see him in the act of repression in the scene where Jack momentarily loses control of the crow-hopping horse and then rides away, and Ennis leans out to check him out as he rides off, then half a second later catches himself and turns back to the dishes.)

Yes.  I agree.  But, I'll also add that for every scene and for every line there is almost always text, subtext, and metaphor.  I think what you have pointed out about the "queer" comments is a take on the text, and I agree with that.  But I take it a little more as metaphor for his fears running throughout the film.  I also think that there's two parts to Jack's "Me neither" response.  I think in one way he knows what to say and what not to say to Ennis, but I also think he also believes, to an extent, what he is saying.  I don’t feel that at this stage he's "out."  He's not yet 20.  And he's a dreamer.  I just don’t see him as being that grounded at this point.  He's gone through the same things as Ennis has, as all teenage boys have, with regards to "queer" comments -- the ultimate putdown from one teenage male to another.  Very few, if any, teenagers of that time and place would have been able to  completely dismiss the messages pumped into them by their peers.  Jack's got issues too.


Quote
When he tells Jack about his fears of what would happen if "this thing ... grabs hold of us" it's because he doesn't trust himself to keep his feelings hidden and controlled. And with good reason -- he failed to do just that in the parking lot the day before. And years later, when he asks whether Jack worries about people in town and out on the pavement "knowing," it's an indication that Ennis himself "knows."

But "know" what?  That he IS a homosexual?  I just can't go there.  He's in constant denial.  When he speaks of people "knowing," I believe, that to Ennis it means people "knowing that WE do this stuff that we're not supposed to be doing."

Now, I do believe that Ennis is gay.  But, it's hard to disagree with those who say that the film paints a pretty good picture of Ennis as a man who happened to fall in love with another man.  I really think that Ennis believes with all his might that his "thing" with Jack is a "thing" JUST with Jack.   

I complexly agree with the first two sentences of the quoted part.


Quote
As for love, though I think it's possible for people to fail to recognize other people's love when it's under their noses, I don't think I agree that people often fail to recognize their own love. It's such an intense, thrilling, painful, overwhelming feeling -- hard to ignore. It grabs hold of you! In the wrong place and wrong time! It can make you cry in an alley, pine for somebody for four f'in years, get all excited when you think you'll finally see them, sit there all day peering out a window, take the stairs two at a time and throw yourself into their arms, risk alienating your wife, risk losing your job, risk people finding out the one thing you can't face anybody knowing. And despite all these dangers you light up with joy when you come in contact with the person you love. It contradicts my understanding of human nature to think of people behaving in all those ways without noticing they're doing it and guessing what it all adds up to, whatever name they choose to give it.


This, to me, is the crux of the argument.  I agree completely with all you said here.  But when we get to "whatever name they choose to give it," that's where we need to look at the name Ennis chose to give it.  He called it a "thing."  He didn't say "love."  I believe that this is because Ennis just is not capable of understanding just what it is ... or better put, that he is just not in a place in his life, in his development, to understand just what it is.  I believe that comes later... Cassie, Lureen, OMT, the shirts, Junior.  In my normal daily speech when I cannot think of the word that I know is what I want to use, I say "thing" or "stuff" and I let it stand on its own.  Ennis used the word "thing" because he couldn’t figure out what the right word would be.  Remember, he knew the word "queer."  But he certainly didn't say "When we get queer with each other..."


Quote
So I think what Ennis realizes at the end is that he shouldn't have let his fear and shame stand in the way of his love for Jack, that he should have honored that love rather than tried to hide it and follow society's rules. That's why the question he asks Alma Jr. is whether this Kurt fella loves her. He has come to see that love outweighs all other considerations.

I respect this interpretation ... can you see my big BUT coming?  Buuuutttt...   :laugh:   Isn't this an enormous leap from where he was a little while ago?  I've certainly admitted that I think he experiences some understanding and some change (starting with Cassie and her light switch), but... we are talking about Ennis here after all.  No doubt he is suffused with regret.  No doubt he will cry and feel sick to his stomach.  And I have said that at the Jack's closet moment is when I believe that he has come to realize that Jack "loved" him... and I'll even go so far as to say that Ennis even admits to himself, in his deepest, darkest, quietest place that he loved Jack.  After all, it's generally agreed that the final trailer scene is something like six months after the Jack's closet scene (Jack's closet being before November and final trailer being the next Spring) and yet he still acted with his standard knee-jerk reaction to Alma's desire to have him at her wedding.  He's learning, no doubt, but he's still Ennis Del Mar.  (Have I earned my user name yet?)      ;)


Quote
But visiting the Twists is sort of Ennis' coming out, and defiantly walking past Mr. Twist with shirts in hand, sheltering but not hiding them, is a good way to illustrate that he can finally, to some extent, under extreme circumstances anyway, face the prospect that people "know."

I agree.  But you'd better watch out there.  With all of those qualifications (finally, to some extent, under extreme circumstances) you're sounding like me.      ;D

Offline welliwont

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #44 on: June 28, 2006, 04:55:54 am »

...since if understand her correctly -- and I know, Jane, you'll correct me if I'm wrong -- she's been known to argue more or less the opposite position on that point; but she is very open-minded :D  :-*).


Yeah, you're right on the money there Katherine!  (Actually, it's all part of my master plan, get Ruthie to re-name her OP, and then volley and lambast that heretic thread!!!  It's all a trick!)

Anyway K & R, it's past my bedtime, cu later, aren't you glad you've found each other, you two go together like milk and water!! 8) :D

ttyl,

J
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Offline welliwont

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I wonder if those of us who do find ourselves defending him more often and vehemently than we do Ennis do that because we relate more to having been rejected than having been abandoned?

Hi Barb:

I know I'm late in replying to this, but just to let you know:  your theory is dead accurate in my case.  I totally relate to Jack (is it maybe a bit obvious, y'think?)   ;D for the reason that you state.

J
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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Here's a suggestion for re-naming the thread
« Reply #46 on: June 28, 2006, 05:54:18 am »

Ruthie you and I see eye to eye on just about every aspect of this masterpiece, except for one or two little things...

Uh-oh......


Quote
#1:  this is sooo minor, I am almost embarassed to bring it up, but...  why do you say Ennis' fears are being magnified and his paranoia is increasing?

His true fear was first expressed to Jack in the Earl/Rich story – as a simple “no” to Jack’s live together suggestion.
Post-divorce scene -- He sees the white truck go by and he’s obviously paranoid about being seen way out at that lonely little ranch with Jack… even though nine out of ten people did not know where Ennis lived.
Then he gets “outted” by Alma.  Someone knows.  He goes out on the pavement and gets beat up… a beating he brought on and a beating in which he didn’t fight as elegantly as Fireworks Ennis did.
Then the river-washing coffeepot scene  -- He expresses his paranoia.  First he asks about “someone” knowing, and then he magnifies it to “everyone” knowing (out on the pavement) – He translated Alma’s knowing (one person) to everyone knowing (the driver) … on the pavement … and he expresses this in his two questions to Jack about people “knowing.”
All of this shows his increasing fear and paranoia.  (Fear is his controlling emotion.)
(This is also the tie-in to the scene where he's raking tar -- pavement -- and the older man says "break" and "back."  Ennis looks off into the distance.  Not wistfully remembering Jack (that may be a small part of it), but having a slight paranoia attack about someone mentioning that place where things seemed so normal, but wouldn't be to the guy raking next to him.)
This all culminates in the final lake scene where all of his greatest fear is brought to the surface and he’s confronted with it.  And it’s such an emotional turmoil for him, that he breaks down.


Quote
#2 ... but please to explain, (and maybe you can!) how the following scene fits together with your masterful analysis, I think there is some contracdiction happenin' here, no?

If they were trying to keep up the pretense, then how does that reconcile with a prior camping trip when Ennis asks Jack does her ever get the feeling that people "know"  -- ok now that is yet another line you and I can discuss back and forth Katherine, because to me Ennis' saying that is kind of an admission that there is someting to "know".

Does Ennis think that people "know" that he does things with his best bud Jack?

or

is he thinking that they "know" that he is homosexual?

If it is the latter, then why does he blow up at Jack during the fight "All them things that I don't know, could get you killed if I should come to know 'em"?  Because that line has been explained to me as:  the reason Enns blows a gasket is bcz if Jack goes to Mexico to visit male prostitutes that makes Jack gay, and if Jack is gay ergo that means Ennis is gay too.

Huhmmmm.

First, the analysis in #2 is excellent.

The key point in the river-washing coffeepot scene is the word "know."  As you know, it's continued in the final lake scene.  I don't believe that Ennis will admit to being homosexual.  His fear is his controlling emotion.  I don’t believe he admits it to himself.  All of this goes back to the pact they made on the mountain.  "I'm not queer."  "Me neither."  This is a pact between them that these behaviors of theirs can continue, but it can't be called "queer."  Ennis' greatest fear is being queer ... being found out to be queer ... and all that that would mean (for example, deserving of death in some people's minds, including his father's – and he once said he thought his father was right.  This was not a throw-away line.  Nor was it relegated to its simple text.  It had a subtext that would carry through to the Earl/Rich story.  His father’s hatred was taught to Ennis, Ennis learned it, and he thought it was right, his father was right).

He asks about people knowing ... about things being "normal" with Lureen.  These two questions are linked for they define each other.  What people know is "what is normal."  And, what people know is "what isn't normal."  He's asking Jack about whether Jack thinks people "know" that they are doing things that aren't "normal."  He's telling Jack that he's worried that people "know" that they're doing what they're doing.  He's asking whether Lureen "knows" about something that isn't quite "normal."  Yes, he absolutely knows that what they're doing is not "normal."  But to him, it's just "this thing" grabbing them.  It's not that they're queer.  But something grabs them and makes them do this thing that isn't "normal."

This is why I believe the explanation from the quote about why Ennis blows up.  It's not about jealousy.  It’s about his fear.  Fear is Ennis' controlling emotion.  Not jealousy.  If Jack has gone to Mexico to get what they have there for boys like Jack, then that would make Jack queer.  That would break their pact.  That would make Ennis queer.  And that is his greatest fear. 

(Side note on “The Pact” -- When Ennis and Jack made their pact, it was Ennis who spoke its terms.  He spoke out of his fear.  It’s a fear-based pact.  And Jack realizes this at the post-divorce scene.  Remember, at the reunion river scene Ennis told Jack about Earl/Rich.  Jack got a glimpse into Ennis’ fear.  But not just how strong it was.  Notice that they continue seeing each other happily for quite a while before the divorce.  The “You’re late” scene has no real dialogue.  It’s there to show us that they’re happily meeting each other every so often.  To Jack, it’s this way because Ennis is married, so Jack goes with this arrangement.  To Ennis, it’s this way because of his fear.  Then at the post-divorce scene, Jack drives up looking all perky and Ennis shoots him down – with the excuse of his girls, but we see, as does Jack, the fear in Ennis when the white truck drives by.  Here, Jack realizes how great a hold fear has on Ennis.  And he says f it and he goes to Mexico.  Jack breaks the pact because he knows it’s fear-based and it’s a lie.)

When Ennis exploded with the bikers, when he exploded with Alma, when he exploded with Jack, it was all about being confronted by his greatest fear -- him being queer.  This is a continuation of the bear metaphor -- Ennis confronting his fears and being thrown.  This is why the bear incident happened immediately after the Basque said "It's too early [in the summer]."  Metaphorically, the Basque was saying that "you're ordering soup -- you're trying to please Jack because you're falling in love with him -- BUT you're not ready for it yet, Ennis.  It's too early for you."  Then Ennis encounters the bear, his fears, and look what it does to him.  He gets thrown and wounded.  Just as he was thrown and wounded by the truck driver immediately after his "bear" confrontation with Alma at her Thanksgiving Spectacular.

As a side note, one must also remember the context of when and how Ennis lashes out at Jack.  Ennis offered "good times" to Jack (to assuage him for not being available in August).  Jack was intransigent.  Ennis asked whether Jack had a better idea and Jack replied "I did once."  What did he mean?  Mexico?  Hardly.  Does anyone believe that Jack thought that Mexico was a better idea?  No.  Jack meant "I had a better idea once -- you and me living together."  And Ennis understood that that's what Jack meant.  I don’t doubt that at that moment when Ennis asked the question he knew what the answer was going to be and he said to himself "Oops... I shouldn’t have opened that can of worms again.  Here comes the old "let's live together" spiel."  So what does Ennis do?  He deflects and puts Jack on the defensive with the question about Mexico.  Jack goes along with it and allows Ennis to vent.  But then, when it's Jack’s turn, what does he go right back to?  More about Mexico?  No.  He says that they could have had a good life together.  But Ennis didn’t want it. Ennis gets what he deserves here.  THEN Jack goes back to the subtext of Mexico... getting what he hardly ever gets, what he needs.  And Ennis is smacked upside the head with the reality of Jack being queer.  Which, in Ennis' mind, makes Ennis queer.  Thus, his finally coming as close as ever to acknowledging his "queerness" (I'm nothin', I’m nowhere and it's because of my queerness for you Jack) resulting in his massive breakdown -- a bookend to his breakdown after they parted 20 years ago at Jack's truck.

In a way, Jack turned out to be the biggest bear of all.

For the record, this is only my opinion (obviously).  I’m always willing to listen to counterarguments and refutations.  And I have been known to change my mind.  But if I still think I’m on the right track, I’m not afraid to keep going.

Offline ednbarby

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Hi Barb:

I know I'm late in replying to this, but just to let you know:  your theory is dead accurate in my case.  I totally relate to Jack (is it maybe a bit obvious, y'think?)   ;D for the reason that you state.

J

Thanks for that answer, Jane.  I'm vascillating, myself.  It apparently doesn't always apply.  I was even thinking last night that it might not really apply to me.  But when I really looked, and hard, at my life and at all the close relationships I've had, mostly with boys and men, but also with my mother and my couple of long-term female friends, rejection *is* a recurrent theme.  I *have* often felt marginalized by most of them - not fully accepted for exactly what I am.  Most of them are still there with me, but kind of pushing me into a corner all the while.  Come to think of it, of all those people, only my mother has loved me unconditionally and has known me completely, though I have loved and known many of the others that way.  Now, maybe other people don't need that unconditional acceptance as much as I think I yearn for it, so when they look hard at their relationships that haven't gone as well as they'd have liked, they don't see the cause of that as being misunderstood and underappreciated but as something else.
No more beans!

Offline dly64

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Ruth - I heard about this thread from latjoreme and read your thoughtful essay. Needless to say, I watched BBM again for the 100th time or so (I am not exaggerating) and stayed up until 2 AM writing some thoughts down in response to your commentary. I hope I am not being repetitive as to what others have said. I have read through everything ... so I hope I can share a slightly different point of view. I am going to go down through your points because it helps me to organize my thoughts.

As a brief prelude .... I think I understand Jack's psyche better than Ennis'. Most of my thoughts come from the viewpoint of empathy for Jack.

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.

I see Jack's initiation as one of vulnerability. He carefully takes Ennis' hand and puts it on his cock. He could have easily been rejected. Jack made it clear that he was excited and that he was willing, wanting and able to have sex . But, it is Ennis who throws Jack down and it is Ennis who is in the dominant position. It is Ennis who pulls Jack's pants down. Another thing to note here is that they were both intoxicated, so their inhabitions were down. After the FNIT, it is Jack who comes out to Ennis and feels the pain of rejection (which, IMO, is a theme between Jack and Ennis throughout their relationship). Jack watches Ennis leave.

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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.

IMO, the SNIT is when they both knew they loved each other (albeit Ennis could not admit that until 20 years later when it was too late). Both men are vulnerable in that beautiful scene. It is Jack who is nurturing Ennis. This is new territory for both of them (although I know there are Brokies who would disgree with that). This scene is a turning point for both Jack and Ennis. They have the freedom of the mountain to explore and develop their love for each other.

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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.

I think you make a lot of good points here. It does come down to how differently Jack and Ennis process leaving the mountain. As I stated above, however, the SNIT was piviotal for both and, IMO, that is when they both knew they loved each other.

It is Jack who approaches Ennis. It is also Jack who goes to Ennis and tries to comfort him after Ennis has the bloody nose. The punch in Jack's face symbolized another rejection from Ennis. Again, Ennis leaves Jack in pain.

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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.

I think you make a lot of excellent points. However, there are parts of your analogy that I vehemently oppose.

BBM symolized freedom from societal constraints. Annie says in her short story (and I think it sums up their experience on the mountain beautifully):

" .... only the two of them on the mountain, lying in a euphoric, bitter air, looking down on the hawk's back and the crawling lights of the vehicles on the plain below, suspended from ordinary affairs and distant from tame ranch dogs barking in the dark hours. They believed themselves invisible ....

Once they came down, societal mores were present. Ennis would have married Alma no matter what. Why? Because that was the  expectation ... from society and himself.

Jack is initiating his desire to be with Ennis when he asks, "Are you going to do this again next summer?" Again, Ennis rejects Jack. When Ennis says, "How about you?" Jack says, in a vulnerable way, "I might be back. If the army don't get me." The pain in Jack's face is palpable.

Ennis wished he would have never let Jack out of his sight, that is true. Ennis breaks down when he sees Jack leave and tries really hard to convince himself that he should not have these feelings for a man (i.e. Jack). But I don't think the outcome would have been any different. Ennis was too homophobic. Consider when Jack drives 14 hours to see Ennis after the divorce (in one of the most painful scenes of this film). Ennis is using excuses of his daily life, but his true motivation is evidenced when the truck drives by. He is fearful that someone will figure out that this man he is talking to is also his lover. Again, this scene represents another rejection.

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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.

This is another point in which I have a divergent opinion. I don't think Ennis' fears would have ever been dealt with. The image of Earl was branded in his mind. That recollection is the ghost in the room ... it is always there. The mountains symbolized a way for him to escape that fear ... to believe he and Jack were "invisible". To have any kind of a life together outside of the realms of the mountainside would have been impossible for Ennis.

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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.

Where I do agree with you is when Ennis could admit he loved Jack ... it was at that final lake scene  (which ultimately was too late). I don't know, however, that either one of them was in it for "fun" or for the sex. Had it only been that, Ennis and Jack would have quit each other long before. The truth was that each one "completed" and understood the other (the whole yin yang concept) in a way they found with nobody else. They were each other's one-in-a-lifetime love (or soul mates, if you will). Jack goes to Mexico out of frustration and need. He beds down with Randall for the same reason (OT - notice how Jack reacts when Randall is talking to him. IMO, he is thinking of Ennis at that  moment .... missing him so much that he "can hardly stand it."). At any time, if Ennis would have said the word, Jack would have dropped everything and everyone to be with the man he loved. Despite all of the times Ennis said "no", Jack kept trying.  It is the final lake scene where I see Jack as resolved to the fact that he and Ennis will never have the life together that he had hoped for ("after all this time you never found anyone else to marry?") (OT - it is clear, at least for Ennis, that it is okay that each one has sex with women. Where Ennis draws the line is having sex with other men. That is why the whole "Mexico" revelation is so devasting to Ennis. He gave himself to Jack only - literaly and figuratively.)

When Ennis blames Jack for being the "way" he is .... he is denying his own sexuality. He is trying to come to grips that he loves this man. The reality is, it isn't Jack's fault or Ennis'. It is that they love each other and have no way to deal with it.

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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 completely agree with this statement. Finding those shirts is another heart wrenching scene. Later, when Ennis says, "Jack, I swear ....."  he is vowing his love for Jack ... almost a wedding vow. How painful and lonely. Why so late? "If only .... "

Now I have written a long winded response. I felt compelled to respond .... don't know why, I just did (as evidenced by my staying up until the crack of dawn knowing I needed to get up a few hours later).

I am interested in hearing other's point of view.
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I am going to go down through your points because it helps me to organize my thoughts.

I love you already!      :-*



I agree with just about everything you say.  You and I are seeing the same and different things all going on at once.  And I believe that they are all there.  I would never say that one particular scene only means (fill in the blank) or that when Ennis said "x" he only meant "y."  Every line and every scene has multiple layers.  I’m just pulling out those things that I think are significant to follow a thread through the film.  You're doing the same thing.  This is what I like about this film.

Anyway, a couple of points just for clarification...

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As a brief prelude .... I think I understand Jack's psyche better than Ennis'. Most of my thoughts come from the viewpoint of empathy for Jack.

I understand this.  Most people either take an Ennis view or a Jack view.  I was Ennis for a good while, then I realized how I was shortchanging Jack and I pushed myself to look at everything from Jack’s point of view.  Then both of them.  Back here, over there, all around everywhere... So today I'd have to say I'm not an Ennis or a Jack, I'm both.


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I see Jack's initiation as one of vulnerability. He carefully takes Ennis' hand and puts it on his cock.

I can see vulnerability here.  But taking a guy's hand and putting it "you know where"      ;)     is overt.


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IMO, the SNIT is when they both knew they loved each other (albeit Ennis could not admit that until 20 years later when it was too late).

I think we see something similar here... but here, really well-defined terminology is important.   I can go with "they each fell in love" here.  But that's different from "they each knew they had fallen in love" and it's different from "each boy knew that the other guy loved him."

You've given (in a couple of places in your post) some examples of loving behaviors between them (as I have done in my post(s)).  Each of them displaying loving behaviors is consistent with "they each fell in love" but it is not necessarily consistent with "they each knew they had fallen in love" or with "each boy knew that the other guy loved him."  I don’t believe it’s correct to say that Ennis knew he loved Jack and then also to say that Ennis could not admit it.  It seems more consistent with the character developed in the film that Ennis did not understand what it was that was between the two of them.  To Ennis, love was a man and a woman getting married.  He didn’t understand that's it's not what one does on the surface, it's what one feels under the surface (example – the three options he gave to Jack at the final lake scene, contrasted with Cassie picking up on that and explaining it to him in the bus depot).  This was his big internal conflict -- always wanting to see Jack and do for Jack, but being unable to understand why.


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They have the freedom of the mountain to explore and develop their love for each other.

Ummmmm... yes, they have the freedom to do this, and they do explore and develop their relationship (which is friendship and sexual)... but I can't tack on "their love for each other" because they don't understand their relationship this way.  WE, the viewers, understand it this way.  But the film does not portray them as understanding it this way.  That's one of the key plots of the film -- Ennis' inability to understand and process his feelings for Jack, his inability to correctly name those feelings.


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BBM symolized freedom from societal constraints. Annie says in her short story (and I think it sums up their experience on the mountain beautifully):

" .... only the two of them on the mountain, lying in a euphoric, bitter air, looking down on the hawk's back and the crawling lights of the vehicles on the plain below, suspended from ordinary affairs and distant from tame ranch dogs barking in the dark hours. They believed themselves invisible ....

Once they came down, societal mores were present. Ennis would have married Alma no matter what. Why? Because that was the  expectation ... from society and himself.

Yes and no.  The reason they parted as they did is because of a failure to communicate, a failure to seek closure.  Had they done that, things could have been different.  As I said before, it's not that Ennis would have agreed to live together, but he was at his most vulnerable and he was at his most needy at that time.  In his position, at that time, he could have made a different choice and that different choice is not limited to only one option, them living together, it could be as simple as deciding not to marry Alma.


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Jack is initiating his desire to be with Ennis when he asks, "Are you going to do this again next summer?" Again, Ennis rejects Jack. When Ennis says, "How about you?" Jack says, in a vulnerable way, "I might be back. If the army don't get me." The pain in Jack's face is palpable.

Exactly.  We know what Jack wanted.  But Jack was confused about what ENNIS wanted.  And Jack failed to take the lead here in a meaningful way that would have gotten them talking.


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Ennis wished he would have never let Jack out of his sight, that is true. Ennis breaks down when he sees Jack leave and tries really hard to convince himself that he should not have these feelings for a man (i.e. Jack).

Yep.


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But I don't think the outcome would have been any different. Ennis was too homophobic. Consider when Jack drives 14 hours to see Ennis after the divorce (in one of the most painful scenes of this film). Ennis is using excuses of his daily life, but his true motivation is evidenced when the truck drives by. He is fearful that someone will figure out that this man he is talking to is also his lover. Again, this scene represents another rejection.

But these are two different scenes.  In the first, Ennis is at his most vulnerable and without the excuses of marriage, children and job.  In the second, Ennis is not at his most vulnerable because he has the excuses of his children and his job (and just before this, he had the excuse of his marriage).


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This is another point in which I have a divergent opinion. I don't think Ennis' fears would have ever been dealt with. The image of Earl was branded in his mind. That recollection is the ghost in the room ... it is always there. The mountains symbolized a way for him to escape that fear ... to believe he and Jack were "invisible". To have any kind of a life together outside of the realms of the mountainside would have been impossible for Ennis.

And yet they did have a kind of life together outside of the realms of the mountain.  They saw each other 2-3 times a year for many years.  That is one kind of life (a pretty sucky one, but Ennis sure seemed comfortable with it for quite a while – in fact, so did Jack until the post-divorce truck scene).  Also, note that I did not say that Ennis' fears would have been dealt with on that one day at the truck, in fact, I said the opposite.  I said that had Jack taken the lead to help Ennis to not make the choice to marry Alma, the kind of life that they had post-mountain (and they did have a kind of life post-mountain) could have been different and they could have dealt with Ennis' fear... day after day... year after year...  I think we do agree that Ennis came to some kind of escape from his fear by the very end trailer scene... he certainly was able to deal with OMT... and so he could have come to that same point, but without the whole Alma, marriage, kids life that he chose to live because he was confused about what Jack felt for him, and he was confused because Jack failed to take the lead.


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I don't know, however, that either one of them was in it for "fun" or for the sex.

I may have worded this part poorly.  I don’t believe that either of them was IN it FOR fun and sex.  I believe that that's how Ennis compartmentalized his relationship with Jack.  He didn’t file it under “love.”  He filed it under “fun” and “sex.”  But WE know that he misfiled it because WE know that what they had between the two of them was love.  But had Ennis known that, he wouldn’t have misfiled it.  He was a stickler for detail.  He just wasn’t at a point in his emotional development to understand the details he was a part of.


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Had it only been that, Ennis and Jack would have quit each other long before. The truth was that each one "completed" and understood the other (the whole yin yang concept) in a way they found with nobody else.

First part, yes.  Second part, no.  I agree that on a spiritual level, each was the completion for the other; but, in their actual interactions with each other, neither completed the other at all.  In fact, because of their failures to communicate properly all along, they disassociated each other.  Remember them eating the elk?  The elk is a symbol of their relationship, a poor substitute for what Jack really wanted -- soup, that is, a life together.  And what did they do with the elk?  They ate it up, bit by bit until it was all gone.  The scene of them shooting the elk was significant for us to see Ennis providing for Jack (the text) and for us to see the poor substitute it was for Jack (the metaphor).  Now that we know that they shot the elk, we have no need to see them eat it.  But we do.  Why?  Because they're hungry (the text) and because they're eating away at their relationship (the metaphor).

(It's also interesting to note exactly where in the film we see evidence of the elk meat.  In the eating scene we see elk meat hanging on a rack they built for it.  And we see this same rack later on.  But when has all the elk meat disappeared?  And what happens right after that?)


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They were each other's one-in-a-lifetime love (or soul mates, if you will). Jack goes to Mexico out of frustration and need. He beds down with Randall for the same reason (OT - notice how Jack reacts when Randall is talking to him. IMO, he is thinking of Ennis at that  moment .... missing him so much that he "can hardly stand it."). At any time, if Ennis would have said the word, Jack would have dropped everything and everyone to be with the man he loved. Despite all of the times Ennis said "no", Jack kept trying.  It is the final lake scene where I see Jack as resolved to the fact that he and Ennis will never have the life together that he had hoped for ("after all this time you never found anyone else to marry?") (OT - it is clear, at least for Ennis, that it is okay that each one has sex with women. Where Ennis draws the line is having sex with other men. That is why the whole "Mexico" revelation is so devasting to Ennis. He gave himself to Jack only - literaly and figuratively.)

Yep, yep and yep.  But we have to ask why Ennis always said "no."  The text is because of his marriage, his daughters and his job (and they are valid reasons), but the subtext is his fear of his homosexuality and its consequences.  Similarly, we have to ask why it's OK to have sex with women, but not with men.  And again, the subtext is his fear of his homosexuality and it consequences.  If Jack is queer, that makes Ennis queer, and that's his fear.  Fear is what controls Ennis.  His sexual needs and desires are not his controlling factors.  For Jack, they are big factors in what drives Jack.  Jack said they're different.  Ennis could make it, but Jack could not, on a couple of high altitude fs every year.


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When Ennis blames Jack for being the "way" he is .... he is denying his own sexuality. He is trying to come to grips that he loves this man. The reality is, it isn't Jack's fault or Ennis'. It is that they love each other and have no way to deal with it.

Exactly!  And I'm not sure if by "fault" you’re referring to my comment about Jack failing Ennis at the truck, but if you are, I'm not saying that Jack's failure at that moment was the whole fault behind all of their problems over the years.  I'm saying that Ennis' fears are behind their problems, as the most significant factor, and that Jack had the opportunity to catch Ennis at his most vulnerable and to ameliorate those fears... or at least to begin the process... but he failed to recognize the opportunity.

When Ennis said that he hadn't yet had the opportunity, the text is that he hadn't yet had the opportunity to be a sinner, the subtext is that he was a virgin, and the symbolism is that of the (missed) opportunity that lay ahead for them, for their future.


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I completely agree with this statement. Finding those shirts is another heart wrenching scene. Later, when Ennis says, "Jack, I swear ....."  he is vowing his love for Jack ... almost a wedding vow. How painful and lonely. Why so late? "If only .... "

I don’t want to quibble over this interpretation because I think it's valid.  I do take it a little differently, though.  If we're going to pick out "vows" I’d have to go with the "We ain't queer" scene.  Here they set up the parameters for their relationship and define themselves (albeit incorrectly, as Jack later determines at the post-divorce truck scene).  I think that the "I swear" scene (after Junior leaves) is more of an indication to us that Ennis has now, after twenty years, come to the same realization about their vows that Jack did, that they were based on a lie.  And so, "I swear" certainly could be a new and more honest affirmation of their vows from Ennis.


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Now I have written a long winded response. I felt compelled to respond .... don't know why, I just did (as evidenced by my staying up until the crack of dawn knowing I needed to get up a few hours later).

No one will ever accuse me of being short-winded.  Personally, I'd rather have one long, detailed, well-articulated response than 100 short one-liners (such as "I disagree," or "In your opinion," or "Whatever!")  Thanks and cheers to you my BBB!      :)
« Last Edit: June 28, 2006, 05:37:18 pm by ruthlesslyunsentimental »

Offline dly64

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I am glad for your thoughtful response. It is nice to discuss this great film with someone who is as passionate about it as I am!

BTW ... I had spent over an hour responding to this note and my computer shut down on me!  So I lost everything I had written. :'( I am going to start over again, but I am not sure I will be as detailed as I was previously. C'est la vie! Stuff happens!

... So today I'd have to say I'm not an Ennis or a Jack, I'm both.

I agree ...  I do the same thing. I mostly understand Jack's point of reference, however. Each person's life experiences influence how s/he interprets this beautiful film.


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I can see vulnerability here.  But taking a guy's hand and putting it "you know where"      ;)     is overt.

Okay, okay .... I can give that to you. Even when I was writing it I was trying to be delicate in the description. I guess there is no way to make the word "cock" delicate. (I just thought it sounded better than penis).  ::)


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I think we see something similar here... but here, really well-defined terminology is important.   I can go with "they each fell in love" here.  But that's different from "they each knew they had fallen in love" and it's different from "each boy knew that the other guy loved him."

You've given (in a couple of places in your post) some examples of loving behaviors between them (as I have done in my post(s)).  Each of them displaying loving behaviors is consistent with "they each fell in love" but it is not necessarily consistent with "they each knew they had fallen in love" or with "each boy knew that the other guy loved him."  I don’t believe it’s correct to say that Ennis knew he loved Jack and then also to say that Ennis could not admit it.  It seems more consistent with the character developed in the film that Ennis did not understand what it was that was between the two of them.  To Ennis, love was a man and a woman getting married.  He didn’t understand that's it's not what one does on the surface, it's what one feels under the surface (example – the three options he gave to Jack at the final lake scene, contrasted with Cassie picking up on that and explaining it to him in the bus depot).  This was his big internal conflict -- always wanting to see Jack and do for Jack, but being unable to understand why.

I think I expressed what I was trying to say poorly. Both Ennis and Jack loved each other. Ennis did not know  he loved Jack. Jack did not know he loved Ennis. Certainly, Jack came to this realization way before Ennis.  It was the lake scene when Ennis understood the depth of his feelings for Jack. Ultimately, it was too late.


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Ummmmm... yes, they have the freedom to do this, and they do explore and develop their relationship (which is friendship and sexual)... but I can't tack on "their love for each other" because they don't understand their relationship this way.  WE, the viewers, understand it this way.  But the film does not portray them as understanding it this way.  That's one of the key plots of the film -- Ennis' inability to understand and process his feelings for Jack, his inability to correctly name those feelings.

I agree with you completely on this point.


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Yes and no.  The reason they parted as they did is because of a failure to communicate, a failure to seek closure.  Had they done that, things could have been different.  As I said before, it's not that Ennis would have agreed to live together, but he was at his most vulnerable and he was at his most needy at that time.  In his position, at that time, he could have made a different choice and that different choice is not limited to only one option, them living together, it could be as simple as deciding not to marry Alma.

We are both in agreement that Ennis would not have lived with Jack. Despite the communication (or lack thereof), IMO, Ennis would have still married Alma. Societal constraints and expectations dictated what Ennis would/ would not do. He was already engaged to Alma. He would have been unable to break it off with her to spend time or to be around Jack.  He was so worried about what others perceived that he tried everything in his power to make himself invisible. So, although Ennis was "available" at that time, nothing would have changed.


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But these are two different scenes.  In the first, Ennis is at his most vulnerable and without the excuses of marriage, children and job.  In the second, Ennis is not at his most vulnerable because he has the excuses of his children and his job (and just before this, he had the excuse of his marriage).


And yet they did have a kind of life together outside of the realms of the mountain.  They saw each other 2-3 times a year for many years.  That is one kind of life (a pretty sucky one, but Ennis sure seemed comfortable with it for quite a while – in fact, so did Jack until the post-divorce truck scene).  Also, note that I did not say that Ennis' fears would have been dealt with on that one day at the truck, in fact, I said the opposite.  I said that had Jack taken the lead to help Ennis to not make the choice to marry Alma, the kind of life that they had post-mountain (and they did have a kind of life post-mountain) could have been different and they could have dealt with Ennis' fear... day after day... year after year...  I think we do agree that Ennis came to some kind of escape from his fear by the very end trailer scene... he certainly was able to deal with OMT... and so he could have come to that same point, but without the whole Alma, marriage, kids life that he chose to live because he was confused about what Jack felt for him, and he was confused because Jack failed to take the lead.

Note that even though they get together 2 - 3 times per year, it is still in the mountains where they are isolated and away from societal morality and constraints. They have the freedom to be themselves. Off of the mountain, however, Ennis is fearful and paranoid. Even if Jack and Ennis would have had openly discussed their relationship expectations post mountain, I still think Ennis would have married Alma. He was trying hard to convince himself and society that he was "normal" That means marriage. That means kids.


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I may have worded this part poorly.  I don’t believe that either of them was IN it FOR fun and sex.  I believe that that's how Ennis compartmentalized his relationship with Jack.  He didn’t file it under “love.”  He filed it under “fun” and “sex.”  But WE know that he misfiled it because WE know that what they had between the two of them was love.  But had Ennis known that, he wouldn’t have misfiled it.  He was a stickler for detail.  He just wasn’t at a point in his emotional development to understand the details he was a part of.


First part, yes.  Second part, no.  I agree that on a spiritual level, each was the completion for the other; but, in their actual interactions with each other, neither completed the other at all.  In fact, because of their failures to communicate properly all along, they disassociated each other.  Remember them eating the elk?  The elk is a symbol of their relationship, a poor substitute for what Jack really wanted -- soup, that is, a life together.  And what did they do with the elk?  They ate it up, bit by bit until it was all gone.  The scene of them shooting the elk was significant for us to see Ennis providing for Jack (the text) and for us to see the poor substitute it was for Jack (the metaphor).  Now that we know that they shot the elk, we have no need to see them eat it.  But we do.  Why?  Because they're hungry (the text) and because they're eating away at their relationship (the metaphor).

(It's also interesting to note exactly where in the film we see evidence of the elk meat.  In the eating scene we see elk meat hanging on a rack they built for it.  And we see this same rack later on.  But when has all the elk meat disappeared?  And what happens right after that?)

I think we have divergent ideas here. Both Jack and Ennis had opposite personality traits. Yet, they understood each other in a way no one else could or ever would. They did not pull each other apart until they left BBM ... when the world around them dictated what they "should" or "should not" do. Ennis' inability to give himself freely to Jack and Jack's frustration and need tore them apart. However, they could not break from each other. They were in each other's blood (so to speak). Their need for each other could not be shaken no matter what happened.


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Yep, yep and yep.  But we have to ask why Ennis always said "no."  The text is because of his marriage, his daughters and his job (and they are valid reasons), but the subtext is his fear of his homosexuality and its consequences.  Similarly, we have to ask why it's OK to have sex with women, but not with men.  And again, the subtext is his fear of his homosexuality and it consequences.  If Jack is queer, that makes Ennis queer, and that's his fear.  Fear is what controls Ennis.  His sexual needs and desires are not his controlling factors.  For Jack, they are big factors in what drives Jack.  Jack said they're different.  Ennis could make it, but Jack could not, on a couple of high altitude fs every year.

I agree with you on this point. But I also think that Jack could separate sex from love. He did have needs that were not being met by Ennis. Ennis gave his body and soul to Jack (again, not knowing that it was love) and felt completely betrayed when he found out Jack had sex with another man. Yet it was Jack who kept working on the relationship. He was the one who kept it going. He could not "quit" Ennis.


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Exactly!  And I'm not sure if by "fault" you’re referring to my comment about Jack failing Ennis at the truck, but if you are, I'm not saying that Jack's failure at that moment was the whole fault behind all of their problems over the years.  I'm saying that Ennis' fears are behind their problems, as the most significant factor, and that Jack had the opportunity to catch Ennis at his most vulnerable and to ameliorate those fears... or at least to begin the process... but he failed to recognize the opportunity.

When Ennis said that he hadn't yet had the opportunity, the text is that he hadn't yet had the opportunity to be a sinner, the subtext is that he was a virgin, and the symbolism is that of the (missed) opportunity that lay ahead for them, for their future.

I still believe that nothing would have changed. The romantic in me hopes that things would have been different. I just think that Ennis wasn't even close to the point where he would have considered breaking off his engagement to Alma.


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I don’t want to quibble over this interpretation because I think it's valid.  I do take it a little differently, though.  If we're going to pick out "vows" I’d have to go with the "We ain't queer" scene.  Here they set up the parameters for their relationship and define themselves (albeit incorrectly, as Jack later determines at the post-divorce truck scene).  I think that the "I swear" scene (after Junior leaves) is more of an indication to us that Ennis has now, after twenty years, come to the same realization about their vows that Jack did, that they were based on a lie.  And so, "I swear" certainly could be a new and more honest affirmation of their vows from Ennis.


No one will ever accuse me of being short-winded.  Personally, I'd rather have one long, detailed, well-articulated response than 100 short one-liners (such as "I disagree," or "In your opinion," or "Whatever!")  Thanks and cheers to you my BBB!      :)


You are right ... the "Jack, I swear .... "  has about a million different interpretations and I doubt that any one person could have the same conclusion. Maybe that's a good thing.

Well, I hope this wasn't too spare. I had originally more thought provoking answers. But since everything go erased and I started getting a bit sleepy .... oh well!!

Let's keep up the conversation. I love it! (It may be that I forget what I wrote tonight and have a different perception altogether tomorrow.  ::))
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I am glad for your thoughtful response. It is nice to discuss this great film with someone who is as passionate about it as I am!

Amen!


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I had spent over an hour responding to this note and my computer shut down on me!  … I am going to start over again, …

This is what makes you a true BBB!


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… I was trying to be delicate in the description. I guess there is no way to make the word "cock" delicate. (I just thought it sounded better than penis).

Jack took Ennis’ hand and put it on his…

… manhood … little Jack … 21st digit … bean stalk  (get it?  Jack’s bean stalk…) … Jack in the box … pride and joy … should I start a new thread?


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We are both in agreement that Ennis would not have lived with Jack. Despite the communication (or lack thereof), IMO, Ennis would have still married Alma. Societal constraints and expectations dictated what Ennis would/ would not do. He was already engaged to Alma. He would have been unable to break it off with her to spend time or to be around Jack.  He was so worried about what others perceived that he tried everything in his power to make himself invisible. So, although Ennis was "available" at that time, nothing would have changed.

Yes, I agree.  But, he was at his most vulnerable.  I still think Jack could have tried something with him.  These guys were not great communicators and they were both confused at the truck.  I think a majority of people look at the screen here and yell “Say something!” to both of them (people seem to do this too when Jack later says “Sometimes I miss you so much…”).  Jack was supposed to be good with a can opener, but he didn’t use it here.  I still think they could have come to some better ending/beginning for themselves at this point and that it had to start with Jack.


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I think we have divergent ideas here. Both Jack and Ennis had opposite personality traits. Yet, they understood each other in a way no one else could or ever would. They did not pull each other apart until they left BBM ... when the world around them dictated what they "should" or "should not" do. Ennis' inability to give himself freely to Jack and Jack's frustration and need tore them apart. However, they could not break from each other. They were in each other's blood (so to speak). Their need for each other could not be shaken no matter what happened.

Agreed.


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I agree with you on this point. But I also think that Jack could separate sex from love. He did have needs that were not being met by Ennis. Ennis gave his body and soul to Jack (again, not knowing that it was love) and felt completely betrayed when he found out Jack had sex with another man. Yet it was Jack who kept working on the relationship. He was the one who kept it going. He could not "quit" Ennis.

I agree with everything except the last sentence.  But before I get into that, I need to hear how you define “quit.”


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I still believe that nothing would have changed. The romantic in me hopes that things would have been different. I just think that Ennis wasn't even close to the point where he would have considered breaking off his engagement to Alma.

This is where I’ve earned my user name.  I look at it very analytically and I think, again, that Ennis was at his most vulnerable, and I still think something could have changed.  For example, when Ennis said that that was the most he had spoken in a year, remember, the previous year for him was, presumably, with Alma in the picture.  His relationship with her could not have been that strong.  The way he strings his sentences together in the ‘yee-haw’ scene, I get the sense that it was very recently that his brother got married and probably told Ennis to go out into the world and find his way.  He concludes by saying “that’s why me end up here.”  I think his engagement to Alma was probably his brother’s or sister’s idea rather than his own – it’s just the sense I get.  He was a follower and his brother and sister were his leaders before Brokeback.  I really think that at the truck Ennis was begging (inside) for Jack to take the lead and say the right thing that would somehow make it all all right for Ennis.


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Let's keep up the conversation. I love it! (It may be that I forget what I wrote tonight and have a different perception altogether tomorrow.

Absolutely!  Now don’t let me catch you sleepin’ on your feet like a horse!  Nighty-night.

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #52 on: June 29, 2006, 04:18:58 am »
(Have I earned my user name yet?)      ;)

Gettin close!  ;)

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he can finally, to some extent, under extreme circumstances anyway, face the prospect that people "know."

I agree.  But you'd better watch out there.  With all of those qualifications (finally, to some extent, under extreme circumstances) you're sounding like me.      ;D

 :laugh: ... Not exactly, though. I see Ennis as struggling with what other people know; you (as I understand it) see Ennis as struggling with what he himself knows.

I think we're confronting what may be the biggest and maybe most immutable divide among Brokies -- more so than whether we empathize with Jack or Ennis (though there's probably some overlap). It's about when we think is the point in the movie -- early on or at the end? -- Ennis knows he loves Jack and and/or knows he is gay. Whether he believes the "I'm not queer" or is just posing. Whether the Mexico threat is about homophobia or jealousy and whether his lakeside collapse is about facing his sexuality or the fear he's losing Jack. I'm in the early/posing/jealousy/fear of losing school.

I believe Ennis knew he was gay long before he met Jack. He'd felt attracted to men for years, maybe since around the Earl time -- which is why the nightmare of growing up with a father who hates homosexuality enough to torture somebody to death for it made Ennis so pathologically shy and socially awkward. He's had to constantly hide a part of himself, to repress his thoughts whenever they come up, literally out of fear for his life. And he has become very practiced at it, as the crow-hopping scene illustrates. But hiding it isn't just a practical safety precaution; that horrific upbringing also colored Ennis' attitude. He hates his sexuality, he thinks his dad was right. So he doesn't like to admit it to himself (unlike Jack, shows little inner conflict about it). But at some level, Ennis knows how he feels about men. Just as later, he knows how he feels about Jack.

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All of this goes back to the pact they made on the mountain.  "I'm not queer."  "Me neither."  This is a pact between them that these behaviors of theirs can continue, but it can't be called "queer."  Ennis' greatest fear is being queer ... being found out to be queer ... and all that that would mean (for example, deserving of death in some people's minds, including his father's – and he once said he thought his father was right.  This was not a throw-away line.  Nor was it relegated to its simple text.  It had a subtext that would carry through to the Earl/Rich story.  His father’s hatred was taught to Ennis, Ennis learned it, and he thought it was right, his father was right).

I agree with most of what you say here -- he is terrified of being queer, and of being found out -- but not with your contention that he's so terrified he won't admit it to himself. Ennis may have attached all kinds of negative attributes to "queerness." But he also knows what it basically means -- a man who has sex with men. And he knows what he and Jack did last night, and that he wanted to do it then and to continue doing it. He realizes what that means. He doesn't want to slap the "queer" label on it, so he tries for a while to put those two ideas in separate compartments -- queerness is bad, being with Jack is good -- and manages to keep them tenuously separate (though not completely, hence his reluctance to party with the fire-and-brimstone crowd). But the dividers between these ideas gradually break down, increasing his fear that people -- on the pavement, in the white pickup -- "know."

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But when we get to "whatever name they choose to give it," that's where we need to look at the name Ennis chose to give it.  He called it a "thing."  He didn't say "love."  I believe that this is because Ennis just is not capable of understanding just what it is ... or better put, that he is just not in a place in his life, in his development, to understand just what it is.

It's almost impossible to imagine Ennis under any circumstances saying, "If this deep love I have for you, Jack, grabs hold of me at the wrong place, wrong time ..." That's just not in his character, as evidenced by all the other scenes where Jack says some nice endearment and Ennis clams up. He can express love physically, but rarely verbally -- the closest he comes is the "sending up a prayer of thanks" scene. (Which does come awfully close; he tells Jack he is so happy to be with him again that he is thanking God for it -- yes, he follows with a harmonica joke ((because, again, he's not a verbally affectionate guy)), but the slight pause Ennis gives after Jack says "For what?" is like Ennis saying, "Well, duh!") Anyway, there are plenty of stoic taciturn men who, though not conflicted about their sexuality, never use the word "love" to their partners -- yet nevertheless know they feel it. IMO, Ennis is one of those guys.

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When he speaks of people "knowing," I believe, that to Ennis it means people "knowing that WE do this stuff that we're not supposed to be doing."
 I really think that Ennis believes with all his might that his "thing" with Jack is a "thing" JUST with Jack.

I believe he doesn't separate the two that distinctly. Yes, "knows" means knowing what the two of them do, but he realizes that has implications about both their sexuality. When he asks if everything is "normal" between Jack and Lureen, it's because he knows it sure as hell wasn't normal with Alma. (And Jack lets him down here, too, IMO, by not admitting that his relationship with Lureen actually isn't ideal. Though Jack may just be trying to stay clear of Ennis' startle point.)

So he knows all these things as he goes along. After Jack's death, he realizes that hiding them was not worth losing the love of his life. Visiting the Twists, as I suggested earlier, means coming out to them. He's willing to face the Twists "knowing" -- in the kitchen, he realizes they both know, yet stays calm about it, doesn't run out and get himself beat up --  in order to do right by Jack.

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yet he still acted with his standard knee-jerk reaction to Alma's desire to have him at her wedding.  He's learning, no doubt, but he's still Ennis Del Mar.

Yeah, he reverts to his old ways, for about half a minute. His reflex is to tell her he's supposed to work -- because, in fact, he is. But since Jack's death he has been going over his mistakes, and realizing that his big one was putting other considerations ahead of love. He remembers this when he sees her disappointed look, and immediately changes his mind.

Whew! I'm sleeping in front of my computer like a horse, and I haven't even commented on the Timmy scene you referred to earlier, let alone all the them things I know (well, all them things I believe) about the lakeside argument ... but I guess there's always enough time for that, always enough.

 :)

* EDITED for lucidity the next morning (though, having stayed up so late, I'm not all that lucid now either).
« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 11:40:39 am by latjoreme »

Offline Mikaela

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Apologies for spelling errors, inconsistencies and general lack of lucidity in the following. This got way too long and too convoluted, and I have to post now or forever let it be - I'll be off the net for some days and am in a big hurry (it's as if my boss just called to tell me all the heifers are calving at the same time!  ;D  ) So if you  feel like just skipping this - please do! I figured at least it shows yet another person has been reading the thread. Knowing there are readers out there is always a good thing, IMO.

~~~~

With that, Hi ruthlesslyunsentimental - good to make your acquaintance! What a lot of interesting and insightful posts you've provided, garnering responses equally thought-provoking - and I only became aware of this late yesterday,  :o  and then only  thanks to Katherine!  :)

I guess there's a lot I'd like to comment on, but there is the old, cold issue of time…….never enough.  :(  Katherine’s latest post says much that I intended to say – very well put!  (I apologise that some of my post may seem to be repeating Katerine’s points – I wrote part of my response late last night but then didn’t have time to finish it till now. And of course………interesting things have happened here in the meantime!)


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I think we're confronting what may be the biggest and maybe most immutable divide among Brokies  [Snip]  It's about when we think is the point in the movie -- early on or at the end? -- Ennis knows he loves Jack and and/or knows he is gay. Whether he believes the "I'm not queer" or is just posing. Whether the Mexico threat is about homophobia or jealousy and whether his lakeside collapse is about facing his sexuality or the fear he's losing Jack. I'm in the early/posing/jealousy/fear of losing school.

And so am I.

I know all too well how realistic it is that a person may have come to some hard-won and difficult self-realizations, and yet prove nearly unable to change, develop or take action based on the self-realization. To me it is entirely real, and more poignantly tragic, that Ennis *would* be conscious of the facts that he is queer, and that he loves Jack, - and yet based on his childhood conditioning and society’s general strictures be unable to take the consequences and make the changes that would award him that sweet life Jack talks of.

I'd like to mention up-front, though, that I don't think it's possible to reach a consensus on the topics under discussion here - they cut too deep and touch too personal places - and we all come at them from slightly different angles and with differing interpretations and emotions in tow. So rather than "counterarguments and refutations" I consider any comments I give to be explanations of my personal views, nothing more. I don't try to convince anyone to change their minds, and I am not insisting - ever - that my views are the "right ones".


That out of the way, I'd like to latch on to this quote of Ruthlessly's and take it from there:

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This is why Ennis' anger at Jack in the final lake scene is not about jealousy.  It's about fear.  That's his controlling emotion.  It's not that Ennis was jealous of Jack being with another man.  It was that Ennis was mad as hell at Jack that he broke their one-shot pact, their "I ain't queer" pact.  Because by breaking it, Jack said "I'm queer."  And that would make Ennis queer.  And his fears would not allow him to accept that reality.

I completely agree with you that Ennis's anger and later break-down in the lake scene is not about jealousy. I think it’s only partly about fear, though. And *not* fear of being queer / being found out as queer,-but fear of losing Jack. I don't see the fear of being outed as the only overriding fear throughout Ennis's life – there’s a development as the years pass;  his fear of being abandoned by Jack increasing over time. And at the Lake, Jack is standing there saying all this out loud: I've been going with others - you're too much for me – I’m not like you - I wish I knew how to quit you.

I agree with you concerning when Ennis falls in love. I agree concerning when he realized that Jack loved him. There’s a gap of nearly 20 years between the two events. I cannot pinpoint when, exactly, Ennis realizes that he loves Jack, but IMO it was early in the relationship. This is important to me because the knowledge of love intensifies Ennis’s fear of losing Jack, and his despair and desperation at being unable to do anything but what his homophobia dictates: Cut the connection, get married, stay married, pretend to being “normal”, meet way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, send Jack packing when he comes to Riverton, find a girlfriend, make himself about as accessible as the pope….. I believe as I do because I, like Katherine, cannot envisaging Ennis behaving the way he did, feeling like he did, responding physically and emotionally the way he did, and yet never reflecting about his emotions for Jack, never admitting to himself that the thing that grabs hold of him is love (or whichever word he’d care to use for that).

As for my opinion about whether Ennis thinks of himself as queer or not: I believe he does, and survives through compartmentalizing his life – the everyday “straight” one, and the “queer one” with Jack. After all, he was given a strong reason to be agonizingly sensitive to the issue, to worry over it and reflect on it, and to be on guard for any signs of “queerness” in himself – through his father’s callous and inhumane action towards his sons. I don’t think Ennis is in denial about himself – but he’s a master at repressing and shutting that part down in a deep dark recess of his mind, having been shown the need for doing so for his very own survival. I think he believes he could force it into submission, make it go away even, an effort that demanded a lot of his energy. Which is one reason (though not the only one) why he comes across almost as an emotionally clenched fist.

For admitting to himself that he’s queer doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near accepting it, or making his personal internal peace with it, though – not until the very end after he’s completely and utterly worn out. Ennis is a homophobe  and is filled with self-loathing.
That being so, I completely agree Ennis deeply fears being found out and outed. Oh, how he fears that, and not mainly because of the threat of physical violence, but because of the horrible shame it would entail. He is prepared to watch Jack drive out of his life in -63 for good because of it.

I also agree his paranoia increases over time.  As he has to admit to himself that he is not only queer, but unable to contain and repress his inclinations even after having returned back to “real life” from Brokeback, the risk of being found out, in his view, increases correspondingly and steadily. Full paranoia strikes as Alma cons him into believing that she’s deduced it from an innocent error on his part – if she could figure it out, others can, too. (I’ve always held that Alma got her revenge and then some when she didn’t admit to Ennis just how she found out about him and Jack.)

So here is Ennis; on a day-to-day basis he’s dealt with his fear of being outed and his shame of actually being queer through some sort of balancing act: The more the fear and shame and paranoia press on his mind, the more he behaves in counterpoint. Making himself continually (and apparently increasingly) inaccessible to Jack. Not opening up to let Jack in on his emotions, not letting Jack see that it’s in fact nearly killing him to have to make it on those few meetings a year. Not responding when Jack talks of missing him. As they reach the breaking point he hurls threats and accusations. He’s constantly acting in his own worst interest, and he knows that.  Is he punishing himself for being queer, thinking he deserves the misery he’s meting out? Is he distancing himself from the most loathed part of him (the queerness), and the most beloved (Jack), tangled up all in one as they are? Is he following his usual way of forcing those who care for him to quit him through his abandoning them first, emotionally and/or physically. (Is this just so much psycho-babble?  :-\ ::) )

In any case, he’s pushing himself towards actively engineering the eventual loss of Jack, the man he IMO is aware of loving and doesn’t want to lose for the world.

That he manages to carry on for 15 years with this sort of constant internal tug-of-war is simply amazing – what strength! And what a tragedy, the way his strength is employed……

I’m getting to my conclusion of this far-too-meandering and too-incoherent post: In the lake scene, Ennis’s long balancing act cannot be maintained any more. The stress has been increasing and the fractures that have developed breaks everything apart to come crashing down around his ears. And as that happens, Ennis’s truly deepest fear is at long last made clear to him and comes to a point all at once, - the point that his homophobia, self-loathing and lack of self-esteem have been driving him towards, the point that his knowledge of loving Jack has been resisting and struggling against:  Jack finally seems to be abandoning him. He seems to be losing Jack. And he *still* doesn’t know what to do or how to change…. I think I am grateful I shall never have to know what’s in Ennis’s mind and heart, as he drives away from Jack after the dozy flashback. That must be truly frightening and lonely places to be.



« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 03:58:12 pm by Mikaela »

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #54 on: June 29, 2006, 04:13:56 pm »
I think we're confronting what may be the biggest and maybe most immutable divide among Brokies -- more so than whether we empathize with Jack or Ennis (though there's probably some overlap). It's about when we think is the point in the movie -- early on or at the end? -- Ennis knows he loves Jack and and/or knows he is gay. Whether he believes the "I'm not queer" or is just posing. Whether the Mexico threat is about homophobia or jealousy and whether his lakeside collapse is about facing his sexuality or the fear he's losing Jack. I'm in the early/posing/jealousy/fear of losing school.

With me, I can be in all of the camps or schools because I always look at every scene and every line as text, subtext, and metaphor (symbolism).  We all should agree on text since that’s what right in front of our faces. 

As to subtext, that’s where we all diverge.  I think there’s almost always more than one subtext going on, so I fall into all kinds of camps.  When I say something like “Mexico is not about jealousy, it’s fear of being queer,” what I really mean is that for me, following a thread of fear of being queer throughout, it’s about fear of being queer.  Now, if someone can come up with a thread of jealousy or fear of losing Jack that follows throughout the movie, then I’d be just fine with that other subtext.  Unfortunately, no one has ever done this – to my satisfaction – and I don’t like seeing just one instance of an explanation when another explanation seems to follow consistently throughout.

As to the metaphorical/symbolic level, we all don’t seem to diverge quite as much.  On this level, as long as the metaphor runs fairly smoothly and consistently throughout, people usually go with it.


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I believe Ennis knew he was gay long before he met Jack. He'd felt attracted to men for years, maybe since around the Earl time -- which is why the nightmare of growing up with a father who hates homosexuality enough to torture somebody to death for it made Ennis so pathologically shy and socially awkward. He's had to constantly hide a part of himself, to repress his thoughts whenever they come up, literally out of fear for his life. And he has become very practiced at it, as the crow-hopping scene illustrates. But hiding it isn't just a practical safety precaution; that horrific upbringing also colored Ennis' attitude. He hates his sexuality, he thinks his dad was right. So he doesn't like to admit it to himself (unlike Jack, shows little inner conflict about it). But at some level, Ennis knows how he feels about men. Just as later, he knows how he feels about Jack.

I agree completely, except with the first sentence, but I think you re-worded it nicely at the end of the quote.  “Ennis KNEW he was GAY” (my emphasis) is too much for me.  But I have no problem at all with “But at some level, Ennis knows how he feels about men.”  (Better, Jack.)


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I agree with most of what you say here -- he is terrified of being queer, and of being found out -- but not with your contention that he's so terrified he won't admit it to himself. Ennis may have attached all kinds of negative attributes to "queerness." But he also knows what it basically means -- a man who has sex with men. And he knows what he and Jack did last night, and that he wanted to do it then and to continue doing it. He realizes what that means. He doesn't want to slap the "queer" label on it, so he tries for a while to put those two ideas in separate compartments -- queerness is bad, being with Jack is good -- and manages to keep them tenuously separate (though not completely, hence his reluctance to party with the fire-and-brimstone crowd). But the dividers between these ideas gradually break down, increasing his fear that people -- on the pavement, in the white pickup -- "know."

Yes.  He knows that being queer is having sex with men.  But, here’s a crucial point -- I don’t think Ennis thinks of himself as queer or as having sex with men.  He has sex with Jack.  Nit picky?  Splitting hairs?  Not really.  Compartmentalizing seemingly consistent description with behavior into seemingly inconsistent compartments is what we as humans all do best.  Ennis has completely separated his understanding of his relationship with Jack apart from his internalized understanding of “queer.”  I think this a key point to the character of Ennis.  He knows what “queer” is, but he, himself, is not “queer.”  We say, “huh?”  But to Ennis it makes perfect sense.


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It's almost impossible to imagine Ennis under any circumstances saying, "If this deep love I have for you, Jack, grabs hold of me at the wrong place, wrong time ..."

 :laugh:     (Or to see Ennis say "C'mon, Jack, meet my girls ... girls, say "hi" ... this is Jack, he's gonna be your new mommy.")


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He can express love physically, but rarely verbally -- the closest he comes is the "sending up a prayer of thanks" scene. (Which does come awfully close; he tells Jack he is so happy to be with him again that he is thanking God for it -- yes, he follows with a harmonica joke ((because, again, he's not a verbally affectionate guy)), but the slight pause Ennis gives after Jack says "For what?" is like Ennis saying, "Well, duh!")

Don’t forget the “well, wrr-wrr-wrr” in the motel scene.  Or “nothing, nowhere, because of you.”


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Anyway, there are plenty of stoic taciturn men who, though not conflicted about their sexuality, never use the word "love" to their partners -- yet nevertheless know they feel it. IMO, Ennis is one of those guys.

Once again, I don’t deny the feelings that Ennis has, or that he knows that he has them.  It’s just what he calls them, how he processes and compartmentalizes them, has to fall in line with his character development, and his character is not one to understand love very well.


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I believe he doesn't separate the two that distinctly. Yes, "knows" means knowing what the two of them do, but he realizes that has implications about both their sexuality.

I still think Ennis has a disconnect here.  It’s his coping mechanism.


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When he asks if everything is "normal" between Jack and Lureen, it's because he knows it sure as hell wasn't normal with Alma. (And Jack lets him down here, too, IMO, by not admitting that his relationship with Lureen actually isn't ideal. Though Jack may just be trying to stay clear of Ennis' startle point.)

Could be the startle point, but it could also be that Jack does view his marriage as “normal.”  Even Lureen says MEN don’t want to dance with their wives.  That’s the norm… MEN don’t … well, you know!

But I think when he says “normal” here he’s referring (for the audience sake) to what just happened at Thanksgiving.  He then brings up whether Lureen suspects.  He could mean “It’s all OK with you two, the secret’s still safe?”  Ennis has a strange way of phrasing things.  For example he prefaces this with his comment about going out on the pavement.  Huh?  Who ever says that?  And how is that different from “in town?”  But the word is there to tie back to him getting beaten to the pavement in the previous scene and to him raking pavement early in his marriage.  He could be referring to the fact that Alma caught Ennis making mistakes (not noticing the note and taking care of it) and he could be asking Jack if he’s making mistakes that Lureen is finding out about.  (Hmmmm, this line of thought could take us straight to the argument that some people make about Jack dying by gay-bash murder because he gets careless…)


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So he knows all these things as he goes along. After Jack's death, he realizes that hiding them was not worth losing the love of his life. Visiting the Twists, as I suggested earlier, means coming out to them. He's willing to face the Twists "knowing" -- in the kitchen, he realizes they both know, yet stays calm about it, doesn't run out and get himself beat up --  in order to do right by Jack.

I can go with this.  Also, it’s interesting that throughout the film, the societal homophobia has no real impact on him – in terms of having his worst fear realized.  Yes, I know, it’s homophobia that placed that fear into him in the first place.  But after that, Aguirre finds out, and it has no impact on Ennis.  Alma sees them kiss, and it has no direct impact on Ennis.  She sits on it for a long time.  She outs him in the kitchen at her Thanksgiving Spectacular and, yet, still, there’s no real impact – he’s the one who starts the fight with the driver.  It’s his fears that have the impact on him.  And the Twist home scene is his first step, not in coming out, but in overcoming his fears.

(You know, I always thought that maybe the Twist ranch wouldn’t be so rundown if Old Man Twist would get off his ass and do some work instead of just sitting in the kitchen spitting tobacco in the middle of the day.  I’m sure Ennis would have appreciated his absence.  But, we all know he had to be there to work the development in Ennis.)


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Yeah, he reverts to his old ways, for about half a minute. His reflex is to tell her he's supposed to work -- because, in fact, he is. But since Jack's death he has been going over his mistakes, and realizing that his big one was putting other considerations ahead of love. He remembers this when he sees her disappointed look, and immediately changes his mind.

Yes.  He is changing.  But it’s very slow.  Maybe, today, in 2006, he can hold one of his little great-grandchildren and say “I love you.”  Maybe.

(Just thought of something.  Since you’re a self-described romantic, wouldn’t it be even better if Ennis was saving his first, true “I love you” for when he meets up with Jack again, in spirit?  That’s kinda precious, if you ask me.  And people call me ruthlessly unsentimental… geez!   ;))



« Last Edit: June 29, 2006, 04:43:49 pm by ruthlesslyunsentimental »

Offline serious crayons

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Re: Hello - I'm new here
« Reply #55 on: June 29, 2006, 04:35:54 pm »
(Just thought of something.  Since you’re a self-described romantic, wouldn’t it be even better if Ennis was saving his first, true “I love you” for when he meets up with Jack again, in spirit?  That’s kinda precious, if you ask me.  And people call me ruthlessly unsentimental… geez!)

 :laugh:

Guess I'm a romantic with a need for immediate gratification and little faith in the afterlife.

You're right that he "almost" says it those other two times. Not only that, but I'm one of those -- and I know this is highly contested -- who believe that he actually says "I love you" in the closet, to the empty shirts.

As for the other issues, I don't have time to write anything; I was supposed to be on the road half an hour ago and yet I'm still here, unable to tear myself away from my computer. But for now, let me just say ditto, ditto, ditto to Mikaela's post. All of what she says pretty much exactly match my views.

In the lake scene, Ennis’s long balancing act cannot be maintained any more. The stress has been increasing and the fractures that have developed breaks everything apart to come crashing down around his ears. And as that happens, Ennis’s truly deepest fear is at long last made clear to him and comes to a point all at once, - the point that his homophobia, self-loathing and lack of self-esteem have been driving him towards, the point that his knowledge of loving Jack has been resisting and struggling against:  Jack finally seems to be abandoning him. He seems to be losing Jack. And he *still* doesn’t know what to do or how to change…. I think I am grateful I shall never have to know what’s in Ennis’s mind and heart, as he drives away from Jack after the dozy flashback. That must be truly frightening and lonely places to be.

Beautifully expressed, Mikaela!  :-*


ruthlesslyunsentimental

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With that, Hi ruthlesslyunsentimental - good to make your acquaintance!

Pleased to meet you, ma’am.


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I completely agree with you that Ennis's anger and later break-down in the lake scene is not about jealousy. I think it’s only partly about fear, though. And *not* fear of being queer / being found out as queer,-but fear of losing Jack. I don't see the fear of being outed as the only overriding fear throughout Ennis's life – there’s a development as the years pass;  his fear of being abandoned by Jack increasing over time. And at the Lake, Jack is standing there saying all this out loud: I've been going with others - you're too much for me – I’m not like you - I wish I knew how to quit you.

Yep.  No problem here.  Just another subtext that works for me.  As we’ve said above, rejection is a major force in Ennis’ life, too.


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I agree with you concerning when Ennis falls in love. I agree concerning when he realized that Jack loved him. There’s a gap of nearly 20 years between the two events. I cannot pinpoint when, exactly, Ennis realizes that he loves Jack, but IMO it was early in the relationship. This is important to me because the knowledge of love intensifies Ennis’s fear of losing Jack, and his despair and desperation at being unable to do anything but what his homophobia dictates: Cut the connection, get married, stay married, pretend to being “normal”, meet way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, send Jack packing when he comes to Riverton, find a girlfriend, make himself about as accessible as the pope….. I believe as I do because I, like Katherine, cannot envisaging Ennis behaving the way he did, feeling like he did, responding physically and emotionally the way he did, and yet never reflecting about his emotions for Jack, never admitting to himself that the thing that grabs hold of him is love (or whichever word he’d care to use for that).

I agree with everything except just one tiny thing – the word “love.”  That’s a tiny thing isn’t it?    ;)   I think it’s his inability to make the connection between his physical and emotional responses to Jack with the word “love” that intensifies his fear of losing Jack AND of being “queer.”  The intensity is his non-understanding.  It would seem to me to be logical that if he understands his feelings and his relationship with Jack and the word “love,” that he would be able to address these issues and work through them and not be so conflicted.  But he only does this over a long twenty year period.  He is working toward an understanding, but it’s taking a lot of time, it’s taking a lot of experiences, it’s taking a lot of denials and rejections on his part, it’s taking a lot of conversations (not just with Jack).  It seems to me that the whole film from the reunion river scene until the end amounts mainly to people, events, actions, and inactions working on Ennis to bring him to an understanding of the disconnected dots in his life (his physical and emotional responses to Jack, the word “queer,” his feelings, the word “love,” his relationships with others such as Alma (both Sr. and Jr.) and Cassie).


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… I don’t think Ennis is in denial about himself – but he’s a master at repressing and shutting that part down in a deep dark recess of his mind, having been shown the need for doing so for his very own survival. I think he believes he could force it into submission, make it go away even, an effort that demanded a lot of his energy. Which is one reason (though not the only one) why he comes across almost as an emotionally clenched fist.

To me, everything you wrote after the dash adds up “denial.”  I’m not sure how you’re distinguishing the two.


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For admitting to himself that he’s queer doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near accepting it, or making his personal internal peace with it, though – not until the very end after he’s completely and utterly worn out. Ennis is a homophobe  and is filled with self-loathing.
That being so, I completely agree Ennis deeply fears being found out and outed. Oh, how he fears that, and not mainly because of the threat of physical violence, but because of the horrible shame it would entail. He is prepared to watch Jack drive out of his life in -63 for good because of it.

While I see Ennis as being terribly fearful of being outed by others and to others, I guess I see Ennis as being even more afraid of being outed by himself, to himself.


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Full paranoia strikes as Alma cons him into believing that she’s deduced it from an innocent error on his part – if she could figure it out, others can, too. (I’ve always held that Alma got her revenge and then some when she didn’t admit to Ennis just how she found out about him and Jack.)

This is excellent!  You get the Best-New-Brokeback-Idea-I’ve-Heard-in-a-Long-Time Award.  Someone!  Get this woman a can of beans!


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So here is Ennis; on a day-to-day basis he’s dealt with his fear of being outed and his shame of actually being queer through some sort of balancing act: The more the fear and shame and paranoia press on his mind, the more he behaves in counterpoint. Making himself continually (and apparently increasingly) inaccessible to Jack. Not opening up to let Jack in on his emotions, not letting Jack see that it’s in fact nearly killing him to have to make it on those few meetings a year. Not responding when Jack talks of missing him. As they reach the breaking point he hurls threats and accusations. He’s constantly acting in his own worst interest, and he knows that.  Is he punishing himself for being queer, thinking he deserves the misery he’s meting out? Is he distancing himself from the most loathed part of him (the queerness), and the most beloved (Jack), tangled up all in one as they are? Is he following his usual way of forcing those who care for him to quit him through his abandoning them first, emotionally and/or physically.

Again, excellent.  The only thing I’d do is change “his shame of actually being queer” to “his fear of outing himself, to himself.”  Then it really works for me.

(Oh, and I guess I’d also change “tangled up all in one as they are” to “all tied up in knots.”  But that’s because I love the metaphorical level.)


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Is this just so much psycho-babble?

NO!  And this is an answer I won’t budge from.


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I’m getting to my conclusion of this far-too-meandering and too-incoherent post: In the lake scene, Ennis’s long balancing act cannot be maintained any more. The stress has been increasing and the fractures that have developed breaks everything apart to come crashing down around his ears. And as that happens, Ennis’s truly deepest fear is at long last made clear to him and comes to a point all at once, - the point that his homophobia, self-loathing and lack of self-esteem have been driving him towards, the point that his knowledge of loving Jack has been resisting and struggling against:  Jack finally seems to be abandoning him. He seems to be losing Jack. And he *still* doesn’t know what to do or how to change….

I disagree with “far-too-meandering and too-incoherent post.”  Otherwise, nicely said.


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I think I am grateful I shall never have to know what’s in Ennis’s mind and heart, as he drives away from Jack after the dozy flashback.

He’s probably thinking “Boy, that was harder than untanglin’ them Chilean sheep!” – just to end on a lighter note.


Great discussion!  Thanks!

Offline dly64

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First, Ruth - I have to respond to your ..... ummmm .... discussion of what I should have called the "you know what..."

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Jack took Ennis’ hand and put it on his…

… manhood … little Jack … 21st digit … bean stalk  (get it?  Jack’s bean stalk…) … Jack in the box … pride and joy … should I start a new thread?

OMG!!! I just laughed so hard I could hardly breath!!! Yes, there could be many other names I could have used. You win on that one!!! :laugh:

I guess there's a lot I'd like to comment on, but there is the old, cold issue of time…….never enough.  :(  Katherine’s latest post says much that I intended to say – very well put!  (I apologise that some of my post may seem to be repeating Katerine’s points – I wrote part of my response late last night but then didn’t have time to finish it till now. And of course………interesting things have happened here in the meantime!)

I know all too well how realistic it is that a person may have come to some hard-won and difficult self-realizations, and yet prove nearly unable to change, develop or take action based on the self-realization. To me it is entirely real, and more poignantly tragic, that Ennis *would* be conscious of the facts that he is queer, and that he loves Jack, - and yet based on his childhood conditioning and society’s general strictures be unable to take the consequences and make the changes that would award him that sweet life Jack talks of.

I'd like to mention up-front, though, that I don't think it's possible to reach a consensus on the topics under discussion here - they cut too deep and touch too personal places - and we all come at them from slightly different angles and with differing interpretations and emotions in tow. So rather than "counterarguments and refutations" I consider any comments I give to be explanations of my personal views, nothing more. I don't try to convince anyone to change their minds, and I am not insisting - ever - that my views are the "right ones".

Ditto. I enjoy hearing all points of view, however. It makes the experience of BBM more enjoyable!

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I completely agree with you that Ennis's anger and later break-down in the lake scene is not about jealousy. I think it’s only partly about fear, though. And *not* fear of being queer / being found out as queer,-but fear of losing Jack. I don't see the fear of being outed as the only overriding fear throughout Ennis's life – there’s a development as the years pass;  his fear of being abandoned by Jack increasing over time. And at the Lake, Jack is standing there saying all this out loud: I've been going with others - you're too much for me – I’m not like you - I wish I knew how to quit you.

I think this is an interesting point that I had not really considered. I don't think the whole "Mexico" discussion was a revelation to Ennis. He knew .... I believe he knew or suspected something. However, I still think Ennis felt betrayed and hurt. I don't know that I would classify that as jealousy.

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I agree with you concerning when Ennis falls in love. I agree concerning when he realized that Jack loved him. There’s a gap of nearly 20 years between the two events. I cannot pinpoint when, exactly, Ennis realizes that he loves Jack, but IMO it was early in the relationship. This is important to me because the knowledge of love intensifies Ennis’s fear of losing Jack, and his despair and desperation at being unable to do anything but what his homophobia dictates: Cut the connection, get married, stay married, pretend to being “normal”, meet way the hell out in the middle of nowhere, send Jack packing when he comes to Riverton, find a girlfriend, make himself about as accessible as the pope….. I believe as I do because I, like Katherine, cannot envisaging Ennis behaving the way he did, feeling like he did, responding physically and emotionally the way he did, and yet never reflecting about his emotions for Jack, never admitting to himself that the thing that grabs hold of him is love (or whichever word he’d care to use for that).

This is where I have a divergent opinion ... I do believe Ennis loved Jack very early on. I don't believe, however, that he understood what he was feeling was love. When they departed BBM, Ennis broke down. He was angry at himself for having any intensity of feeling (for Jack). IMO, it wasn't until he breaks down at the lake that he realized the intensity of his feelings were  "love" ... which, ultimately, was too late .... after Jack was gone. Ennis had to live the rest of his life dealing with regret and disillusionment.

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As for my opinion about whether Ennis thinks of himself as queer or not: I believe he does, and survives through compartmentalizing his life – the everyday “straight” one, and the “queer one” with Jack. After all, he was given a strong reason to be agonizingly sensitive to the issue, to worry over it and reflect on it, and to be on guard for any signs of “queerness” in himself – through his father’s callous and inhumane action towards his sons. I don’t think Ennis is in denial about himself – but he’s a master at repressing and shutting that part down in a deep dark recess of his mind, having been shown the need for doing so for his very own survival. I think he believes he could force it into submission, make it go away even, an effort that demanded a lot of his energy. Which is one reason (though not the only one) why he comes across almost as an emotionally clenched fist.

For admitting to himself that he’s queer doesn’t mean he’s anywhere near accepting it, or making his personal internal peace with it, though – not until the very end after he’s completely and utterly worn out. Ennis is a homophobe  and is filled with self-loathing.
That being so, I completely agree Ennis deeply fears being found out and outed. Oh, how he fears that, and not mainly because of the threat of physical violence, but because of the horrible shame it would entail. He is prepared to watch Jack drive out of his life in -63 for good because of it.

I agree with much of what you say. The one thing I disgree on, however, is Ennis' knowledge that he is homosexual. He is in denial. I think the sentence (although other Brokies disagree on this) ... "It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this. I'm nothin' ... I'm nowhere ..." indicates that he blames Jack for all of his feelings. (i.e. that he loves a man). So, being the dork that I am ... I just want to quote the dictionary for the word, "denial":

a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality

That explains Ennis. Even after Jack has died, I don't think Ennis considered himself gay. He did, however, know he loved Jack and that he has lost the one person who understood him completely.

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I also agree his paranoia increases over time.  As he has to admit to himself that he is not only queer, but unable to contain and repress his inclinations even after having returned back to “real life” from Brokeback, the risk of being found out, in his view, increases correspondingly and steadily. Full paranoia strikes as Alma cons him into believing that she’s deduced it from an innocent error on his part – if she could figure it out, others can, too. (I’ve always held that Alma got her revenge and then some when she didn’t admit to Ennis just how she found out about him and Jack.)

I think this is a very good point. IMO, it was not that he was worried other people would find out he was gay .... it was that they would find out he was having relations with a man (which may seem like splitting hairs, but it isn't. He did not see himself as "queer").

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So here is Ennis; on a day-to-day basis he’s dealt with his fear of being outed and his shame of actually being queer through some sort of balancing act: The more the fear and shame and paranoia press on his mind, the more he behaves in counterpoint. Making himself continually (and apparently increasingly) inaccessible to Jack. Not opening up to let Jack in on his emotions, not letting Jack see that it’s in fact nearly killing him to have to make it on those few meetings a year. Not responding when Jack talks of missing him. As they reach the breaking point he hurls threats and accusations. He’s constantly acting in his own worst interest, and he knows that.  Is he punishing himself for being queer, thinking he deserves the misery he’s meting out? Is he distancing himself from the most loathed part of him (the queerness), and the most beloved (Jack), tangled up all in one as they are? Is he following his usual way of forcing those who care for him to quit him through his abandoning them first, emotionally and/or physically. (Is this just so much psycho-babble?  :-\ ::) )

In any case, he’s pushing himself towards actively engineering the eventual loss of Jack, the man he IMO is aware of loving and doesn’t want to lose for the world.

That he manages to carry on for 15 years with this sort of constant internal tug-of-war is simply amazing – what strength! And what a tragedy, the way his strength is employed……

I’m getting to my conclusion of this far-too-meandering and too-incoherent post: In the lake scene, Ennis’s long balancing act cannot be maintained any more. The stress has been increasing and the fractures that have developed breaks everything apart to come crashing down around his ears. And as that happens, Ennis’s truly deepest fear is at long last made clear to him and comes to a point all at once, - the point that his homophobia, self-loathing and lack of self-esteem have been driving him towards, the point that his knowledge of loving Jack has been resisting and struggling against:  Jack finally seems to be abandoning him. He seems to be losing Jack. And he *still* doesn’t know what to do or how to change…. I think I am grateful I shall never have to know what’s in Ennis’s mind and heart, as he drives away from Jack after the dozy flashback. That must be truly frightening and lonely places to be.

You have a lot of compelling arguements here and there are some things I agree with. However, the crux of what you say has to do with Ennis' knowledge that he is homosexual and that he loves Jack. That is where I have a divergent opinion. I don't think Ennis acknowledges that he is gay, ever. He doesn't see himself in those terms. As for loving Jack .... he realized it, IMO, at the lake scene after he broke down. You know I have used quotes before from the screenwriters and Ang on another post, so I won't repeat it here. It's okay to disregard what Diana, Larry and Ang have said. But, IMO, everything reinforces my opinion that Ennis did not understand that he loved Jack until it was too late. Therein lies the tragedy.


Diane

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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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First, Ruth - I have to respond to your ..... ummmm .... discussion of what I should have called the "you know what..."

OMG!!! I just laughed so hard I could hardly breath!!! Yes, there could be many other names I could have used. You win on that one!!! :laugh:

Well, as usual, I tried to avoid the obvious…


I know the rest of your responses were to mikaela’s post, but I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here with my two cents worth.


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IMO, it wasn't until he breaks down at the lake that he realized the intensity of his feelings were  "love" ... which, ultimately, was too late .... after Jack was gone. Ennis had to live the rest of his life dealing with regret and disillusionment.

I’m not sure.  I think this is where all of his worlds, all of his truths, lies and secrets, all came together and crashed head-on.  So I think that his lakeside breakdown coalesces all of these things for him so that from this point on, he has to start thinking of everything in a new way.  It seems to me that here is where the word “love” is struggling to make itself known to Ennis.  After this he talks with Cassie who explains that it’s not about fun – a clue to Ennis that Jack did not compartmentalize their relationship as fun.  Then he talks with Lureen… here, the two people who could claim Jack as their “husband” (if you will) come together and talk.  Here, Lureen gives Ennis another clue that Jack did not compartmentalize their relationship in the same way that Ennis did.  Then he pays a call on the Twists and sets a spell.  Old Man Twist gives Ennis another two clues about how Jack viewed their relationship.  And here is where Ennis gets to see two people who were significant in Jack's life and how differently they viewed him.  He can feel the contempt oozing out of Old Man Twist; but, Mrs. Twist shows Ennis that she is someone who loved Jack and, with her hand of compassion, nudges Ennis to go and find that love -- all of this building up in Ennis and culminating in finding the shirts.  Here, to me, is where Ennis realizes it was “love.”  This is what makes his reaction to Jr.’s affirmation of Kurt’s love for her so poignant.  She’s 19, the same age as he was when he met Jack, and he’s making sure that she knows that Kurt loves her so that she won’t have to go through the next twenty years without understanding, as he did.


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So, being the dork that I am ... I just want to quote the dictionary for the word, "denial":

a psychological defense mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality

That explains Ennis. Even after Jack has died, I don't think Ennis considered himself gay. He did, however, know he loved Jack and that he has lost the one person who understood him completely.

I agree.  This is certainly my take on it.  He’s just a big old bundle of “psychological defense mechanisms,” ain’t he?   :laugh:


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I think this is a very good point. IMO, it was not that he was worried other people would find out he was gay .... it was that they would find out he was having relations with a man (which may seem like splitting hairs, but it isn't. He did not see himself as "queer").

Or, that he was worried that he, himself, would find out that he, himself, is “queer.”  No more denying it.


Quote
IMO, everything reinforces my opinion that Ennis did not understand that he loved Jack until it was too late. Therein lies the tragedy.

Very well put, dly64.  You should have been up on that mountain.   :)
« Last Edit: June 30, 2006, 02:47:41 am by ruthlesslyunsentimental »

Offline dly64

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I know the rest of your responses were to mikaela’s post, but I hope you don’t mind me jumping in here with my two cents worth.

I was hoping to hear your opinion!

Quote
I’m not sure.  think this is where all of his worlds, all of his truths, lies and secrets, all came together and crashed head-on.  So I think that his lakeside breakdown coalesces all of these things for him so that from this point on, he has to start thinking of everything in a new way.  It seems to me that here is where the word “love” is struggling to make itself known to Ennis.  After this he talks with Cassie who explains that it’s not about fun – a clue to Ennis that Jack did not compartmentalize their relationship as fun.  Then he talks with Lureen… here, the two people who could claim Jack as their “husband” (if you will) come together and talk.  Here, Lureen gives Ennis another clue that Jack did not compartmentalize their relationship in the same way that Ennis did.  Then he pays a call on the Twists and sets a spell.  Old Man Twist gives Ennis another two clues about how Jack viewed their relationship.  And here is where Ennis gets to see two people who were significant in Jack's life and how differently they viewed him.  He can feel the contempt oozing out of Old Man Twist; but, Mrs. Twist shows Ennis that she is someone who loved Jack and, with her hand of compassion, nudges Ennis to go and find that love -- all of this building up in Ennis and culminating in finding the shirts.  Here, to me, is where Ennis realizes it was “love.”  This is what makes his reaction to Jr.’s affirmation of Kurt’s love for her so poignant.  She’s 19, the same age as he was when he met Jack, and he’s making sure that she knows that Kurt loves her so that she won’t have to go through the next twenty years without understanding, as he did.

I can agree with your sentences that I highlighted in blue above. I especially like the last part of your statement. I had not thought of it in that way, but I definitely agree with it.

I already am known as the queen of quotes ... so Katherine, Mikaela et.al. ...  just ignore this statement. For me it was helpful. Previously, in another thread, I quoted Ang Lee, Diana Ossana and Larry McMurty ...:

You've been quoted as saying the movie is about the impossibility of love?

Ang Lee: I think the gay factors, after a while, maybe half the movie, the circumstances are set. They can live together. Ennis has a choice to make it work. That's why Jack complains later in the movie. All they got is Brokeback? That's bullshit. They're both gays, but one chooses to be more adventurous. The other has to go through self denial and only accepts it when it's too late, when he missed him. That is true. Eventually we surpass the obstacles and it's really a search for that obscure object of love.


http://www.movieweb.com/news/28/10128.php

Here is another interview with Diana Ossana and Larry McMurty that also indicates when Ennis realized he loved Jack:

MW: For what purpose did you expand the role of Cassie (Linda Cardellini), and what part did she play in Ennis’ relationship to the women in his life?
DO: Cassie somewhat exemplifies Ennis’s continual denial of his emotional makeup, and his attempts to have what he believed was a “normal” relationship with a woman. After his and Jack’s final confrontation about Mexico, Ennis realizes that it is Jack he truly loves, and he simply cannot continue in his attempts at a relationship with Cassie, thus her confronting him in the diner about his whereabouts and her frustrations and painful realization that she’s not “the one.”

http://www.cinemalogue.com/2006/02/14/brokeback-interview/

A second interview talks about Ennis' homophobia at what point he gets to by the end of the film:

McMurtry: I don’t think Ennis would kill himself.
Ossana: He’s too tough. That would be a sign of weakness, and it would leave a memory of him as being weak, and I don’t think he would want that. But I do think that Ennis knows that people probably know that he’s homosexual, and emotionally [at the end of the film] I think he makes a tiny bit of progress, because he agrees to attend Alma Jr.’s wedding. Finally he compromises—
McMurtry: And doesn’t disappoint a woman.
Ossana: It’s the first time in the film that he doesn’t disappoint someone, male or female. It’s a tiny baby step, but he does it. I just don’t know how much [more] he’s capable of changing. I think if anything, he might become even more homophobic and bitter because of what he did, what he gave up, what he lost, what he’ll never have.

http://www.advocate.com/currentstory1_w.asp?id=25277&page=2

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Or, that he was worried that he, himself, would find out that he, himself, is “queer.”  No more denying it.

I think what you say has validity. I just have the belief, however, that he did not see himself as gay, period. He was never able to come to grips with that truth. He did come to realize that all of the feelings he had for Jack were, indeed, love. But by that time, it was too late.

What I find interesting is that when  Ennis goes up to Jack's room, and he opens the window .... IMO, it symbolizes the opening of himself to Jack. Jack's closet door was open, but the shirts were (partially) hidden. I think that illustrates two things: 1) that Jack was more open to his own sexuality (i.e. that he was gay), but 2) he kept his relationship with Ennis hidden, private and cherished.

The shirts in Ennis' closet represent his love for Jack. It, too, is kept hidden, private and cherished. But he closes the closet door. IMO, he is accepting his love for Jack, but he keeps, even to himself, his sexuality "in the closet".

Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

Offline ednbarby

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Well, a day (or two) late and a dollar short, the perfect name for this thread hit me just now out of the clear blue sky.  "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."

I never was good at coming up with clever stuff in a timely manner.  My life is a series of conversations I wish I could do over much more wittily.
No more beans!

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I was hoping to hear your opinion!

I never disappoint!    :laugh:


I'm not sure about the next section of your post.  You agreed with some of a quote of mine (blue), and so I assume you don't agree with the rest.  And you quoted some quotes from Lee, McMurtry, and Ossana after this, so I'm wondering whether they have relevance to your not agreeing with the un-highlighted part of my quote.  But I'm not sure.

As much as I find the films' creators' statements to be interesting, one thing I have noticed is that they all say different things about the same thing at different times.  For example, the comments about Cassie are from one perspective from one of them in one interview.  I've read interviews where they each give totally different explanations about Cassie -- explanations that are different from each other at the time, and statements that are different from their own words in other interviews.  I do not believe this to be an inconsistency on their parts.  I find it to be strong support for the assertion that the film has so many levels and layers.  Each time any one of them answers the same question in different interviews, the answers given are slightly different.  At that moment, they are looking at it from this angle or that angle.

As an even better example, I'll look at one of the quotes you gave:

Quote
Ossana: It’s the first time in the film that he doesn’t disappoint someone, male or female.

Here, the object of her comment is more this particular scene than the film as a whole.  She's giving emphasis to the import of what Ennis has done in this scene.  How do we know this?  Because taking the statement as a statement of Ennis' character throughout the film, it's not a true statement.  At the SNIT scene, Jack waited in the tent to see what Ennis would do.  Jack did not know whether Ennis would come in or ride off to be with the sheep.  He was hopin', of course, but he didn’t know.  So Jack had a hope.  He hoped that Ennis would come into the tent.  And what did Ennis do?  He came into the tent.  In other words, he did not disappoint Jack, a male.  So we have an example where Ennis did not disappoint someone, male or female, way back in the first 45 minutes or so of the film.

(And of course there are other examples... he didn't disappoint Jack in the elk shoot scene (Jack wanted other food and Ennis provided)... he didn't disappoint Alma on their wedding day (she wanted to get married and he showed up)... he didn't disappoint society on that day either (he did what was expected of him)... he didn't disappoint his boss when he hurried the girls to Alma at the store so that he could go to work... he didn’t disappoint Jack at the first reunion scene -- in fact, he probably gave Jack a lot more than Jack was expecting, maybe even hoping for at that moment... he didn't disappoint his girls by showing up for Thanksgiving dinner... he must not have disappointed Cassie for quite a while during their relationship -- she certainly would have liked it to have continued ---- so Ossana's comment cannot be taken as a final, definitive statement about Ennis' character.  She's just trying to give weight to the fact that we know Ennis did disappoint a lot of people a lot of the time and that here he didn’t disappoint Jr.)

You see what I'm getting at?  Just because they describe a particular scene or character in one way at one interview, it doesn’t mean that that's a final and definitive answer for all time.  It’s just one of them giving one of many perceptions that each one has about something.

I'm not even sure if it was necessary to point this out, because, to be honest, I really didn’t understand where you were going with your message at that point.  And I take this as my failing.  I could just as easily have called myself "ruthlessly stupid!"   :laugh:


Quote
I just have the belief, however, that he did not see himself as gay, period.

Yes.  I agree with this.  I think part of it has to do with how Ennis defines "queer."  Obviously we can’t ask Ennis to define "queer," and even if we did, he'd probably say "Huh, what?"  But from some of his statements, I get the feeling that he understands "queer" as a bad thing, an unnatural thing, and maybe most importantly, a non-love thing.  This is why I believe he has such a disconnect in his mind between what he does and what he is.


Quote
What I find interesting is that when  Ennis goes up to Jack's room, and he opens the window .... IMO, it symbolizes the opening of himself to Jack. Jack's closet door was open, but the shirts were (partially) hidden. I think that illustrates two things: 1) that Jack was more open to his own sexuality (i.e. that he was gay), but 2) he kept his relationship with Ennis hidden, private and cherished.

The shirts in Ennis' closet represent his love for Jack. It, too, is kept hidden, private and cherished. But he closes the closet door. IMO, he is accepting his love for Jack, but he keeps, even to himself, his sexuality "in the closet".

This works for me!


Until next time...

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Well, a day (or two) late and a dollar short, the perfect name for this thread hit me just now out of the clear blue sky.  "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."

OMG!  With all respect to the contest winner, JakeTwist, I have to say this one is better.

I can't give you any beans since they're already been awarded at the shindig we held at Don Wroe’s cabin – boy, that was some weekend, huh?

But would anyone mind if I changed the thread title again?

After all, it does go that extra step in capturing the Brokeback spirit.

JakeTwist – do you mind?

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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Friend(s), I do have to share that I have always been a little disappointed that Film Ennis does have those shirts in the closet, but only because I believe Annie Proulx's text bears an interpretation that Story Ennis had those shirts hanging out in the open in his trailer.

On the other hand, Ennis having those shirts in his closet is just a continuation of what Jack had done for nearly twenty years, having those shirts hidden away in a closet.

Perhaps it would have been too big a leap forward for Film Ennis as we know him to have hung those shirts out in the open.
"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 dly64

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I'm not sure about the next section of your post.  You agreed with some of a quote of mine (blue), and so I assume you don't agree with the rest.  And you quoted some quotes from Lee, McMurtry, and Ossana after this, so I'm wondering whether they have relevance to your not agreeing with the un-highlighted part of my quote.  But I'm not sure.

You are correct in that assumption.

Quote
As much as I find the films' creators' statements to be interesting, one thing I have noticed is that they all say different things about the same thing at different times.  For example, the comments about Cassie are from one perspective from one of them in one interview.  I've read interviews where they each give totally different explanations about Cassie -- explanations that are different from each other at the time, and statements that are different from their own words in other interviews.  I do not believe this to be an inconsistency on their parts.  I find it to be strong support for the assertion that the film has so many levels and layers.  Each time any one of them answers the same question in different interviews, the answers given are slightly different.  At that moment, they are looking at it from this angle or that angle.

As an even better example, I'll look at one of the quotes you gave:

"It’s the first time in the film that he doesn’t disappoint someone, male or female."

Here, the object of her comment is more this particular scene than the film as a whole.  She's giving emphasis to the import of what Ennis has done in this scene.  How do we know this?  Because taking the statement as a statement of Ennis' character throughout the film, it's not a true statement.  At the SNIT scene, Jack waited in the tent to see what Ennis would do.  Jack did not know whether Ennis would come in or ride off to be with the sheep.  He was hopin', of course, but he didn’t know.  So Jack had a hope.  He hoped that Ennis would come into the tent.  And what did Ennis do?  He came into the tent.  In other words, he did not disappoint Jack, a male.  So we have an example where Ennis did not disappoint someone, male or female, way back in the first 45 minutes or so of the film.

(And of course there are other examples... he didn't disappoint Jack in the elk shoot scene (Jack wanted other food and Ennis provided)... he didn't disappoint Alma on their wedding day (she wanted to get married and he showed up)... he didn't disappoint society on that day either (he did what was expected of him)... he didn't disappoint his boss when he hurried the girls to Alma at the store so that he could go to work... he didn’t disappoint Jack at the first reunion scene -- in fact, he probably gave Jack a lot more than Jack was expecting, maybe even hoping for at that moment... he didn't disappoint his girls by showing up for Thanksgiving dinner... he must not have disappointed Cassie for quite a while during their relationship -- she certainly would have liked it to have continued ---- so Ossana's comment cannot be taken as a final, definitive statement about Ennis' character.  She's just trying to give weight to the fact that we know Ennis did disappoint a lot of people a lot of the time and that here he didn’t disappoint Jr.)

You see what I'm getting at?  Just because they describe a particular scene or character in one way at one interview, it doesn’t mean that that's a final and definitive answer for all time.  It’s just one of them giving one of many perceptions that each one has about something.

That is okay ... I know many people agree with that opinion. I just go a little nutty sometimes with my quoting. (BTW, I was using the quotes to support my theory ... but it really means nothing. It's just the debater in me .... I need sources, you know!  ;))

I do disagree, however, that Diana is referring only to that moment. Ennis disappoints Jack over and over.  Here I go again ... the dictionary defines disappoint:

to fail to meet the expectation or hope of : FRUSTRATE

The reason why I used the definition is because it clearly spells out what Jack experienced. Why did he go to Mexico? Because he was disappointed and frustrated. Think of all the others ... Alma, his daughters, Cassie. He always had an excuse. I put what happened on BBM in another category because they had the freedom to be themselves without the prying eyes of the public and without societal expectations. It was post mountain that Ennis and Jack's world fell apart and reality kicked in. It's not that Ennis intended to hurt anyone, but he did just the same.

Quote
I'm not even sure if it was necessary to point this out, because, to be honest, I really didn’t understand where you were going with your message at that point.  And I take this as my failing.  I could just as easily have called myself "ruthlessly stupid!"   :laugh:

No - I am the doofus here. I just got carried away with my quotes ....  :laugh: I've got to pull the reigns in.


Quote
I think part of it has to do with how Ennis defines "queer."  Obviously we can’t ask Ennis to define "queer," and even if we did, he'd probably say "Huh, what?"  But from some of his statements, I get the feeling that he understands "queer" as a bad thing, an unnatural thing, and maybe most importantly, a non-love thing.  This is why I believe he has such a disconnect in his mind between what he does and what he is.

Yes, I agree. He defintely sees being "queer' as a bad thing. The memory of Earl ... that image ... is in his mind always.  I think Ennis saw his love for Jack as anomaly .... it was something he could not understand. It is interesting to note that Jack was the only man Ennis ever loved. The only man with whom he made love. He had no desire to be with anyone other than Jack (i.e. he didn't desire other men in a sexual way, IMO).

I thought of this poem which speaks of love and departing. I can see Ennis saying this as he is thinking of Jack:

A Dream within a Dream
by Edgar Allen Poe

Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet, if Hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it, therefore, the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of golden sand-
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep- while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?


There is nothing else I can say after that. It is too beautiful.

Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Perhaps it would have been too big a leap forward for Film Ennis as we know him to have hung those shirts out in the open.

Especially true when you think of just how many people must come to visit him in that trailer -- I'll bet it's just buzzin' with activity every Saturday night...

 :laugh:     ...      :'(

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I think Ennis saw his love for Jack as anomaly .... it was something he could not understand. It is interesting to note that Jack was the only man Ennis ever loved. The only man with whom he made love. He had no desire to be with anyone other than Jack (i.e. he didn't desire other men in a sexual way, IMO).

Spot on!


Beautiful poem, too... Thank you!


 :'(




Offline welliwont

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Well, a day (or two) late and a dollar short, the perfect name for this thread hit me just now out of the clear blue sky.  "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."

OMG!  With all respect to the contest winner, JakeTwist, I have to say this one is better.

I can't give you any beans since they're already been awarded at the shindig we held at Don Wroe’s cabin – boy, that was some weekend, huh?

But would anyone mind if I changed the thread title again?

JakeTwist – do you mind?

Well my minutes of fame are over I see.  (*sniff*)

It was nice while it lasted....  It was nice a-knowin' ya Ruthie, if that's your real name!!!    ;)

I guess I don't deserve the honour a namin' your thread, since I hardly get time enough to read it, bein' so busy with the per-formance 'n all, but jus don forget, iffen ya never even knew it in the furs place, that I was the one who steered some a them e-ducated posters to your thread-there way back in the beginnin' when it's name were no shucks.

See ya around, I guess... 

Jane

( :D ;D :laugh:)
Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

Offline ednbarby

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OMG!  With all respect to the contest winner, JakeTwist, I have to say this one is better.

I can't give you any beans since they're already been awarded at the shindig we held at Don Wroe’s cabin – boy, that was some weekend, huh?

But would anyone mind if I changed the thread title again?

JakeTwist – do you mind?


Well my minutes of fame are over I see.  (*sniff*)

It was nice while it lasted....  It was nice a-knowin' ya Ruthie, if that's your real name!!!    ;)

I guess I don't deserve the honour a namin' your thread, since I hardly get time enough to read it, bein' so busy with the per-formance 'n all, but jus don forget, iffen ya never even knew it in the furs place, that I was the one who steered some a them e-ducated posters to your thread-there way back in the beginnin' when it's name were no shucks.

See ya around, I guess... 

Jane

( :D ;D :laugh:)

I think your name is perfect, too.  It's a nice call-back to "My uncle didn't die after all," and is actually more fitting in regards to the initial post and theme of this thread.

And there is such a thing as two perfect specimens of the same creature, after all.  ;)

I say yours stays, since it's the perfect one that was here first.

(And many apologies for my being the perfect asshole.   ::) :))
No more beans!

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Well my minutes of fame are over I see.  (*sniff*)

It was nice while it lasted....  It was nice a-knowin' ya Ruthie, if that's your real name!!!    ;)

I guess I don't deserve the honour a namin' your thread, since I hardly get time enough to read it, bein' so busy with the per-formance 'n all, but jus don forget, iffen ya never even knew it in the furs place, that I was the one who steered some a them e-ducated posters to your thread-there way back in the beginnin' when it's name were no shucks.

See ya around, I guess... 

Jane


Come on, Jane.  Lighten up on me.  Tell you what, we can hunt in November... kill us a nice elk... I'll try if I can get Don Wroe's cabin again.  We had a good time at the shindig, didn't we?


 :-*


Offline welliwont

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hahahahahaha

Barb and Ruthie:

Now yur both making me blush!!   I'm not an Ennis-wanna-be, I'm a Twister through 'n through!!   ;D

_____________________

OMG!  Hark!   A revelation!  A moment of clarity just ten short minutes ago!

Now I have to confess that reading your posts at stinky old work a few hours ago, I did not grasp that the new suggestion was
the Brokeism "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."   I thought it was
"a day (or two) late and a dollar short" because all I read was:

Quote
Well, a day (or two) late and a dollar short, the perfect name for this thread

(I have to admit that I am a dunce) and of course the Brokeism is the better name, gotta go with the Brokeism!

If it's not too late, I vote for the Brokeism.  If I had read the post properly, I would never have written my other post in the first place.

Sorry for the bad chi Ruthie and Barb...

Jane


Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Now I have to confess that reading your posts at stinky old work a few hours ago, I did not grasp that the new suggestion was
the Brokeism "You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault."   I thought it was
"a day (or two) late and a dollar short" because all I read was:

Well, a day (or two) late and a dollar short, the perfect name for this thread

(I have to admit that I am a dunce) and of course the Brokeism is the better name, gotta go with the Brokeism!





Now wait a minute, JakeTwist.  You thought I would change the name of the post to "A Day (or Two) Late and a Dollar Short?"

 :laugh:      :laugh:      :laugh:


I'm gonna have to throw you that same glance that Ennis threw to Jack right after Jack said "The hell we are..." at the "yee-haw" scene.

Offline dly64

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I want to bring up the whole agruement at the lake. I have heard a few different points of view and I would like to hear all of your opinions.

When Jack says, "I did once" .... when I first saw the film, I thought Jack meant that he did  have a better idea by going to Mexico, having sex with a prostitute and not having any emotional baggage. Someone else said that when Jack said, "I did once" he was referring to having a life with Ennis. Ennis didn't want to hear the same old thing, so he picked a fight about Mexico ... i.e. putting the issue back on Jack. It ended up backfiring because all this other stuff came out and Jack brought up the subject of a life together anyway. Honestly, at this point I don't know what I think.

I bring this up in this thread because we have hinted at this issue before. We have established that the whole arguement was not about jealousy. IMO, however, Ennis felt completely betrayed. It was okay for either one of them to have sex with women. It was not okay, in Ennis' mind, to have sex with another man. Ennis was faithful to Jack. He expected Jack to do the same. Then he hears Jack say he has had sex with another man and that their infrequent couplings were not enough.

After Jack says, "I wish I knew how to quit you .." and Ennis replies, "Why don't you? Why don't you let me be? It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this ..." IMO, Ennis did not see himself as gay. In Ennis' mind, it was Jack's fault that he loved a man. Then, the man he loved betrayed him by having an "affair".

None of what was said was news. But, having said it outloud was hurtful to both. The screenplay and book state the following:

After Jack says, "I wish I knew how to quit you." 

Like vast clouds of steam from thermal springs in winter, the years of things unsaid and now unsayable -- admissions, declarations, shames guilts, fears -- rise around them.

After Ennis collapses in Jacks arms ...

And then .... they hug one another, a fierce desparate embrace -- managing to torque things almost to where they had been, for what they've just said is no news: as always, nothing ended, nothing begun, nothing resolved.

Then it goes into the dozy embrace, which is a different issue altogether. I won't open that can of worms at this moment.

Getting back to the whole "I did once" issue ... Was Jack trying to quit Ennis? Was Ennis trying to quit Jack? Did Jack want to hurt Ennis as he had been hurt?

I see Jack and Ennis' reunion and the lake scene as bookends. In the mountains .... the whole discussion of how often they can see each other is brought up:
Ennis: "If you can't fix it, you gotta stand it."
Jack: "For how long?"
Ennis: For as long as we can ride it ... there ain't no reins on this one."

At the lake ....
Jack: "I'll tell you what .... the truth is ..... sometimes I miss you so much I can hardly stand it."

Then when Ennis collapses in Jack's arms:
Ennis: "I can't stand this anymore, Jack.

It's as if their "ride" is almost over. Each one can hardly handle this secret and intense love.

As an additional note, the first time Jack brings up having a  life together is after their reunion. Jack brings it up again at the lake ... knowing that it will never happen. Again, bookends to their life together post BBM.

I'd like to hear your thoughts!
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

Offline welliwont

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I'm gonna have to throw you that same glance that Ennis threw to Jack right after Jack said "The hell we are..." at the "yee-haw" scene.

I was thinking more along the lines of the look Ennis gives when Jack says "better git unless you wannna be standing around tying knots all day!"     :laugh: :laugh:

On my way home during my 2 hour commute (yes, I really do commute 4 hours a day -  well it's more like 3 - 3.5 ta be honest   :-\ ::)) I was thinking about what I'd written.  huh?  A day late and a dollar short, what the hell !!   ??? ???  what has that got to do with the topic??  That's ridiculous, LOL!!  Maybe there's a reason why most of my posts don't get much response?  LOLOL.  ::) ??? :laugh: :laugh:

Did my brain suffer a power surge or something?  Naw that ain't it.  It's because I was at work, I took my lunch a half an hpur later than I told you I would, I was dealing with a casting emergency with the performance, I even went so far as to put a client on hold so I could complete a BetterMost post (I  work in a Call Centre)  oh, I better not tell you that!  That's not why they pay me the big bucks, to play at BetterMost during the slow periods!

Anyway I think it's funny. couldn't wait to get home and post this, I'm not surprised you picked up on it Ruthie, I was wondering if I would be the first one to laugh at myself before anyone else.  Anyway, I'm off to work on the performance and read fanfic, ttyl,

Jane
Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I was thinking more along the lines of the look Ennis gives when Jack says "better git unless you wannna be standing around tying knots all day!"     :laugh: :laugh:

This one works for me, too!      :laugh:


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I was wondering if I would be the first one to laugh at myself before anyone else.

S'alright... s'alright.

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I want to bring up the whole agruement at the lake. I have heard a few different points of view and I would like to hear all of your opinions.

You probably know mine already, so I hope you don’t mind if I weigh in here … just to keep the discussion moving …


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When Jack says, "I did once" .... when I first saw the film, I thought Jack meant that he did  have a better idea by going to Mexico, having sex with a prostitute and not having any emotional baggage. Someone else said that when Jack said, "I did once" he was referring to having a life with Ennis. Ennis didn't want to hear the same old thing, so he picked a fight about Mexico ... i.e. putting the issue back on Jack. It ended up backfiring because all this other stuff came out and Jack brought up the subject of a life together anyway. Honestly, at this point I don't know what I think.

Well, let’s see if I can sway you over.    ;)   (When you said “someone else” above, I think you’re referring to me.  I’ve always said this.)

Since the first time I saw the film I’ve changed my mind on a number of points, but I have always thought, and most likely will continue to think, that Jack meant “live together.”  Couple of reasons: That's what Jack always says – reunion river scene, cow-and-calf operation, sweet life – post-divorce scene, “I thought…” with his sideways glance – move to Texas scene , move to Texas – final lake scene, same old Jack… “I did once.”  Ennis always goes back to fear; Jack always goes back to living together.

Second, put yourself in Jack’s boots… he heard Ennis ask him whether he’d had a better idea… what’s the first thing that will come to his mind?  Mexico or live together?  When Jack hears the words “BETTER idea,” what will come to his mind?  Mexico or live together?  The reason Ennis asked his question at this time is because he was trying to throw out “fun” bait for Jack to assuage Jack concerning missing August.  Hunt, elk, cabin… “we had a good time that year.”  But Jack is unmoved and responds that this is a “goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation.”  In other words, “We’ve got a dilemma here, Ennis.”  So Ennis, who has thrown out his bait asks Jack whether he has a better idea.  Remember, he’s not asking Jack if Jack has a better idea about how to handle their relationship.  He’s asking Jack if he has a better idea about the fact that they’re missing out on August.  It’s about time.  Jack just said “Never enough time, never enough.”  Meaning?  Meaning "We never have enough time together and we would have all the time in the world together if we were actually together."  So Ennis is asking Jack about how they can handle this time problem.  This is Ennis’ big mistake – because he knows Jack well enough to know that Jack is going to come back with “live together,” as always.  And so Jack responds that he “did once” have a better idea about how the two of them can handle their time dilemma – live together.  Not Mexico.  How does Jack going to Mexico fix their time problem?  Regardless how one views the back-and-forth in this part of the scene, would Jack EVER believe that Mexico was a better idea?

Now Ennis knows what Jack meant.  How does he respond?  He puts Jack on the defensive.  “You been to Mexico?”  Jack doesn’t correct him here because Jack knows what Ennis is doing – Jack knows Ennis very well – and because Jack sees this as an opportunity for some truth to jump into their pool of lies.  So he goes with the Mexico bit for Ennis’ sake.  But immediately when it’s over, he goes back to his better idea – live together – but Ennis didn’t want it.

I can kind of see how one might think it’s about Mexico at first, but doesn’t it throw up a red flag asking “What?  Jack thinks that Mexico was a better idea?  That doesn’t make sense.  All Jack ever wants to do is live with Ennis.”

As I’ve said, I have changed my mind on a number of issues from the film, but I’ve never heard anyone put forth a good argument that Jack really believed that Mexico was a BETTER idea.


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It was not okay, in Ennis' mind, to have sex with another man. Ennis was faithful to Jack. He expected Jack to do the same.

Agreed.  But WHY does Ennis feel this way?  Back to his fears – always back to his fears.  They are his prime motivators.  If Jack has been with other men, then Jack is gay, and that breaks their “we’re not queer” pact, and that makes Ennis “queer” and that just won’t fit into his reality.


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Then he hears Jack say he has had sex with another man and that their infrequent couplings were not enough.

Jack starts speaking the brutal truth.  This begins Ennis’ breakdown.  His worlds are colliding -- his “I like to have sex with Jack” world and his “I’m not queer” world.


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After Jack says, "I wish I knew how to quit you .." and Ennis replies, "Why don't you? Why don't you let me be? It's because of you, Jack, that I'm like this ..." IMO, Ennis did not see himself as gay.

Yes!


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In Ennis' mind, it was Jack's fault that he loved a man. Then, the man he loved betrayed him by having an "affair".

But again, why does this hurt/confuse Ennis?  Because it challenges his self-concept.  He’s been fighting this battle within himself for twenty years now.


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None of what was said was news. But, having said it outloud was hurtful to both.

No doubt!


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Then it goes into the dozy embrace, which is a different issue altogether. I won't open that can of worms at this moment.

Oh, but what a beautiful can of worms the dozy embrace is!


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Getting back to the whole "I did once" issue ... Was Jack trying to quit Ennis? Was Ennis trying to quit Jack? Did Jack want to hurt Ennis as he had been hurt?

I’d LOVE to discuss this.  But I can’t until you let me know how you define “quit.”


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I see Jack and Ennis' reunion and the lake scene as bookends.

Exactly.


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It's as if their "ride" is almost over. Each one can hardly handle this secret and intense love.

Yes, to the first sentence.  Second sentence – Ennis can hardly handle his heart and his mind ripping him in two pieces; Jack can hardly stand the two of them being ripped in two pieces.


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I'd like to hear your thoughts!

Well, unlike Ennis, I always deliver.  I’ll bet you meant you want to hear other people’s thoughts besides mine all the time.  And I agree 100%.  I’d love to have more thoughts on this from others.  But we’re doing o.k., huh?

Offline serious crayons

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We have established that the whole arguement was not about jealousy. IMO, however, Ennis felt completely betrayed. It was okay for either one of them to have sex with women. It was not okay, in Ennis' mind, to have sex with another man. Ennis was faithful to Jack. He expected Jack to do the same. Then he hears Jack say he has had sex with another man and that their infrequent couplings were not enough.

Yay, Diane! We can certainly agree on this. There's not a sentence in that paragraph I would dispute!  :D

But WHY does Ennis feel this way?  Back to his fears – always back to his fears.  They are his prime motivators.  If Jack has been with other men, then Jack is gay, and that breaks their “we’re not queer” pact, and that makes Ennis “queer” and that just won’t fit into his reality.

Well, but then how does that explain all of those people in "real life" who don't struggle with internalized homophobia but who nevertheless get upset when their partners seek out other lovers? Why would Ennis be immune to regular old jealousy?

Not to say Ennis' homophobia is a nonissue. I'm sure the stress juggling two intense and conflicting emotions -- it's bad to be queer; I love Jack -- over two decades plays a part in his breakdown. All this time and he aint found nobody to marry because he knows he wants to be with Jack -- would love, at some level, to take Jack up on his sweet-life plan -- but just honestly can't see how it would work. In his understanding of reality, the idea of two men living together is simply not possible, it's both an idealistic fantasy, and a scary and shameful one as well.

But why wouldn't Ennis be distraught that the man with whom he's been in love and to whom he's been faithful for 20 years has been fooling around with other men?

I was going to say other people -- but caught myself because of course he's not the least bit disturbed by the thought of Jack with women. Is this entirely because that concept doesn't trigger his homophobia? No, in my view, it's because he knows women aren't a threat, just as he assumes Jack doesn't feel threatened by his relationship with Cassie (or, in them earlier days, Alma). That's why, when he describes his relationship with Cassie, he does so in that shrugging tone that indicates it's completely inconsequential.


ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Well, but then how does that explain all of those people in "real life" who don't struggle with internalized homophobia but who nevertheless get upset when their partners seek out other lovers? Why would Ennis be immune to regular old jealousy?

This is a good question, but it's probably best answered by what you've said you've observed in the real world.  You've pointed out that there are people who don't struggle with internalized homophobia... and we know that there are people who struggle with it (Ennis, for example – he’s real world, isn’t he?).  Different kinds of people in different kinds of situations with different needs and different agendas.  Ennis just happens to fall into his particular category, into which I'm sure there are still a lot of other people who fall.

In your example, you remove the key factor of Ennis.  Yes, in the real world it is "normal" for people who don't struggle with homophobia to get upset when their partners seek out other lovers.  And this would probably also be true for Ennis -- under "normal" circumstances.  But Ennis has a special circumstance -- internalized homophobia.  And this has been presented to us as his motivating factor.  We can analyze Moby Dick up the yin-yang, but we still have to come back to the prime motivating factor that was laid out for us, the theme the author wanted to convey.  For this film, the theme is the damaging effects of rural homophobia.  We always have to come back to Ennis' fears, because Ennis' also goes back to his fears.


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Not to say Ennis' homophobia is a nonissue. I'm sure the stress juggling two intense and conflicting emotions -- it's bad to be queer; I love Jack -- over two decades plays a part in his breakdown.

I'd have to call this the overwhelmingly overt part of his breakdown.  It's what his story is all about -- his internalized struggle brought on by his internalized homophobia.


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All this time and he aint found nobody to marry because he knows he wants to be with Jack -- would love, at some level, to take Jack up on his sweet-life plan -- but just honestly can't see how it would work. In his understanding of reality, the idea of two men living together is simply not possible, it's both an idealistic fantasy, and a scary and shameful one as well.

Well said.


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But why wouldn't Ennis be distraught that the man with whom he's been in love and to whom he's been faithful for 20 years has been fooling around with other men?

Let's look at it another way.  Ennis and Jack love each other, right?  And they're meant for each other, right? Well then why is Ennis having sex with Cassie?  Simply because Jack won't mind?  Is that faithful?  He won't give himself to Jack the way Jack wants and so he has sex with Cassie.  What if they lived together?  Would he still have sex with Cassie?  No.  What's changed?  Living together.  So why don't they live together?  Ennis' fears.  Without Ennis' fears, Ennis would live with Jack and not have sex with Cassie.  That's faithful.  Jack told Ennis that Jack has been having sex with the neighbor’s wife.  Ennis could care less.  He doesn’t even see it as a contributing factor to the disassociation of their relationship (as opposed to Jack who sees Cassie as just another obstacle that he's going to have to deal with).  What's the difference between a man and a woman?  They both know that each other has been having sex with both sexes.

In a roundabout way this sort of goes to the part of your question on Ennis being faithful to Jack for twenty years.  And, as I have said before, Ennis has not made the connection in his mind yet that it is love between them.

So, to be ruthlessly unsentimental    ;)  , I'd have to restate your question as: But why wouldn't Ennis be distraught that the man with whom he doesn't realize he's been in love and to whom he hasn't given himself completely for 20 years has been fooling around with other men?  And then the answer somehow becomes obvious.


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I was going to say other people -- but caught myself because of course he's not the least bit disturbed by the thought of Jack with women. Is this entirely because that concept doesn't trigger his homophobia? No, in my view, it's because he knows women aren't a threat, just as he assumes Jack doesn't feel threatened by his relationship with Cassie (or, in them earlier days, Alma).

Or, maybe he knows that women in the relationship, something they can both accept as "normal," will help ensure that the life together never happens?  Self-fulfilling prophecy.


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That's why, when he describes his relationship with Cassie, he does so in that shrugging tone that indicates it's completely inconsequential.

Or because he's starting to realize that his worlds are not meshing well.  In fact, the next morning they'll spiral into each other for a head-on collision.

Ah, poor Ennis....

Offline dly64

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Since the first time I saw the film I’ve changed my mind on a number of points, but I have always thought, and most likely will continue to think, that Jack meant “live together.”  Couple of reasons: That's what Jack always says – reunion river scene, cow-and-calf operation, sweet life – post-divorce scene, “I thought…” with his sideways glance – move to Texas scene, move to Texas – final lake scene, same old Jack… “I did once.”  Ennis always goes back to fear; Jack always goes back to living together.

Second, put yourself in Jack’s boots… he heard Ennis ask him whether he’d had a better idea… what’s the first thing that will come to his mind?  Mexico or live together?  When Jack hears the words “BETTER idea,” what will come to his mind?  Mexico or live together?  The reason Ennis asked his question at this time is because he was trying to throw out “fun” bait for Jack to assuage Jack concerning missing August.  Hunt, elk, cabin… “we had a good time that year.”  But Jack is unmoved and responds that this is a “goddamn bitch of an unsatisfactory situation.”  In other words, “We’ve got a dilemma here, Ennis.”  So Ennis, who has thrown out his bait asks Jack whether he has a better idea.  Remember, he’s not asking Jack if Jack has a better idea about how to handle their relationship.  He’s asking Jack if he has a better idea about the fact that they’re missing out on August.  It’s about time.  Jack just said “Never enough time, never enough.”  Meaning?  Meaning "We never have enough time together and we would have all the time in the world together if we were actually together."  So Ennis is asking Jack about how they can handle this time problem.  This is Ennis’ big mistake – because he knows Jack well enough to know that Jack is going to come back with “live together,” as always.  And so Jack responds that he “did once” have a better idea about how the two of them can handle their time dilemma – live together.  Not Mexico.  How does Jack going to Mexico fix their time problem?  Regardless how one views the back-and-forth in this part of the scene, would Jack EVER believe that Mexico was a better idea?

I can agree with the idea that when Jack said, "I did once" he meant living together and that Ennis wanted to deflect the conversation from him back to Jack. However, I see the line, "Never enough time, never enough ...", as Jack's way to express that time was passing them by. All of those years they could have had a life together. Instead, they spent their lives separate and alone. They were desperate to be together. However, the elephant in the room (i.e. Ennis' memory of Earl) was always there. Ennis was unable to give himself to Jack fully because he was too afraid of retribution. Ennis was also divorced from his feelings for Jack, until, IMO, the lake scene when he realized that this whole time it was love he was feeling. (Is that why the song "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was playing on the jukebox when he was with Cassie and Alma, Jr?? Just a thought.  ;))

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I’d LOVE to discuss this.  But I can’t until you let me know how you define “quit.”

When I refer to "quit" ...  I am thinking of two things:
1) Jack (or Ennis) trying to free himself from the relationship, secrets, and lies.
2) Jack (or Ennis) attempting to eradicate any feelings of love and passion towards the other.

IMO, Jack is referring to both of these things when he says, "I wish I knew how to quit you."

Well, but then how does that explain all of those people in "real life" who don't struggle with internalized homophobia but who nevertheless get upset when their partners seek out other lovers? Why would Ennis be immune to regular old jealousy?

Not to say Ennis' homophobia is a nonissue. I'm sure the stress juggling two intense and conflicting emotions -- it's bad to be queer; I love Jack -- over two decades plays a part in his breakdown. All this time and he aint found nobody to marry because he knows he wants to be with Jack -- would love, at some level, to take Jack up on his sweet-life plan -- but just honestly can't see how it would work. In his understanding of reality, the idea of two men living together is simply not possible, it's both an idealistic fantasy, and a scary and shameful one as well.

I am reading what you are saying and I agree with a lot of it. You and I have had discussions as to when Ennis knew he loved Jack. That is where we differ. In reading your note, however, I think we are saying the same thing, but in a different way. I am not saying that Ennis doesn't love Jack. He began loving Jack on BBM and was devastated when they parted. Ennis could not express his feelings to anyone and he tried to convince himself that those emotions did not exist. IMO, Ennis' speech is a representation of how he copes -- it's as if he is punching out his words. He is trying to hold everything down. When he can't contain himself anymore, he explodes. Anger is the one emotion he can express. IMO, Ennis could not label his feelings for Jack as love (i.e. he did not understand that all of those feelings of passion and longing equated love).

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But why wouldn't Ennis be distraught that the man with whom he's been in love and to whom he's been faithful for 20 years has been fooling around with other men?

I was going to say other people -- but caught myself because of course he's not the least bit disturbed by the thought of Jack with women. Is this entirely because that concept doesn't trigger his homophobia? No, in my view, it's because he knows women aren't a threat, just as he assumes Jack doesn't feel threatened by his relationship with Cassie (or, in them earlier days, Alma). That's why, when he describes his relationship with Cassie, he does so in that shrugging tone that indicates it's completely inconsequential.

I agree completely with what you are saying.

Jack and Ennis never had a spoken agreement that they would be monogamous (in saying that - I mean no affairs with other men), it was implied (after their reunion). I can surmise that Ennis was aware Jack was not loyal. But to hear it out loud ... to hear the bitterness in Jack's voice ....  had to be devastating. I don't think Ennis understood the intensity of Jack's pain, loneliness and need. For Ennis, their infrequent couplings were enough. It gave him satisfaction just being with Jack. For Jack, what he craved was a life together. He was living a lie. He certainly didn't love Lureen. Jack would have given up everything .... his marriage, his child, his money ... had Ennis said "yes, I want to build a life with you." 

OMG! Just thinking of this makes me want to cry.

(OT - I got the CD today ... to help give me a fix while I'm in the car or at work ... and was completely blown away by how much the music moved me. The one song that killed me was, "A Love That Will Never Grow Old". It is the song that is playing in Jack's pickup after he has driven 14 hours only to find out he misunderstood the intent of Ennis' card. The lyrics are incredibly moving. I just started to cry because it exemplified Jack and Ennis' tragic relationship.)
Diane

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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I see the line, "Never enough time, never enough ...", as Jack's way to express that time was passing them by. All of those years they could have had a life together. Instead, they spent their lives separate and alone. They were desperate to be together. However, the elephant in the room (i.e. Ennis' memory of Earl) was always there. Ennis was unable to give himself to Jack fully because he was too afraid of retribution. Ennis was also divorced from his feelings for Jack, until, IMO, the lake scene when he realized that this whole time it was love he was feeling. (Is that why the song "D-I-V-O-R-C-E" was playing on the jukebox when he was with Cassie and Alma, Jr?? Just a thought.  ;))

Absolutely to almost everything you said.  I would say though that Jack was desperate permanently (evidenced by practically everything he said and did after the mountain) and that Ennis was desperate to be together as often as possible (evidenced by his, for all intents and purposes, giving up his marriage, kids, and jobs -- but also by his intransigence in actually living with Jack).

Yes to the elephant, yes to retribution, yes to divorced from his feelings; but, as always, I have to put the "realized" part at the shirts scene in Jack's closet because all of the scenes from his breakdown to finding the shirts are giving Ennis clues about Jack's true feelings and this is what allows Ennis to discover his own true feelings.  Once again, Jack led Ennis.


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I am reading what you are saying and I agree with a lot of it. You and I have had discussions as to when Ennis knew he loved Jack. That is where we differ. In reading your note, however, I think we are saying the same thing, but in a different way. I am not saying that Ennis doesn't love Jack. He began loving Jack on BBM and was devastated when they parted. Ennis could not express his feelings to anyone and he tried to convince himself that those emotions did not exist. IMO, Ennis' speech is a representation of how he copes -- it's as if he is punching out his words. He is trying to hold everything down. When he can't contain himself anymore, he explodes. Anger is the one emotion he can express. IMO, Ennis could not label his feelings for Jack as love (i.e. he did not understand that all of those feelings of passion and longing equated love).

Boy you said a mouthful and I agree with every word of it!


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I can surmise that Ennis was aware Jack was not loyal.

When do you think Ennis became aware of this?


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But to hear it out loud ... to hear the bitterness in Jack's voice ....  had to be devastating. I don't think Ennis understood the intensity of Jack's pain, loneliness and need. For Ennis, their infrequent couplings were enough. It gave him satisfaction just being with Jack. For Jack, what he craved was a life together. He was living a lie. He certainly didn't love Lureen. Jack would have given up everything .... his marriage, his child, his money ... had Ennis said "yes, I want to build a life with you."

Again, I agree with just about all of this.  But the part about not loving Lureen -- don’t you think he loved her, but was not in love with her?  That's the way it seemed to me.  He still kissed her goodbye without his blue parka and he rubbed her shoulder after he stood up for her cooking efforts, and she seemed pleased when her husband stood up to the old man.  It seems to me that after the river reunion scene where Ennis gave their marriages as the reason preventing them from living together (he also gave the reason of Earl's untimely death, but Jack didn’t realize the very strong import of this to Ennis' psyche until the post-divorce scene, the white truck), Jack worked at his marriage and family, such as it was.  Sure, he didn’t "dance" with Lureen anymore (or maybe not too often), but he still must have had some positive feelings in his family life... love, but not in love?


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(OT - I got the CD today ... to help give me a fix while I'm in the car or at work ... and was completely blown away by how much the music moved me. The one song that killed me was, "A Love That Will Never Grow Old". It is the song that is playing in Jack's pickup after he has driven 14 hours only to find out he misunderstood the intent of Ennis' card. The lyrics are incredibly moving. I just started to cry because it exemplified Jack and Ennis' tragic relationship.)

Exactly the same here.  I was surprised by how much those songs convey when heard in the fullness of their music and lyrics. 

Someone posted a link somewhere to the 36-tracks of music that was distributed to Academy voters.  I burned those to CD.  It's great to listen to because it's got almost all of the music from the film in order -- especially all the wordless music – it adds the harmonica playing, “Water-Walking Jesus,” the music heard while Ennis looks at the word “deceased,” and the music during Ennis’ time in Jack’s closet and driving home.  It also adds some songs that we only heard snippets of and they pack a wallop when heard in their entirety.  Since it’s very nearly complete and in order, you can play out the film in your head while listening.


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When I refer to "quit" ...  I am thinking of two things:
1) Jack (or Ennis) trying to free himself from the relationship, secrets, and lies.
2) Jack (or Ennis) attempting to eradicate any feelings of love and passion towards the other.

IMO, Jack is referring to both of these things when he says, "I wish I knew how to quit you."

I'd like to discuss this, but your definitions are interesting and much better defined than others I’ve run across.  I'm going to have to sit on my mountain and do a little thinkin', if you don't mind.

Have a safe and happy 4th -- and watch out for redneck bikers at the fireworks!





Offline serious crayons

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This is getting to be a strange thread. Instead of everybody debating in multiple directions, most of the posts seem to be one-on-one debates with Ruthlessly. But -- what can I say? -- here I go doing the same.

This is a good question, but it's probably best answered by what you've said you've observed in the real world.  You've pointed out that there are people who don't struggle with internalized homophobia... and we know that there are people who struggle with it (Ennis, for example – he’s real world, isn’t he?).  Different kinds of people in different kinds of situations with different needs and different agendas.  Ennis just happens to fall into his particular category, into which I'm sure there are still a lot of other people who fall.

But I'm not discounting Ennis' internalized homophobia in shaping his reaction. I'm sure, in fact, that's a factor. But I prefer to be inclusive. To me, boiling it down to JUST homophobia seems to remove Ennis from the real world. Instead of experiencing a hodge-podge of real-world feelings, a mix of emotional conflicts -- homophobia, sure, but also, and perhaps primarily, jealousy because the man he has loved for 20 years is seeing other men -- he becomes a pawn in a literary scheme rather than a three-dimensional real-life living human being (which he is, isn't he? ISN''T HE??!?).  ???

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But Ennis has a special circumstance -- internalized homophobia.  And this has been presented to us as his motivating factor.  We can analyze Moby Dick up the yin-yang, but we still have to come back to the prime motivating factor that was laid out for us, the theme the author wanted to convey.  For this film, the theme is the damaging effects of rural homophobia. 

This is what I mean. Is he Ennis, or is he Moby? Does he react like anybody might, upon hearing of their loved one's unfaithfulness, or does he react like a literary character fulfilling his thematic duty?

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Ennis and Jack love each other, right?  And they're meant for each other, right? Well then why is Ennis having sex with Cassie?  Simply because Jack won't mind?  Is that faithful?  He won't give himself to Jack the way Jack wants and so he has sex with Cassie.  What if they lived together?  Would he still have sex with Cassie?  No.  What's changed?  Living together.  So why don't they live together?  Ennis' fears.  Without Ennis' fears, Ennis would live with Jack and not have sex with Cassie.  That's faithful.

I think I agree with everything here. Ennis definitely does have fears about living with Jack. They're just not his only motivation in the lakeside argument. He's not having sex with Cassie simply because Jack won't mind. It's because, yes, he doesn't want to have people know he's gay AND he doesn't think Jack would mind (personally, I think Jack minds more than Ennis realizes, but ...).

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  Jack told Ennis that Jack has been having sex with the neighbor’s wife.  Ennis could care less.  He doesn’t even see it as a contributing factor to the disassociation of their relationship (as opposed to Jack who sees Cassie as just another obstacle that he's going to have to deal with).  What's the difference between a man and a woman?

One difference could be that Ennis realizes Jack is gay, realizes Ennis is gay, and therefore doesn't see involvement with women as a threat. Your explanation of homophobia also works here, of course. It could even be a combination. I'm just more inclined to pick Door No. 1.

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  It's great to listen to because it's got almost all of the music from the film in order -- especially all the wordless music – it adds the harmonica playing, “Water-Walking Jesus,” the music heard while Ennis looks at the word “deceased,” and the music during Ennis’ time in Jack’s closet and driving home.  It also adds some songs that we only heard snippets of and they pack a wallop when heard in their entirety.  Since it’s very nearly complete and in order, you can play out the film in your head while listening.

Does yours have "Melissa"? I am disappointed that the regular soundtrack doesn't include it, the song Ennis and Cassie dance to on their date with Alma Jr. I miss that one especially, because Ennis himself picked it from the jukebox, and it seems to unconsciously reflect his feelings about Jack and Cassie ("knowing many, loving none; sharing sorrows, having fun -- but back home he'll always run ..."). Of all the pre-existing songs in the movie, that has always been my favorite (in the context of the movie, anyway).

Offline welliwont

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the arguements, explanation, deep analysis and interpretations in this thread are simply awsome.  I haven't had time to read the whole thing and to follow all the cross-references, to each others points of view,  etc, but this is an award-winning discussion for sure!!   :) :)

I cannot argue points as eloquently as y'all, but I am reading this thread, and I would just like to point out again (am I going to be banned from here for sounding like a broken record?)  that the following conclusion is not logical IMO:

Ennis knows that being queer is having sex with men + Ennis has sex with Jack ≠ Ennis does not think of himself as queer.

How can he not?  He is sane and rational, is he not?  And he did ask Jack at the riverside "Do you ever get the feeling that people know?"  I realize that sometimes people can make excuses for their behaviour to the point of believing that it is something other than what it is, (I mean self-delusional) but when it comes to something as concrete as having sex with a man over and over and over for half of one's life, this ain't no little thing that's happenin here.

I cannot follow the interprectation that says Ennis did not think of himself as gay.  Oh well..






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Offline dly64

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....the following conclusion is not logical IMO:

Ennis knows that being queer is having sex with men + Ennis has sex with Jack ≠ Ennis does not think of himself as queer.

How can he not?  He is sane and rational, is he not?  And he did ask Jack at the riverside "Do you ever get the feeling that people know?"  I realize that sometimes people can make excuses for their behaviour to the point of believing that it is something other than what it is, (I mean self-delusional) but when it comes to something as concrete as having sex with a man over and over and over for half of one's life, this ain't no little thing that's happenin here.

I cannot follow the interprectation that says Ennis did not think of himself as gay.  Oh well..

Not everyone agrees with me on this ... so I am going to try and explain this in another way …..

There is a "phenomenon" in the US with African-American men. It is called being on the “down low”. To make a long story short, these are two men getting together to have sex. Neither one sees themselves as gay. But they are having sex with another man. There are no emotional ties. It is strictly sex. The other piece of this whole “down low” thing, is that neither one of the men can be “gay”. Now how bizarre is that?  To you and me, we would say … “these guys are gay”.

Now plug Ennis into this same line of thinking …. Ennis did not see himself as gay. Jack (initially) did not see himself as gay … (it is unclear to me if Jack ever considered himself gay. However, he was much more in touch with his sexual needs being fulfilled by a man). Yes, they had sex together. But for Ennis, it is only Jack. He is not attracted to any other man. He has no desire to be with another man. Think of the line Ennis says to Jack when they talk about Mexico:

“Well, you been to Mexico, Jack? Huh? ‘Cause I hear what they got in Mexico for boys like you.”

Notice that Ennis is still separating himself from the thought that he is gay, even though he’s implying that Jack is gay. Later, Ennis blames Jack for being the way he is (in other words for loving a man). Denial is a powerful thing.

One more example to help express my point …..

A person might have grown up being thin. Then s/he discovers chocolate and starts to eat it and eat it and eat it. This person gains an enormous amount of weight. The scale indicates the person is overweight. The mirror shows the person is overweight. However, the individual cannot admit that he/she is overweight. S/he still believes him/herself to be thin. The reality is s/he is not. That doesn’t change the individual’s perception.

That is how I see Ennis ... he looks at himself as a man who happens to love another man. It is something he does not completely understand. We see Ennis as gay. Another person looking in might say he is gay. That does't mean he sees himself as gay.
Diane

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Offline welliwont

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Not everyone agrees with me on this ... so I am going to try and explain this in another way …..

There is a "phenomenon" in the US with African-American men. It is called being on the “down low”. To make a long story short, these are two men getting together to have sex. Neither one sees themselves as gay. But they are having sex with another man. There are no emotional ties. It is strictly sex. The other piece of this whole “down low” thing, is that neither one of the men can be “gay”. Now how bizarre is that?  To you and me, we would say … “these guys are gay”.

Now plug Ennis into this same line of thinking …. Ennis did not see himself as gay. Jack (initially) did not see himself as gay … (it is unclear to me if Jack ever considered himself gay. However, he was much more in touch with his sexual needs being fulfilled by a man). Yes, they had sex together. But for Ennis, it is only Jack. He is not attracted to any other man. He has no desire to be with another man. Think of the line Ennis says to Jack when they talk about Mexico:

“Well, you been to Mexico, Jack? Huh? ‘Cause I hear what they got in Mexico for boys like you.”

Notice that Ennis is still separating himself from the thought that he is gay, even though he’s implying that Jack is gay. Later, Ennis blames Jack for being the way he is (in other words for loving a man). Denial is a powerful thing.

One more example to help express my point …..

A person might have grown up being thin. Then s/he discovers chocolate and starts to eat it and eat it and eat it. This person gains an enormous amount of weight. The scale indicates the person is overweight. The mirror shows the person is overweight. However, the individual cannot admit that he/she is overweight. S/he still believes him/herself to be thin. The reality is s/he is not. That doesn’t change the individual’s perception.

That is how I see Ennis ... he looks at himself as a man who happens to love another man. It is something he does not completely understand. We see Ennis as gay. Another person looking in might say he is gay. That does't mean he sees himself as gay.

Well Diane, I am mightily impressed!! :)  Are you a courtroom attorney or sumpin'?  Your closing arguments have swayed me completely.  I stlll believe my mathematical equation, but I accept your explanations too...

Score one for the defense attorney!   ;D

J
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Offline dly64

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Well Diane, I am mightily impressed!! :)  Are you a courtroom attorney or sumpin'?  Your closing arguments have swayed me completely.  I stlll believe my mathematical equation, but I accept your explanations too...

Score one for the defense attorney!   ;DJ

Well - I may have swayed you (which I'm glad if I did), but I am sure there are plenty of others who'll say, "Huh?? What in the hell are you talking about?" Oh well! C'est la vie!

Nope - not an att'y. Just an MBA working in marketing and sales for an insurance company. I guess that does take a level of persuasion. I have to convince companies they need to get their health insurance from me!!  8)

Diane

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the arguements, explanation, deep analysis and interpretations in this thread are simply awsome.

Hi!  I'm the original poster.  Thanks for the nice things you said about this thread.  I sure know how to attract 'em, don't I.  You know why?  It's because I know how to cook the beans just right... I add just a little bit of "Old Rose" whiskey!   :laugh:


I really am glad to have anyone and everyone join in the discussion, but, as always, I'll put my two cents in.


Quote
I cannot argue points as eloquently as y'all, but I am reading this thread, and I would just like to point out again (am I going to be banned from here for sounding like a broken record?)  that the following conclusion is not logical IMO:

Ennis knows that being queer is having sex with men + Ennis has sex with Jack ≠ Ennis does not think of himself as queer.

How can he not?  He is sane and rational, is he not?

Sane, yes.  Rational, no.  I still stand by keeping the equal sign in the equation.  I have known men who are just like this.  I knew a man who had sex very frequently with many partners (all male) and he's explained to me that he never thought of himself as gay until he was in his mid-thirties.  He never saw a dead Earl kind of thing, but he said anti-homosexuality was so engrained in him that he just never made the connection.  He also said he thought it would all pass someday.  He doesn't believe this anymore.  And, to the best of my knowledge he's been monogamous for at least the past 15 years, but he himself said he had sex with several hundred different men, all the while not calling himself gay.

The big theme of the film is the destructive effects of rural homophobia.  One of those destructive effects is on Ennis’ psyche and his ability to relate concept with behavior.


Quote
And he did ask Jack at the riverside "Do you ever get the feeling that people know?"  I realize that sometimes people can make excuses for their behavior to the point of believing that it is something other than what it is, (I mean self-delusional) but when it comes to something as concrete as having sex with a man over and over and over for half of one's life, this ain't no little thing that's happenin here.

I believe he's asking Jack whether people know that he's having sex with another man -- not that he's asking Jack whether people think Ennis is queer.  To Ennis, it's completely different.  To Ennis, what Ennis has with Jack is good and comfortable as long as he can differentiate it from "queer" guys who, to Ennis, are bad and deserving of punishment.


Now pull up a chair and have some beans.  Apple pie for dessert.   :laugh:

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Not everyone agrees with me on this ... so I am going to try and explain this in another way …..

I agree with everything you said in this post (but I didn't "quote" it all just to "save space."  But your examples are absolutely pitch perfect.  Couldn't disagree with a word. 

I'll bet Lureen thought she just kept getting prettier and prettier (like in her youth) as she applied more and more make-up and bleached her hair blonder and blonder.


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Well Diane, I am mightily impressed!! :)  Are you a courtroom attorney or sumpin'?  Your closing arguments have swayed me completely.  I stlll believe my mathematical equation, but I accept your explanations too...

I'll bet she put something in her beans...   :laugh:  Works every time!

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This is getting to be a strange thread. Instead of everybody debating in multiple directions, most of the posts seem to be one-on-one debates with Ruthlessly. But -- what can I say? -- here I go doing the same.

As I said, it's what I put in the beans!   :laugh:


Quote
But I'm not discounting Ennis' internalized homophobia in shaping his reaction. I'm sure, in fact, that's a factor. But I prefer to be inclusive. To me, boiling it down to JUST homophobia seems to remove Ennis from the real world. Instead of experiencing a hodge-podge of real-world feelings, a mix of emotional conflicts -- homophobia, sure, but also, and perhaps primarily, jealousy because the man he has loved for 20 years is seeing other men -- he becomes a pawn in a literary scheme rather than a three-dimensional real-life living human being (which he is, isn't he? ISN''T HE??!?).  ???

Of course he's real-world.  That's what makes him so precious.   ;D

Many factors, no doubt.  But I still stick #1 with homophobia.  With Ennis, it's always back to his fears.


Quote
This is what I mean. Is he Ennis, or is he Moby? Does he react like anybody might, upon hearing of their loved one's unfaithfulness, or does he react like a literary character fulfilling his thematic duty?

Wellllllll, he is in the film to show us something...


Quote
I think I agree with everything here. Ennis definitely does have fears about living with Jack. They're just not his only motivation in the lakeside argument. He's not having sex with Cassie simply because Jack won't mind. It's because, yes, he doesn't want to have people know he's gay AND he doesn't think Jack would mind (personally, I think Jack minds more than Ennis realizes, but ...).

Spot on!


Quote
Does yours have "Melissa"? I am disappointed that the regular soundtrack doesn't include it, the song Ennis and Cassie dance to on their date with Alma Jr. I miss that one especially, because Ennis himself picked it from the jukebox, and it seems to unconsciously reflect his feelings about Jack and Cassie ("knowing many, loving none; sharing sorrows, having fun -- but back home he'll always run ..."). Of all the pre-existing songs in the movie, that has always been my favorite (in the context of the movie, anyway).

Yes!  And I had never heard it before I first heard it on the "voters'" track... now, it's one of my favorites!  Also, the mountain song -- I can’t think of the name right off hand -- that we hear in the bus depot.  How appropriate is that one?!  WoW!

Offline ednbarby

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I'd just like to take my dead horse beater out once again and chime in that I agree that while Ennis clearly is gay, he does not see himself as gay.  I think that when he says, "Do you ever see someone looking at you and wonder if he knows?..." what he's talking about "knowing" about is not being a homosexual, but being a man who has sex with another man.  Yes, those two things are one and the same to all of us.  But not to him.  And as it's been mentioned before, Diana Ossana believes that most likely, after Jack's death, Ennis would likely become even more homophobic and self-loathing.  Tied up in his grief and guilt over Jack's death and the fact that it could have been avoided if he had done some things differently is his engrained shame, still, that he was in love and had sex regularly with another man.  And I think tied up in that, too, would be a loyalty to Jack and his memory that would never be broken.  I have trouble imagining Ennis ever being attracted to another man again because of all that.  It just doesn't seem true to his character.

No more beans!

Offline YaadPyar

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And I think tied up in that, too, would be a loyalty to Jack and his memory that would never be broken.  I have trouble imagining Ennis ever being attracted to another man again because of all that.  It just doesn't seem true to his character.


I agree completely.  And it's not so unusual or extraordinary to assume this about Ennis.  I know straight folks who find their one true love, and when that person is gone, for whatever reason, they remain completely true to the memory and love that still lives in them for their beloved. 

They don't want to date or re-marry or couple with another in the way they did with their true love.  The lack of attraction or interest in another partner isn't in any way about sexual orientation.  Their fidelity to that one person doesn't make them any more or less straight, and Ennis's committment to Jack as his one true love doesn't make him any less gay.  We are all capable of loving many different people in many different ways. 
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Offline YaadPyar

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Ennis knows that being queer is having sex with men + Ennis has sex with Jack ≠ Ennis does not think of himself as queer.

How can he not?  He is sane and rational, is he not?  And he did ask Jack at the riverside "Do you ever get the feeling that people know?"  I realize that sometimes people can make excuses for their behaviour to the point of believing that it is something other than what it is, (I mean self-delusional) but when it comes to something as concrete as having sex with a man over and over and over for half of one's life, this ain't no little thing that's happenin here.


Just one more thought...there are lots of us who have had a variety of sexual experiences, and not found ourselves so easily defined by them.  The equation of sex with a person of the same sex = gay isn't always such an easy one.  A lot of people are attracted to/fall in love with an individual, not a gender or sexual orientation.  Makes me think of Anne Heche, who had a somewhat notorious love affair with Ellen Degeneres, and is now married to a man with whom she has a child.  Which identity is more true/real?  I'm guessing both equally. 

Is she a straight woman who had a lesbian affair?  Is she a lesbian who fell in love with a man?  Is she a lesbian who's playing straight?  Does it matter...??? 

Interesting discussion.

"Vice, Virtue. It's best not to be too moral. You cheat yourself out of too much life. Aim above morality. If you apply that to life, then you're bound to live life fully." (Harold & Maude - 1971)

Offline fernly

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I'd just like to take my dead horse beater out once again and chime in that I agree that while Ennis clearly is gay, he does not see himself as gay.  I think that when he says, "Do you ever see someone looking at you and wonder if he knows?..." what he's talking about "knowing" about is not being a homosexual, but being a man who has sex with another man.  Yes, those two things are one and the same to all of us.  But not to him.  And as it's been mentioned before, Diana Ossana believes that most likely, after Jack's death, Ennis would likely become even more homophobic and self-loathing.  Tied up in his grief and guilt over Jack's death and the fact that it could have been avoided if he had done some things differently is his engrained shame, still, that he was in love and had sex regularly with another man.  And I think tied up in that, too, would be a loyalty to Jack and his memory that would never be broken.  I have trouble imagining Ennis ever being attracted to another man again because of all that.  It just doesn't seem true to his character.

Barb, to comment on just a couple of your points (and I agree with all of 'em) - I assume it wasn't by accident that you said "tied up", twice, cause how else could Ennis contain all those absolute contradictions and intense emotions other than by tying himself up in knots (and Jack called him on it before they even went up the mountain).  Heath even moved, at almost every point in the film, as if he were tied up like a hobbled horse (those heart-breaking, shuffling steps).
And I, too, just can't see Ennis being with anyone else. The "bitter longing" Annie noticed in the expression of that aging ranch hand as he watched young cowboys one night in a bar, I believe that longing on Ennis' face in later years would be not for the men he saw before him, but for the one man they were shadows of.
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Offline YaadPyar

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And I, too, just can't see Ennis being with anyone else. The "bitter longing" Annie noticed in the expression of that aging ranch hand as he watched young cowboys one night in a bar, I believe that longing on Ennis' face in later years would be not for the men he saw before him, but for the one man they were shadows of.


So beautifully put...
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Offline ednbarby

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So beautifully put...

Mmmmmm...  I agree wholeheartedly.  Yes, if Ennis ever looked twice at another man, it would only be to compare him, and unfavorably in every case, to Jack.

And it's funny you mention my use of "tied up," Lynn.  Do you know I was starting to write "bound up" and something told me "tied" worked better.  Really, "bound" does in and of itself, but I wonder if I was subconsciously thinking of "...unless you wanna sit around tyin' knots all day."  Ah - another addition to "You know you're thinking about the boys too much/often when..."
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Offline dly64

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Barb, to comment on just a couple of your points (and I agree with all of 'em) - I assume it wasn't by accident that you said "tied up", twice, cause how else could Ennis contain all those absolute contradictions and intense emotions other than by tying himself up in knots (and Jack called him on it before they even went up the mountain).  Heath even moved, at almost every point in the film, as if he were tied up like a hobbled horse (those heart-breaking, shuffling steps).
And I, too, just can't see Ennis being with anyone else. The "bitter longing" Annie noticed in the expression of that aging ranch hand as he watched young cowboys one night in a bar, I believe that longing on Ennis' face in later years would be not for the men he saw before him, but for the one man they were shadows of.

I think we are all in agreement here. Ennis loved Jack, but he did not see himself as gay. Nor do I (and from what I have read, nor do any of you) think that Ennis would end up having a relationship with another man.

Okay ... so now I am going to open another can of worms …. the whole “dozy embrace” flashback. Both the short story and the screenplay state the following:

“Nothing mars this moment for Jack, even though he knows that Ennis does not embrace him face to face because he does not want to see or feel that it is Jack he holds …. “

I have my own take on this, but before I give my dissertation, I would like to hear all of your opinions!!!  ;)
Diane

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Offline welliwont

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Okay ... so now I am going to open another can of worms …. the whole “dozy embrace” flashback. Both the short story and the screenplay state the following:

“Nothing mars this moment for Jack, even though he knows that Ennis does not embrace him face to face because he does not want to see or feel that it is Jack he holds …. “

I have my own take on this, but before I give my dissertation, I would like to hear all of your opinions!!!  ;)


OMG!  Not this one!  This is truly a can a worms to behold!  what are you tryin' to do, crash the BetterMost server? Ok, here is my, literal, superficial, non-freudian explanation.  I am sure I should be seeing waaaay deeper in this murky pond, but however.....

That sentence, the first time I read the story and became aware of its existence, was at first glance THE most WTF sentences of this story.  I hated its very existence, could not understand that after all we (Jack & Ennis & I) had been through, that sadist Annie Proulx throws that four sentence paragraph in there, just to mess everything up....

Later, that dozy embrace solidified in his memory as the single moment of artless, charmed happiness in their separate and difficult lives. Nothing marred it, even the knowledge that Ennis would not then embrace him face to face because he did not want to see nor feel that it was Jack he held. And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that. Let be, let be.

Anyway to make a long story short, I had a lot of trouble understanding the first and the second sentences, the third sentence I hated, and the fourth, well, "Let be"?  ...that's a bit vague, hmmm, let what be??  I hated it, and I was mad at AP for ever writing it and spoiling my illusion that Ennis did love Jack.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  Now, now that I have been enlightened by you fine folks, you BetterMostians you, here is what it means:  Ennis did love Jack, but he still did not believe himself to be gay, that is why he could not embrace Jack face to face.  AP's second and third lines in that paragraph are meant to be implied and to be understood by depiction of the dozy embrace.  Does that make sense?  I hope someone else can understand it, I barely can myself!! :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 11:12:05 am by JakeTwist »
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Offline ednbarby

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I agree, Diane.  And it made perfect sense to me.

I think Ennis *can* embrace Jack from the front later, as he does in the reunion and ever after, not because he now accepts that he's gay, but because he cannot contain the passion he feels for Jack any longer after that agonizing four year absense.  He still refers to it as "this thing" after the reunion because he hasn't fully come to terms with it.  But this thing - his love and his passion for him that he does not - that he cannot - give the proper words - does take hold of him whenever he sees Jack after an absense.  The fact that he can't give it the proper words doesn't make it any less powerful - in fact, it may only make it moreso.

And I think you can have a favorite memory of a loved one that, truth be told, is marred in some way by realizing that they did not quite embrace the mutual feeling the two of you shared as fully as you did.  That's what Annie is writing about there, I think.  That that's Jack's favorite memory of Ennis in spite of his knowledge that *at that particular time* Ennis did not - could not - fully embrace the idea that he was in love with Jack, even though Jack knew that to be true.  And he realizes that probably Ennis never could fully embrace it, hence the "And maybe, he thought, they'd never got much farther than that."  Then the "Let be, let be" is his telling himself not to go there - to just enjoy the memory and not let that knowledge mar it.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2006, 11:22:49 am by ednbarby »
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Offline nakymaton

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*pokes head into thread* Hi, and welcome, ruthlesslyunsentimental. Nice thread.

I think we are all in agreement here. Ennis loved Jack, but he did not see himself as gay.

I agree with this, but I just want to add that I think Katherine's out of town and away from computers at the moment, and I don't think that she agrees with this. (There are a lot of subtle differences in interpretations about what Ennis's essential conflict is -- everything from "Ennis doesn't realize he loves Jack" to "Ennis doesn't accept that he loves Jack" to "Ennis doesn't realize that he's gay" to "Ennis doesn't accept that he's gay" to "Ennis is afraid of how other people will react if they know he is gay." I think it's a spectrum of interpretations rather than two clear sides, and it's hard to pin down the source of Ennis's inner turmoil, given how he keeps it all tied up inside himself. Perhaps all of us find some open space between what we see on the screen and what we try to believe, and it's a little different for each of us.)

Now, to the question at hand: It seems a bit strange that the screenplay keeps the story's line about Ennis being unwilling to "embrace him [Jack] face to face because he does not want to see or feel that it is Jack he holds". I think ednbarby explains the story line really well.

But does it fit the movie?

It's interesting, because I think that's the line in the story that really pulls Ennis's internalized homophobia into perspective (and it's interesting that it comes into focus in one of the few moments that's purely from Jack's POV, as if Ennis doesn't even see the conflict clearly enough for the reader to understand Ennis from his own POV). But the scene doesn't seem to be played that way in the movie -- it's one of the few moments when Ennis doesn't appear to be conflicted. (I would argue that, beautiful as the 2nd tent scene is, that Ennis's face never looks as peaceful as it does during the dozy embrace. Both men are just so beautiful in the dozy embrace scene.) But perhaps the movie audience didn't need more evidence of Ennis's inner battles (whatever their source) -- Heath's performance is just so pitch-perfect; Ennis's struggles are written in perfect ambiguity in his every expression. So the movie scene seems more to remind the audience of Jack's (perhaps idealized) memories, to cast the memories of the mountain in an even more idyllic light than they were originally portrayed, to provide a contrast with the argument beside the lake, and to give us two contrasting views of Jack before he dies: young and hopeful and in love, and middle-aged and resigned... and yet still in love?

Anyway. The screenplay takes the directions directly from the story, but the implications of the lines Diane quoted are spread throughout the movie, not used directly in the dozy embrace scene. At least, that's how I view it.
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Offline louisev

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When the thread name changed to "You shut up about Ennis" I had to stop in and like so many others, read Ruthlessly's commentary with great interest!  FINALLY!  Someone has put into words what I had been trying to enunciate all along... and wrestling hopelessly against a rising tide of militant Jackaholism that blamed Ennis for the entire 20 year debacle, knowing there was something wrong with this picture.

Thank you so much!
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Offline serious crayons

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I agree with this, but I just want to add that I think Katherine's out of town and away from computers at the moment, and I don't think that she agrees with this.

Thanks, Mel, for pointing that out! You're right: I was out of town, and I don't agree with those other assertions. I just got home, and I'm so glad to see how eloquently you've expressed the ideas in your post. I agree with every word. I especially like the way you said this:

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But the scene doesn't seem to be played that way in the movie -- it's one of the few moments when Ennis doesn't appear to be conflicted. (I would argue that, beautiful as the 2nd tent scene is, that Ennis's face never looks as peaceful as it does during the dozy embrace. Both men are just so beautiful in the dozy embrace scene.) But perhaps the movie audience didn't need more evidence of Ennis's inner battles (whatever their source) -- Heath's performance is just so pitch-perfect; Ennis's struggles are written in perfect ambiguity in his every expression. So the movie scene seems more to remind the audience of Jack's (perhaps idealized) memories, to cast the memories of the mountain in an even more idyllic light than they were originally portrayed, to provide a contrast with the argument beside the lake, and to give us two contrasting views of Jack before he dies: young and hopeful and in love, and middle-aged and resigned... and yet still in love?

I agree that the sentence about embracing a man does not fit in the movie (Ennis in TS2 seems to find nothing MORE appealing than embracing a man, and the bedroom scene with Alma suggests that if anything it's a woman he doesn't like being reminded he's embracing). More controversially, I don't believe that sentence fits in the STORY. I hated that sentence when I first read it (a year or so before the movie), and thought it seemed jarring and incongruous even then. It seems out of character for Story Ennis and certainly doesn't describe his behavior in the reunion scene. Frankly, I think it's a flaw in the story. When I've said that before, others have posed counterarguments that I find only semi-convincing (for example, that Ennis matures as time goes on). Barb's idea that it is a metaphor for

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a favorite memory of a loved one that, truth be told, is marred in some way by realizing that they did not quite embrace the mutual feeling the two of you shared as fully as you did.

is interesting, and makes some sense. Except that I believe Ennis embraced the mutual feeling as much as Jack did (if, perhaps, in a different way). Anyway, even great writers like Annie Proulx are fallible, and I think this is an example of that.

Back to why I don't agree that Ennis is completely oblivious to his homosexuality. I think he's loyal to Jack because he loves(d) Jack. But I don't think Jack is the only man he's ever found attractive. I think he has long realized that he's attracted to men. That's what makes his upbringing so damaging, what with his bigoted dad and the spectre of Earl sending the message that he literally needs to fear for his life if he ever gives any sign of it. That's one reason, if not the only one, that he's so shy and awkward and messed up. And his internalized homophobia MORE convincing, to me, than it would if he never thought his dad's bigotry had anything to do with him.

Someone has put into words what I had been trying to enunciate all along... and wrestling hopelessly against a rising tide of militant Jackaholism that blamed Ennis for the entire 20 year debacle, knowing there was something wrong with this picture.

Louisev, I know how you feel.

I'll bet Lureen thought she just kept getting prettier and prettier (like in her youth) as she applied more and more make-up and bleached her hair blonder and blonder.

Hmmm ... if she really thought she was getting prettier and prettier, she'd be a very unusual middle-aged woman. Same with Diane's example of the person who gets really overweight but continues to see him/herself as thin. If you ask me, that level of denial in the case of aging and weight gain is extremely rare. I can say this with some authority because I'm a woman in her 40s who -- though of average build -- is not entirely unfamiliar with weight and body-image issues.

Now I'm willing to believe that acknowledging one's homosexuality is a special case -- if only because there I have no authoritative way of arguing otherwise. But it still doesn't fit with what I see of Ennis' behavior and his background.

Offline dly64

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I agree with this, but I just want to add that I think Katherine's out of town and away from computers at the moment, and I don't think that she agrees with this. (There are a lot of subtle differences in interpretations about what Ennis's essential conflict is -- everything from "Ennis doesn't realize he loves Jack" to "Ennis doesn't accept that he loves Jack" to "Ennis doesn't realize that he's gay" to "Ennis doesn't accept that he's gay" to "Ennis is afraid of how other people will react if they know he is gay." I think it's a spectrum of interpretations rather than two clear sides, and it's hard to pin down the source of Ennis's inner turmoil, given how he keeps it all tied up inside himself. Perhaps all of us find some open space between what we see on the screen and what we try to believe, and it's a little different for each of us.)

I agree completely with what you are saying. (BTW – I am sure you are correct … I think Katherine’s opinion does vary some from what was stated previously …  I think I posed the additional question because there was a lot of agreement ….  of  course we’ll have to see what Ruthless says … this is her thread, after all!)

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Now, to the question at hand: It seems a bit strange that the screenplay keeps the story's line about Ennis being unwilling to "embrace him [Jack] face to face because he does not want to see or feel that it is Jack he holds". I think ednbarby explains the story line really well.

It's interesting, because I think that's the line in the story that really pulls Ennis's internalized homophobia into perspective (and it's interesting that it comes into focus in one of the few moments that's purely from Jack's POV, as if Ennis doesn't even see the conflict clearly enough for the reader to understand Ennis from his own POV). But the scene doesn't seem to be played that way in the movie -- it's one of the few moments when Ennis doesn't appear to be conflicted. (I would argue that, beautiful as the 2nd tent scene is, that Ennis's face never looks as peaceful as it does during the dozy embrace. Both men are just so beautiful in the dozy embrace scene.) But perhaps the movie audience didn't need more evidence of Ennis's inner battles (whatever their source) -- Heath's performance is just so pitch-perfect; Ennis's struggles are written in perfect ambiguity in his every expression. So the movie scene seems more to remind the audience of Jack's (perhaps idealized) memories, to cast the memories of the mountain in an even more idyllic light than they were originally portrayed, to provide a contrast with the argument beside the lake, and to give us two contrasting views of Jack before he dies: young and hopeful and in love, and middle-aged and resigned... and yet still in love?

Anyway, the screenplay takes the directions directly from the story, but the implications of the lines Diane quoted are spread throughout the movie, not used directly in the dozy embrace scene. At least, that's how I view it.

You have stated this beautifully and I agree with most of what you say. When I first saw the film (before reading the short story or the screenplay) I thought the flashback was used as a way to epitomize their love for each other … a remembrance of an idyllic time.  After having read the lines (re: Ennis’ inability to embrace Jack face to face) I have to admit I was confused. I have heard many people say that the scene does not fit in the film at all. By that point in the story, Jack and Ennis had gone through so much in their relationship. Ennis was not the same person that he was on BBM. In contrast, Ennis does embrace Jack numerous times (face to face). And even in the flashback scene, Ennis is looking at Jack with affection. I reconcile this by saying that the “face to face” issue is not to be taken literally, but figuratively. I have used this argument before and I can’t say that it has been a popular view. However, I think it fits. It is evident that Ennis can physically look at Jack face to face. He can hold him in his arms. He can kiss him tenderly. What Ennis cannot face, however, is the realization that it is a man he loves.

 
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…. two contrasting views of Jack before he dies: young and hopeful and in love, and middle-aged and resigned... and yet still in love?

I pulled out this line again because I think it is worth discussing. At the lake scene, it is obvious that Jack is resigned to the fact that he will never have the life with Ennis that he craved. After the 14 hours of driving to see Ennis following his divorce …   Jack knew his dream would never be realized. When Jack says, “All this time and you ain’t find nobody else to marry?”  … it illustrates Jack’s resignation. Despite this, however, I still contend that Jack loved Ennis as much as he always had … that had not diminished. Even though Jack was seeking sexual fulfillment elsewhere (Mexico, Randall), he still had the emotional commitment to Ennis (one that he, at times, wished he could “quit”).  Even if Jack would have lived with Randall, he would have still gone on his “fishing trips” with Ennis. And should Ennis change his mind and want to live with Jack … Randall would be gone in a New York minute. To Jack, Randall and Mexico were all about a hard dick, period. Ennis was his one-in-a-lifetime love. And even though he may have tried “shaking” (i.e. break it off with ..) Ennis, he knew he couldn’t … just as Ennis could not “shake” Jack.
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Offline nakymaton

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What Ennis cannot face, however, is the realization that it is a man he loves.

Yes, I agree that the line is the story is more metaphor than reality. (Though the 2nd tent scene isn't in the story, and it's possible that it was literally true of story-Ennis before the reunion kiss.) I don't know if "realization" is the best word... I think it's very possible that Katherine is right, that Ennis knew from early on that he was attracted to men. But I think that that knowledge wasn't the beautiful, joyful thing that it should rightly be for any person who experiences a love as beautiful as that between Ennis and Jack. It was the source of a great deal of inner conflict for Ennis, because in all other respects he genuinely belonged to a deeply conservative, homophobic culture. So it wasn't so much that Ennis couldn't literally embrace Jack face-to-face... but Ennis couldn't embrace that part of himself. He might know about it, but he couldn't embrace it.

And that's what makes the story so painful and powerful, that deeply rooted inner conflict. It's what makes me want to wave a magic wand or pull out my One Ring and tell the whole damn world to just change, already.

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Despite this, however, I still contend that Jack loved Ennis as much as he always had … that had not diminished.

I agree with this, too. But I left the question mark, because that's one of the things that I try to believe, not one of the things that I can clearly know.

PS: Katherine, I think that what's out of character in the story is actually part of the conversation in the Motel Siesta, where Ennis and Jack discuss where other people go if this happens to them. That sure reads like an acknowledgement that they're like those people in Denver... but it reads to me like Annie Proulx's commentary on Wyoming, not like something that Ennis would acknowledge, even in a context where it's clear that moving to Denver simply isn't an option he'll accept.

But, you know, open space and all that...
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Offline dly64

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Thanks, Mel, for pointing that out! You're right: I was out of town, and I don't agree with those other assertions.

Katherine – you posted this note while I was writing mine. I’m so glad you’re home! It’s no fun being in consensus!  ;D(kidding!!!)

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Back to why I don't agree that Ennis is completely oblivious to his homosexuality. I think he's loyal to Jack because he loves(d) Jack. But I don't think Jack is the only man he's ever found attractive. I think he has long realized that he's attracted to men. That's what makes his upbringing so damaging, what with his bigoted dad and the spectre of Earl sending the message that he literally needs to fear for his life if he ever gives any sign of it. That's one reason, if not the only one, that he's so shy and awkward and messed up. And his internalized homophobia MORE convincing, to me, than it would if he never thought his dad's bigotry had anything to do with him.

Now I'm willing to believe that acknowledging one's homosexuality is a special case -- if only because there I have no authoritative way of arguing otherwise. But it still doesn't fit with what I see of Ennis' behavior and his background.

What you are saying is that Ennis is in denial. I gave a few examples that you did not buy  … so let me give a few different examples, because I think this does fit in to what we know about Ennis …

A woman lives in the burbs, is a stay-at-home mom, husband is a doctor. She has been raised in a God-fearing home and has been taught to do all the right things. She becomes overly stressed and gets an Rx for Xanax (which is a highly addicting drug). It gets to the point where she is taking more pills than prescribed and can’t go a day without them. She starts ordering them over the internet to prevent withdrawals. Okay …. to you and me she is a drug addict. To her, drug addicts use illegal drugs. They live on the street. They are dirty and smell. She uses Xanax, which she can get from a “legitimate” source. She lives in a beautiful house. She is always dressed perfectly and never has a hair out of place (and would certainly never smell). Besides that, she was taught that “good Christian girls” never take drugs. That’s a “bad thing”. So for her to come to the conclusion that she is a drug addict is not even in her realm of comprehension. 

Now let’s look at Ennis … he was taught homosexuality was a “bad thing”. Although it is not explicitly stated, Ennis more than likely had stereotypes of what a homosexual would look like or act like. Ennis did not fit those stereotypes. Ennis had sex with women …. he contended that he liked having sex with women (albeit having sex with Jack was way better).  Ennis didn’t have multiple partners. He did not desire any other man (that he could actually acknowledge). Ennis could not admit that he was a homosexual. If anything, after Jack died, he became even more homophobic and withdrawn. It would not fit Ennis’ frame of reference to admit that he was homosexual. He loved Jack, yes. But he did not understand why it was Jack he loved. It was a surprise to him … it was an anomaly. If Jack wouldn’t have come into his life, I am not convinced he would have ever had a homosexual affair, IMO.
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Offline serious crayons

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But I think that that knowledge wasn't the beautiful, joyful thing that it should rightly be for any person who experiences a love as beautiful as that between Ennis and Jack. It was the source of a great deal of inner conflict for Ennis, because in all other respects he genuinely belonged to a deeply conservative, homophobic culture. So it wasn't so much that Ennis couldn't literally embrace Jack face-to-face... but Ennis couldn't embrace that part of himself.

Mel, I completely agree with this. I do think he realized it, but definitely not in any kind of beautiful or joyful way.

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PS: Katherine, I think that what's out of character in the story is actually part of the conversation in the Motel Siesta, where Ennis and Jack discuss where other people go if this happens to them. That sure reads like an acknowledgement that they're like those people in Denver... but it reads to me like Annie Proulx's commentary on Wyoming, not like something that Ennis would acknowledge, even in a context where it's clear that moving to Denver simply isn't an option he'll accept.

Hmm, I'll have to ponder that a bit. Personally, that line never bothered me. I think of Story Ennis as being more willing than Movie Ennis to admit that he's like those people in Denver -- that is, he likes having sex with men, or at least a particular man. And he figures that kind of thing would be more accepted in a big city, I guess just as he somehow knows what they've got in Mexico. Not that it would seem like a realistic option for him to go there.

Of course, speculating on what people do in that situation would be out of character for Movie Ennis. Because he wouldn't want to admit that he's in that category (even if, deep down, he knows he is).

Katherine – you posted this note while I was writing mine. I’m so glad you’re home! It’s no fun being in consensus!  ;D(kidding!!!)

Thanks, Diane! And I agree, debate is fun.

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A woman lives in the burbs, is a stay-at-home mom, husband is a doctor. She has been raised in a God-fearing home and has been taught to do all the right things. ... Besides that, she was taught that “good Christian girls” never take drugs. That’s a “bad thing”. So for her to come to the conclusion that she is a drug addict is not even in her realm of comprehension. 

I see what you're saying, and I agree that's a better analogy. It's true that Ennis doesn't see himself as queer in terms of all the stereotypes he might attach to that label -- just as the woman you describe doesn't see herself as a "drug addict" per se.  Would the woman openly take her Xanax in front of god and everyone with no hesitation because she doesn't see herself as fitting the drug addict profile? Or would she be worried that people in town and people on the pavement would "know" that she's taking too many? If it's the latter, then she's a pretty good comparison to Ennis ... neither might use the label they despise to describe their own behavior, yet at some level they realize their behavior is not "normal." Maybe the difference between acknowledging that and ACKNOWLEDGING THAT comes down to that old "space between what he knew and what he tried to believe," that Mel mentions in her excellent thread.

One difference, though, is that probably the woman never took Xanax, maybe was never even tempted to take Xanax, before, well, she started taking Xanax. Can we be as certain that Ennis never felt attracted to any men before Jack?

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If Jack wouldn’t have come into his life, I am not convinced he would have ever had a homosexual affair, IMO.

I'm with you here. But that doesn't mean he wouldn't feel the attraction.

Offline welliwont

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Here is a post courtesy of Diane, (hope you don't mind that I cropped it and moved it over here Diane...   ;).  I thought it might be fine grist for the mill y'all got goin' here...


Ossana: .... But I do think that Ennis knows that people probably know that he’s homosexual...

http://www.advocate.com/currentstory1_w.asp?id=25277&page=



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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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But I don't think Jack is the only man he's ever found attractive. I think he has long realized that he's attracted to men. That's what makes his upbringing so damaging, what with his bigoted dad and the spectre of Earl sending the message that he literally needs to fear for his life if he ever gives any sign of it. That's one reason, if not the only one, that he's so shy and awkward and messed up. And his internalized homophobia MORE convincing, to me, than it would if he never thought his dad's bigotry had anything to do with him.

I agree completely with this.  And I believe that a strong conclusion can be drawn from what you said here.  It's the image of Earl and the message from his father that messed him up so much.  It's because of just how strong those two messages were in his life that I believe that he could never make the connection that he was one of those "queers."  He fought making that connection with every fiber of his being.  Yet, he loved Jack and had sex with him.  Thus, his confusion, his being messed up, was exacerbated to the point that every fiber of his being just couldn’t stand it no more.

 
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But it still doesn't fit with what I see of Ennis' behavior and his background.

It's funny -- to me, this is all I see ... a complete fit with his behavior and background. 



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... of  course we’ll have to see what Ruthless says …

And as you must know by now, the wait won't be long. 

I really hope people don’t mind me jumping in and offering my two cents on just about every post, but I really enjoy the back-and-forth -- especially with people who really have an opinion and aren't afraid to argue it.


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I reconcile this by saying that the “face to face” issue is not to be taken literally, but figuratively. I have used this argument before and I can’t say that it has been a popular view. However, I think it fits. It is evident that Ennis can physically look at Jack face to face. He can hold him in his arms. He can kiss him tenderly. What Ennis cannot face, however, is the realization that it is a man he loves.

I think this is a great way of putting it! 

I hope this doesn’t sound haughty, but I consider myself to be one of the lucky few -- one of the lucky few who saw the film before reading the short story.  All I had heard of Brokeback Mountain was that it was a gay cowboy love story.  I fully expected to see two cowboys fall in love, shack up, have a squabble or two -- but overcome them -- and have a big problem with some bad dude in town during the last 1/2 hour, then they would overcome that problem and the whole town would welcome them and support them.  Everyone lives happily ever after.  When the screen faded to black and I saw the words "Directed by Ang Lee," I was so numb I couldn't move.  I couldn't speak.  I had no idea what the hell I had just witnessed -- what I had just been a part of.  To this day I still cannot adequately describe what this film has done to me.

So, I watched it again.  And again... and again.  I'm right around 140 or 150 viewings right now.

I didn’t read the short story until somewhere around maybe 75 or 80 viewings.  I'm glad I didn't.  Sometimes the published story is better than the film and the film just gives a person images to connect with what one reads in the better short story.  Sometimes, it’s the other way around.  I look at Brokeback Mountain as the latter.  Proulx did a fine job, no doubt.  But the film so far surpasses the very thin story and gives such an enormous amount of weight to it, that while I can read the short story and put the film into it, I cannot watch the film and put the short story into the film.  There are a few instances where something in the short story has made me look at motivations in the film a little differently, but there are so many times that the film gives a completely different spin that I think it's just best to put the book aside and go with what Lee gave us.  (In a way, it's like Trekkers who try to reconcile Star Trek technology with our modern understanding of physics.  Not a really good fit.)

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When Jack says, “All this time and you ain’t find nobody else to marry?”  … it illustrates Jack’s resignation. Despite this, however, I still contend that Jack loved Ennis as much as he always had … that had not diminished. Even though Jack was seeking sexual fulfillment elsewhere (Mexico, Randall), he still had the emotional commitment to Ennis (one that he, at times, wished he could “quit”)."

I agree complexly with this.  I also take this line as a foreshadowing of the closet scene.  Here, Jack is subtextually saying "All this time and you haven’t figured yourself out yet?"  Then Ennis goes to the closet.  He FINDS the shirts.  "All this time and you haven’t found out the truth about yourself and our relationship?  Well, here's these two shirts to help you."  I can almost hear Jack saying, "You dumbass mule."


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Even if Jack would have lived with Randall, he would have still gone on his “fishing trips” with Ennis.

I cannot disagree with this more strongly.  After Jack saw, vis-à-vis Ennis' breakdown, the toll that their relationship and Ennis' inability to cope with it had taken on Ennis, it would have been utterly cruel of Jack to continue their relationship.  It is not love to see the person you love in utter despair and turmoil and then to say "Oh, well, at least I can get a couple of high-altitude fucks out of the guy every year."  I know that you didn’t mean to say anything like that.  But, it is precisely because Jack loved Ennis so much that Jack had to let Ennis go. 

Because Ennis sent the final postcard, I believe that Jack had not yet gotten around to closing things up with Ennis, and I’m not sure how he would have done it.  But I am sure of one thing.  Jack would have had to have gotten a final, definite answer from Ennis one way or the other.  And if Ennis' answer was the same as always, Jack would have had to have let him go.  He loved him that much.

Jack said he wished he knew how to quit Ennis.  In the most poignant irony of the entire film, Ennis showed him how.


(Please note that "quit" does NOT mean "stop loving."  It means stopping the pain.  This is love and that was Jack.)

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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… so let me give a few different examples, because I think this does fit in to what we know about Ennis …

A woman lives in the burbs, ...

Now let’s look at Ennis … he was taught homosexuality was a “bad thing”. ...

I agree 100%.  Beautiful example. 


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If Jack wouldn’t have come into his life, I am not convinced he would have ever had a homosexual affair, IMO.

And IMHO too.  I believe that Ennis needed Jack to take the lead.  And as their relationship developed on the mountain, pre-FNIT, Ennis was perkily going along with Jack's lead.  But without someone to grab Ennis' hand and put it "where the moon don’t shine," I believe Ennis would never have made a first move.  Ever.



ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I see what you're saying, and I agree that's a better analogy. It's true that Ennis doesn't see himself as queer in terms of all the stereotypes he might attach to that label -- just as the woman you describe doesn't see herself as a "drug addict" per se.  Would the woman openly take her Xanax in front of god and everyone with no hesitation because she doesn't see herself as fitting the drug addict profile? Or would she be worried that people in town and people on the pavement would "know" that she's taking too many? If it's the latter, then she's a pretty good comparison to Ennis ... neither might use the label they despise to describe their own behavior, yet at some level they realize their behavior is not "normal."

I think this is the entire key point.  Very well stated (summed up).

Offline serious crayons

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But the film so far surpasses the very thin story and gives such an enormous amount of weight to it, that while I can read the short story and put the film into it, I cannot watch the film and put the short story into the film.  There are a few instances where something in the short story has made me look at motivations in the film a little differently, but there are so many times that the film gives a completely different spin that I think it's just best to put the book aside and go with what Lee gave us.

I agree with this completely. The film takes the skeleton of the story and adds flesh and dimension and meaning and detail. As Annie Proulx herself has said, it delves deeper into characters -- we've seen that Jack, to some extent, and Ennis, to a huge extent, are like two different people in the story and film. Most importantly, the transition from story to film turns BBM from a tale about how society's prejudices can warp people's lives (by making Ennis afraid to live with Jack) to one about how society's prejudices can warp people's souls (by making Ennis afraid to love Jack, and himself).

That's why, like you, I normally don't like using the story as a text for deciphering the film. (Though sometimes, if there's something I like better in the story, I pretend it exists in the film. For example, I prefer to think that "one thing never changed: the brilliant charge of their infrequent couplings," to the subdued tone of that final tent scene.

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But, it is precisely because Jack loved Ennis so much that Jack had to let Ennis go. ...  Jack said he wished he knew how to quit Ennis.  In the most poignant irony of the entire film, Ennis showed him how.

Now, this makes sense, and I can't necessarily argue against it, but I find it ... well, sort of ruthlessly unsentimental. Or at least ruthlessly poignant. Anyway, for me, that possibility is hard to face.

BUT this ...

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Because Ennis sent the final postcard, I believe that Jack had not yet gotten around to closing things up with Ennis, and I’m not sure how he would have done it. ... Jack would have had to have gotten a final, definite answer from Ennis one way or the other.  And if Ennis' answer was the same as always

... softens the harshness. Because I think that, in view of Ennis' breaking up with Cassie and his epiphany in the pie scene, Ennis' answer might NOT have been the same as always.

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If it's the latter, then she's a pretty good comparison to Ennis ... neither might use the label they despise to describe their own behavior, yet at some level they realize their behavior is not "normal."

I think this is the entire key point.  Very well stated (summed up).

Well, if you agree on that, maybe we're not so diametrically opposed on the issue of Ennis' acknowledgment. Maybe it's not so much a black-or-white matter of, he fully acknowledges vs. he doesn't acknowledge. Maybe it's more a matter of degree.

I'm willing to believe that Ennis doesn't use the dreaded Q-word to describe himself, just as he doesn't use the L-word to describe his relationship with Jack. But I do think he notices that his own inclinations and behavior are the kind of thing his father taught him was a no-no, just as I think he notices that he has all the intense feelings toward Jack that most of us would describe with the word "love."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Most importantly, the transition from story to film turns BBM from a tale about how society's prejudices can warp people's lives (by making Ennis afraid to live with Jack) to one about how society's prejudices can warp people's souls (by making Ennis afraid to love Jack, and himself).

I like this!  Well, no, I don't like this... it's sad and heartbreaking... but I like how you stated it.


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Now, this makes sense, and I can't necessarily argue against it, but I find it ... well, sort of ruthlessly unsentimental. Or at least ruthlessly poignant. Anyway, for me, that possibility is hard to face.

To me, it's all about what is love?  Which is love -- tending to the pain in your loved one, or ignoring it and continuing as if it's not there?  Jack had to tend to it.  Just what the result of that would be would be Ennis' decision.  If he would choose to live with Jack (slight chance), OK; but, if not (bigger probability), then Jack would have to let Ennis go.  Anything else would be unforgivable.


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in view of Ennis' breaking up with Cassie and his epiphany in the pie scene, Ennis' answer might NOT have been the same as always.
 

I can go with this.  But, his epiphany, if ever complete, was not completed until at least the "love" conversation with Jr. -- too late.


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Well, if you agree on that, maybe we're not so diametrically opposed on the issue of Ennis' acknowledgment. Maybe it's not so much a black-or-white matter of, he fully acknowledges vs. he doesn't acknowledge. Maybe it's more a matter of degree.

It's all in how one cooks one's beans.


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I'm willing to believe that Ennis doesn't use the dreaded Q-word to describe himself, just as he doesn't use the L-word to describe his relationship with Jack. But I do think he notices that his own inclinations and behavior are the kind of thing his father taught him was a no-no, just as I think he notices that he has all the intense feelings toward Jack that most of us would describe with the word "love."

Absolutely.  This is exactly how I see it.



Offline dly64

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I agree with this completely. The film takes the skeleton of the story and adds flesh and dimension and meaning and detail. As Annie Proulx herself has said, it delves deeper into characters -- we've seen that Jack, to some extent, and Ennis, to a huge extent, are like two different people in the story and film. Most importantly, the transition from story to film turns BBM from a tale about how society's prejudices can warp people's lives (by making Ennis afraid to live with Jack) to one about how society's prejudices can warp people's souls (by making Ennis afraid to love Jack, and himself).

That's why, like you, I normally don't like using the story as a text for deciphering the film. (Though sometimes, if there's something I like better in the story, I pretend it exists in the film. For example, I prefer to think that "one thing never changed: the brilliant charge of their infrequent couplings," to the subdued tone of that final tent scene.

Well, if you agree on that, maybe we're not so diametrically opposed on the issue of Ennis' acknowledgment. Maybe it's not so much a black-or-white matter of, he fully acknowledges vs. he doesn't acknowledge. Maybe it's more a matter of degree.

I'm willing to believe that Ennis doesn't use the dreaded Q-word to describe himself, just as he doesn't use the L-word to describe his relationship with Jack. But I do think he notices that his own inclinations and behavior are the kind of thing his father taught him was a no-no, just as I think he notices that he has all the intense feelings toward Jack that most of us would describe with the word "love."

OMG! We can’t all be agreeing, can we? That is how I see the situation with Ennis … it doesn’t mean he isn’t gay. It doesn’t mean he isn’t attracted to men. What it does mean is that Ennis did not see himself as a homosexual. He also would not be able to acknowledge the fact that he was attracted to men. IMO, he was able to give himself to Jack because of the place …. BBM …. where they had the freedom to be themselves without societal pressures and expectations. I think Ennis did become aware that he loved Jack at the lake scene. Prior to that, Ennis knew he had deep feelings for Jack, but was unable to completely accept or acknowledge that those feelings were, indeed, love.
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

Offline serious crayons

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I  can go with this.  But, his epiphany, if ever complete, was not completed until at least the "love" conversation with Jr. -- too late.

Oh, well I see his epiphany as being complete before that. That conversation is a reflection of his epiphany, in my view.

OMG! We can’t all be agreeing, can we? ... What it does mean is that Ennis did not see himself as a homosexual. He also would not be able to acknowledge the fact that he was attracted to men. IMO, he was able to give himself to Jack because of the place …. BBM …. where they had the freedom to be themselves without societal pressures and expectations. I think Ennis did become aware that he loved Jack at the lake scene. Prior to that, Ennis knew he had deep feelings for Jack, but was unable to completely accept or acknowledge that those feelings were, indeed, love.

Don't worry, Diane, we still don't agree!  :) I DO think he acknowledges that he's attracted to men. To go back to the earlier example, the Xanax addict may not label herself a quote-unquote drug addict, but she certainly acknowledges that she takes Xanax, even if she wishes she didn't!

As for Ennis' realization that he loves Jack, I think that occurs back on Brokeback. Again, he may not use that label. Maybe the Xanax addict has some other name for it than, "I am addicted to Xanax." But she knows how much she wants it. (Not to imply that either attraction to men or love are bad habits!)

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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OMG! We can’t all be agreeing, can we? That is how I see the situation with Ennis … it doesn’t mean he isn’t gay. It doesn’t mean he isn’t attracted to men. What it does mean is that Ennis did not see himself as a homosexual. He also would not be able to acknowledge the fact that he was attracted to men. IMO, he was able to give himself to Jack because of the place …. BBM …. where they had the freedom to be themselves without societal pressures and expectations. I think Ennis did become aware that he loved Jack at the lake scene. Prior to that, Ennis knew he had deep feelings for Jack, but was unable to completely accept or acknowledge that those feelings were, indeed, love.

I like everything you wrote.  It all makes sense to me.  Except, of course, for the "become aware that he loved Jack" part.  I still think he just began the learning curve here.  He admits that he's the way he is because of Jack.  I think we all know that it's because of his love for Jack, and I think Jack would have even figured it that way.  But I still think Ennis has not quite made the connection.  I think he's saying it to Jack as an accusation, because of his fears.  I believe that's the reason for the breakdown.  If he did make that connection at that time, then he'd have sorted out the entire mess that was himself.  It's his inability to make that connection that constitutes his messed-up self.  And he can’t make that connection because of his fears.

That's why it took Cassie to give him his first insight that it was love.  Lureen dittoed this.  Mr. Twist dittoed this.  And, his conversations with Lureen and the Twists gave him clues that he could step past his fear.  So, finally, in the shirt scene, he has just stepped past his fears a bit AND he's armed with the clues from others that it really was love, and so, in Jack's closet he makes the final connection.

However, this is just my take and I’m willing to listen.  I think that if Ennis had made the connection at the final lake scene, he would have had to have had some clues beyond just what he'd been going through before the final lake scene.  Do you find any clues that would have helped him make the connection at the final lake scene?  I may be missing the forest for the trees.




ruthlesslyunsentimental

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As for Ennis' realization that he loves Jack, I think that occurs back on Brokeback. Again, he may not use that label. Maybe the Xanax addict has some other name for it than, "I am addicted to Xanax." But she knows how much she wants it. (Not to imply that either attraction to men or love are bad habits!)

I think the distinction you make here is, for me, the distinction between "my" view and "your" view, which I'm feeling are both really "our" view.  He had love for Jack, he expressed it, but he couldn't call it that.  Alcoholics know they drink, they know they like to drink, but the biggest part of the recovery process is admitting they have a problem.  There's a disconnect between what they do, what they know they like, and how they view it.  This is why interventions are so often necessary.  Everyone else sees the problem and calls it a problem and they perform an intervention to get the alcoholic to make the same connection that they all have already made.



Offline dly64

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I like everything you wrote.  It all makes sense to me.  Except, of course, for the "become aware that he loved Jack" part.  I still think he just began the learning curve here.  He admits that he's the way he is because of Jack.  I think we all know that it's because of his love for Jack, and I think Jack would have even figured it that way.  But I still think Ennis has not quite made the connection.  I think he's saying it to Jack as an accusation, because of his fears.  I believe that's the reason for the breakdown.  If he did make that connection at that time, then he'd have sorted out the entire mess that was himself.  It's his inability to make that connection that constitutes his messed-up self.  And he can’t make that connection because of his fears.

I think we are mostly on the same page but I do differ from you in two ways:
1.   When Ennis says to Jack, “It’s because of you, Jack, that I’m this way. I’m nothin’ … I’m nowhere …” (IMO) he is blaming Jack for the whole relationship … i.e. in Ennis’ mind, at that moment, he believes that, if not for Jack, he would be living a “normal” life.
2.   When Ennis breaks down, he knows that he can hardly handle this secret life. By the same token, he knows that he can’t have a life without Jack. Does that mean he would say, “I love you, Jack …”  No. However, when Ennis left, he did not anticipate that it would be their last time together.
What the bus stop scene, with Cassie, exemplifies is Ennis’ realization that he cannot pretend to love anyone other than Jack This epiphany occurs prior to  seeing Cassie (as evidenced by Ennis breaking off contact with Cassie ).

Don't worry, Diane, we still don't agree!  :) I DO think he acknowledges that he's attracted to men. To go back to the earlier example, the Xanax addict may not label herself a quote-unquote drug addict, but she certainly acknowledges that she takes Xanax, even if she wishes she didn't!

As for Ennis' realization that he loves Jack, I think that occurs back on Brokeback. Again, he may not use that label. Maybe the Xanax addict has some other name for it than, "I am addicted to Xanax." But she knows how much she wants it. (Not to imply that either attraction to men or love are bad habits!)

Katherine …. I knew it would be too wild if we all agreed!   ;) I think we do have two fundamental differences:
1.   The timing as to when Ennis could acknowledge that he loved Jack; and
2.   If/ when Ennis admits his attraction to men.
IMO, Ennis could never face the reality of his attraction to men. Does that mean he was not attracted to men? No … However, there is a distinction between acknowledging his attraction and being in denial about it. I, personally, am in the “denial” camp.  Maybe your point is that, privately, Ennis understands he desires men vs. women. In my example, the woman would realize she craves Xanax even though publicly she would not admit it. In that case, I see your point.  But even if a person craves or desires something or someone doesn’t mean that s/he can admit or accept it. Therefore, s/he in denial … even if everything s/he does is counterpoint to what they believe.

Regarding Ennis’ realization that he loved Jack …. I am in Ruthless’ camp that it did not occur until post mountain. Ennis was stifled by his fear … fear of his feelings … fear of retribution. Again … the key word … :”denial”.  What Ennis does understand is that he has deep feelings for Jack … ones that he finds terrifying. He does love Jack. However, he can not bring himself to admit that those feelings are, indeed, love.
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ruthlesslyunsentimental

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I think we are mostly on the same page but I do differ from you in two ways:
1.   When Ennis says to Jack, “It’s because of you, Jack, that I’m this way. I’m nothin’ … I’m nowhere …” (IMO) he is blaming Jack for the whole relationship … i.e. in Ennis’ mind, at that moment, he believes that, if not for Jack, he would be living a “normal” life.
2.   When Ennis breaks down, he knows that he can hardly handle this secret life. By the same token, he knows that he can’t have a life without Jack. Does that mean he would say, “I love you, Jack …”  No.

I agree completely with everything up to here.


Quote
However, when Ennis left, he did not anticipate that it would be their last time together.

Not 100% on this one, but doesn’t really matter... I don't think so, anyway.


Quote
What the bus stop scene, with Cassie, exemplifies is Ennis’ realization that he cannot pretend to love anyone other than Jack This epiphany occurs prior to  seeing Cassie (as evidenced by Ennis breaking off contact with Cassie ).

But then Cassie could have just walked in, seen him, and said to her new boyfriend "Oh, there's the guy who dumped me... humpff" and walked off.  We'd have gotten the very same message.  But, she sat down and they talked.  And what's her most important line? "Girls don't don’t fall in love with fun."  This is the line that reflects right back to the prior scene when Ennis described their relationship in terms of a good time.  Cassie describing a relationship, Ennis describing a relationship.  This is what is so key here.  He just described his relationship with Jack and now Cassie shows him something different to think about.  She woke Ennis up and helped him to realize that he had been defining his relationship with Jack in the wrong terms.  From the final lake scene on, it's just a series of shots of Ennis waking up... to the fact that Jack actually loved Ennis.


Quote
Regarding Ennis’ realization that he loved Jack …. I am in Ruthless’ camp that it did not occur until post mountain. Ennis was stifled by his fear … fear of his feelings … fear of retribution. Again … the key word … :”denial”.  What Ennis does understand is that he has deep feelings for Jack … ones that he finds terrifying. He does love Jack. However, he can not bring himself to admit that those feelings are, indeed, love.

This is definitely the camp I’m in.  I guess I can understand if other people are in a slightly different camp, but we've got the better camp -- after all, Don Wroe's cabin is in our camp!    ;)    :laugh:

Offline serious crayons

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We keep tossing around vague words like "know" "acknowledge" and "admit," think we all agree and get all excited, then keep talking and find out we actually don't. So maybe what we need to do is break it down. I'll suggest some subcategories and say whether, IMO, they apply. Others can write in their own views, or substitute other subcategories (or, of course, ignore the exercise alltogether).

Regarding his homosexuality, would Ennis

-- Describe himself that way to others? Never.
-- Use the word "queer" or "homosexual" to describe himself to himself? Early on in the movie, no. By the end, probably yes.
-- Reluctantly in his heart of hearts consider the possibility that those words might apply to him? Yes, probably, the whole time.
-- Notice he's attracted to men? Yes, since he was a kid, though he has learned to hide or repress it.
-- Wish he weren't? Sure.
-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a gay relationship? Yes, sort of.
-- Believe it's a huge exception to the rule, that he's not "really" gay and otherwise would be attracted only to women? No.
-- Ever have been involved with another man if not for Jack? Probably not.
-- Blame Jack for him (Ennis) being gay? No.
-- Blame Jack for keeping him nothin and nowhere? Not really.
-- Blame his feelings for Jack for keeping him from leading a normal life? Yes.
-- Wish he had never gotten involved with Jack in the first place? No way.

Regarding love, does Ennis

-- Use that word when talking to Jack? No, obviously.
-- Use that word when talking to himself? No.
-- Notice that he exhibits the feelings and longings and behavior that the rest of us would associate with the word "love"? Yes.
-- Recognize only after the pie scene that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love? Hmm ... maybe. (I'm a little on the fence about this, and open -- believe it or not -- to persuasion.)
-- Not recognize it until his conversation with Alma Jr.? No, I think he recognizes in the closet at the very latest.
-- Recognize only in the end that, given that he and Jack were in love, that he should have made honoring that love his first priority, rather than being afraid to do so? Absolutely.


ruthlesslyunsentimental

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We keep tossing around vague words like "know" "acknowledge" and "admit," think we all agree and get all excited, then keep talking and find out we actually don't. So maybe what we need to do is break it down. I'll suggest some subcategories and say whether, IMO, they apply. Others can write in their own views, or substitute other subcategories (or, of course, ignore the exercise alltogether).

I’ll play.   :laugh:


Quote
Regarding his homosexuality, would Ennis

-- Describe himself that way to others?
          Latjoreme -- Never.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed, never.
-- Use the word "queer" or "homosexual" to describe himself to himself?
          Latjoreme -- Early on in the movie, no. By the end, probably yes.
          Ruthlessly – Early, agreed.  End, slightly, possibly, maybe... but still only with fear and self-loathing.
-- Reluctantly in his heart of hearts consider the possibility that those words might apply to him?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, probably, the whole time.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
-- Notice he's attracted to men?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, since he was a kid, though he has learned to hide or repress it.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
-- Wish he weren't?
          Latjoreme -- Sure.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
And I’ll add:
-- Convince himself almost 100% completely that he isn’t?
          Ruthlessly – Absolutely!
-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a gay relationship?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, sort of.
          Ruthlessly – No.  No recognition – which signifies to me that it dawns on him, that he becomes aware of it.  No.
And I’ll add:
-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a “thing” that he cannot understand or name with its correct, generally-accepted name?
          Ruthlessly – Yes, 100%
-- Believe it's a huge exception to the rule, that he's not "really" gay and otherwise would be attracted only to women?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I’m not sure if I’ve broken down the question into its intended subparts correctly.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  “Believe it’s a huge exception to the rule…” – No.  The only rules to homosexuality that he believes are that it’s wrong and equals (or deserves) death.  “Believe … that he’s not “really” gay …” – Absolutely.  He does not believe himself to be gay.  “Believe … and otherwise would be attracted only to women” – The word “otherwise” would require him to think of himself as gay, which he does not.  He may not be attracted to women sexually, but he believes that he’s supposed to be. 
-- Ever have been involved with another man if not for Jack?
          Latjoreme -- Probably not.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  Unless someone came along and led him to it in the same way Jack did – build a friendship, build an intimacy, give Ennis his moment to let it all come bursting out, etc.
-- Blame Jack for him (Ennis) being gay?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I dunno.  Even if Ennis recognized early on that he is attracted to men, it took Jack to bring Ennis to the point of acting on it.  So, because Ennis does not believe himself to be gay, he very well could blame Jack for bringing Ennis to the point of acting on Ennis’ attraction to other fellas.
-- Blame Jack for keeping him nothin and nowhere?
          Latjoreme -- Not really.
          Ruthlessly – Half and half.  Ennis knows that he’s nothin’ and nowhere because he has put his “get somewhere” and “be somebody” on the back burner so that he could be available for Jack.  Ennis knows that’s what he’s done.  But, he probably doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions; thus, he blames Jack for it.  For the simple fact that Jack was there, Ennis just couldn’t help himself.
-- Blame his feelings for Jack for keeping him from leading a normal life?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  He knew he had feelings for Jack, and Ennis called those feelings a “thing,” and he knew that those feelings, that “thing” kept Ennis from leading a normal life – what Ennis would perceive as normal.
-- Wish he had never gotten involved with Jack in the first place?
          Latjoreme -- No way.
          Ruthlessly – I don’t agree.  If Ennis is like 99% of other people who fall in love (as some people have said    ;)   ), then there are certainly times when he has wished he’d never gotten involved with Jack.  Wished it as an overall defining characteristic of himself?  No.  But gone through long periods of trying to forget, get over, avoid, regret… then, yes.


Quote
Regarding love, does Ennis

-- Use that word when talking to Jack?
          Latjoreme -- No, obviously.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
-- Use that word when talking to himself?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  But he did try to get personalized vanity plates on his truck that say “E (heart) J.”  Unfortunately, the Wyoming DMV doesn’t allow a heart character on their plates.   :laugh:
-- Notice that he exhibits the feelings and longings and behavior that the rest of us would associate with the word "love"?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – “Notice?”  Yes, occasionally, but quickly dismisses it as “Can’t be… it’s a “thing.””
-- Recognize only after the pie scene that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love?
          Latjoreme -- Hmm ... maybe. (I'm a little on the fence about this, and open -- believe it or not -- to persuasion.)
          Ruthlessly – Getting’ there… plus the other interactions that follow.  Pie’ll do it to ya every time!  They shoulda bin eatin’ pie up on ol’ Brokeback ‘steada beans.
-- Not recognize it until his conversation with Alma Jr.?
          Latjoreme -- No, I think he recognizes in the closet at the very latest.
          Ruthlessly – Fully recognizes it in the closet at the very earliest AND at the very latest.  Was there pie in that there closet?
-- Recognize only in the end that, given that he and Jack were in love, that he should have made honoring that love his first priority, rather than being afraid to do so?
          Latjoreme -- Absolutely.
          Ruthlessly – Recognize … that he should have … rather than…?  No.  Change it to “After the closet scene, especially during his talk with Jr., and given that Ennis now understands that he and Jack were in love, did Ennis wish that he would have been able to have overcome his fears and made his love for Jack his first priority while, after Jack’s death, still not actually dealing with overcoming his fears because there is no longer a reason to with regard to his relationship with Jack?”  Then, yes.  There ain’t that much pie in alla Riverton.





Offline serious crayons

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Hey Ruthlessly, thanks for playing! This is fun. And it actually kind of works -- that is, it clarifies to me exactly where you stand compared to me (close, in some cases, but often on the other side of the room).

I will resist the temptation, for now, to comment on your answers or clarify mine. I hope others join the game. If so, maybe we can rephrase some of the questions that were confusing in the first place.

And I'd like to add a couple of questions that were inspired by your answers:

-- Does Ennis think homosexuals deserve death?
           Latjoreme: No. He might think his dad was right that homosexuality is shameful and wrong. But I don't think he believes that if his dad did the job he was right in that case.

-- After Jack dies, will Ennis' homophobia and fears and shame remain intact, now that there's no longer any reason to overcome them?
            Latjoreme: Partly. He has learned a lesson, suggested by his decision to attend the wedding and his swearing to Jack. On the other hand, I don't see him so enlightened that he'd go on to have other relationships with men (though he wouldn't anyway, because he'd still be grieving Jack).


Offline welliwont

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Regarding his homosexuality, would Ennis

-- Describe himself that way to others?
          Latjoreme -- Never.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed, never.
          Jane  -  no.

-- Use the word "queer" or "homosexual" to describe himself to himself?
          Latjoreme -- Early on in the movie, no. By the end, probably yes.
          Ruthlessly – Early, agreed.  End, slightly, possibly, maybe... but still only with fear and self-loathing.
          Jane  -  Early on, not on your f’n life!  By the end, still no.

-- Reluctantly in his heart of hearts consider the possibility that those words might apply to him?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, probably, the whole time.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  yes he would consider that those words might apply to him.

-- Notice he's attracted to men?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, since he was a kid, though he has learned to hide or repress it.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  yes.

-- Wish he weren't?
          Latjoreme -- Sure.
          Jane  -  yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
And I’ll add:

-- Convince himself almost 100% completely that he isn’t?
          Ruthlessly – Absolutely

-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a gay relationship?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, sort of.
          Jane  -  no?   yes?   :-\
          Ruthlessly – No.  No recognition – which signifies to me that it dawns on him, that he becomes aware of it.  No.
And I’ll add:

-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a “thing” that he cannot understand or name with its correct, generally-accepted name?
          Ruthlessly – Yes, 100%

-- Believe it's a huge exception to the rule, that he's not "really" gay and otherwise would be attracted only to women?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I’m not sure if I’ve broken down the question into its intended subparts correctly.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  “Believe it’s a huge exception to the rule…” – No.  The only rules to homosexuality that he believes are that it’s wrong and equals (or deserves) death.  “Believe … that he’s not “really” gay …” – Absolutely.  He does not believe himself to be gay.  “Believe … and otherwise would be attracted only to women” – The word “otherwise” would require him to think of himself as gay, which he does not.  He may not be attracted to women sexually, but he believes that he’s supposed to be. 
          Jane  -  hunh??

-- Ever have been involved with another man if not for Jack?
          Latjoreme -- Probably not.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  Unless someone came along and led him to it in the same way Jack did – build a friendship, build an intimacy, give Ennis his moment to let it all come bursting out, etc.
          Jane  -  maybe, if he was attracted to and picked up in the right way.

-- Blame Jack for him (Ennis) being gay?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I dunno.  Even if Ennis recognized early on that he is attracted to men, it took Jack to bring Ennis to the point of acting on it.  So, because Ennis does not believe himself to be gay, he very well could blame Jack for bringing Ennis to the point of acting on Ennis’ attraction to other fellas.
          Jane  -  no.

-- Blame Jack for keeping him nothin and nowhere?
          Latjoreme -- Not really.
          Ruthlessly – Half and half.  Ennis knows that he’s nothin’ and nowhere because he has put his “get somewhere” and “be somebody” on the back burner so that he could be available for Jack.  Ennis knows that’s what he’s done.  But, he probably doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions; thus, he blames Jack for it.  For the simple fact that Jack was there, Ennis just couldn’t help himself.
          Jane  -  no, not Jack, but his relationship with Jack?  Yes.

-- Blame his feelings for Jack for keeping him from leading a normal life?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  He knew he had feelings for Jack, and Ennis called those feelings a “thing,” and he knew that those feelings, that “thing” kept Ennis from leading a normal life – what Ennis would perceive as normal.
          Jane  -  yes

-- Wish he had never gotten involved with Jack in the first place?
          Latjoreme -- No way.
          Ruthlessly – I don’t agree.  If Ennis is like 99% of other people who fall in love (as some people have said    ;)   ), then there are certainly times when he has wished he’d never gotten involved with Jack.  Wished it as an overall defining characteristic of himself?  No.  But gone through long periods of trying to forget, get over, avoid, regret… then, yes.
          Jane  -  no f'n way!

Regarding love, does Ennis

-- Use that word when talking to Jack?
          Latjoreme -- No, obviously.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  no.

-- Use that word when talking to himself?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  But he did try to get personalized vanity plates on his truck that say “E (heart) J.”  Unfortunately, the Wyoming DMV doesn’t allow a heart character on their plates.   :laugh:
          Jane  -  no.

-- Notice that he exhibits the feelings and longings and behavior that the rest of us would associate with the word "love"?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – “Notice?”  Yes, occasionally, but quickly dismisses it as “Can’t be… it’s a “thing.””
          Jane  -  no.

-- Recognize only after the pie scene that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love?
          Latjoreme -- Hmm ... maybe. (I'm a little on the fence about this, and open -- believe it or not -- to persuasion.)
          Ruthlessly – Getting’ there… plus the other interactions that follow.  Pie’ll do it to ya every time!  They shoulda bin eatin’ pie up on ol’ Brokeback ‘steada beans.
          Jane  -  yes, that is when he starts to realize it, but the pie scene was not the illuminating moment.  He had started to realize it after the Lake Scene confrontation.  That is why he dropped Cassie..

-- Not recognize it until his conversation with Alma Jr.?
          Latjoreme -- No, I think he recognizes in the closet at the very latest.
          Ruthlessly – Fully recognizes it in the closet at the very earliest AND at the very latest.  Was there pie in that there closet?
          Jane  -  No, he starts to recognize it after his breakdown and Jack’s speech.

-- Recognize only in the end that, given that he and Jack were in love, that he should have made honoring that love his first priority, rather than being afraid to do so?
          Latjoreme -- Absolutely.
          Ruthlessly – Recognize … that he should have … rather than…?  No.  Change it to “After the closet scene, especially during his talk with Jr., and given that Ennis now understands that he and Jack were in love, did Ennis wish that he would have been able to have overcome his fears and made his love for Jack his first priority while, after Jack’s death, still not actually dealing with overcoming his fears because there is no longer a reason to with regard to his relationship with Jack?”  Then, yes.  There ain’t that much pie in alla Riverton.
          Jane  -  Yes.

Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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-- Recognize only after the pie scene that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love?
          Latjoreme -- Hmm ... maybe. (I'm a little on the fence about this, and open -- believe it or not -- to persuasion.)
          Ruthlessly – Getting’ there… plus the other interactions that follow.  Pie’ll do it to ya every time!  They shoulda bin eatin’ pie up on ol’ Brokeback ‘steada beans.
          Jane  -  yes, that is when he starts to realize it, but the pie scene was not the illuminating moment.  He had started to realize it after the Lake Scene confrontation.  That is why he dropped Cassie..


Or, did he drop Cassie because he realized he could not make a go of it with her... that he was screwed up... that he didn’t have control in his life...  any other reason to believe that he dropped her because he had started to recognize "that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love?"




By the way, EXCELLENT idea that people responding from now on should just copy previous stuff and put their new answers in a different color.  I never would have thunk of that!


Offline dly64

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Okay you guys … you know I’m gonna play!  ;)

Regarding his homosexuality, would Ennis

-- Describe himself that way to others?
         Latjoreme -- Never.
         Ruthlessly – Agreed, never.
         Jane  -  no.
         Diane – no human way!

-- Use the word "queer" or "homosexual" to describe himself to himself?
          Latjoreme -- Early on in the movie, no. By the end, probably yes.
          Ruthlessly – Early, agreed.  End, slightly, possibly, maybe... but still only with fear and self-loathing.
          Jane  -  Early on, not on your f’n life!  By the end, still no.
          Diane -  No, no, no! I don’t think he’d even consider admitting to himself he would fit into that category.

-- Reluctantly in his heart of hearts consider the possibility that those words might apply to him?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, probably, the whole time.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  yes he would consider that those words might apply to him.
          Diane – He might consider the possibility, but I don’t think he would allow himself to acknowledge that he might be gay.

-- Notice he's attracted to men?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, since he was a kid, though he has learned to hide or repress it.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  yes.
          Diane – Yes … again, I am not sure if he would admit, even to himself that he is attracted to men.

-- Wish he weren't?
          Latjoreme -- Sure.
          Jane  -  yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
And I’ll add:

-- Convince himself almost 100% completely that he isn’t?
          Ruthlessly – Absolutely
          Diane – ABOSULETLY!! No way would he even be comfortable with the fact that he was gay.

-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a gay relationship?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, sort of.
          Jane  -  no?   yes?   :-\
          Ruthlessly – No.  No recognition – which signifies to me that it dawns on him, that he becomes aware of it.  No.
And I’ll add:

-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a “thing” that he cannot understand or name with its correct, generally-accepted name?
          Ruthlessly – Yes, 100%
          Diane – I agree with Ruthless 100% on both of these points. No way can he consider that this is a gay relationship … it is an anomaly.

-- Believe it's a huge exception to the rule, that he's not "really" gay and otherwise would be attracted only to women?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I’m not sure if I’ve broken down the question into its intended subparts correctly.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  “Believe it’s a huge exception to the rule…” – No.  The only rules to homosexuality that he believes are that it’s wrong and equals (or deserves) death.  “Believe … that he’s not “really” gay …” – Absolutely.  He does not believe himself to be gay.  “Believe … and otherwise would be attracted only to women” – The word “otherwise” would require him to think of himself as gay, which he does not.  He may not be attracted to women sexually, but he believes that he’s supposed to be. 
          Jane  -  hunh??
          Diane – In Ennis’ mind – yes. I think he can not comprehend (or should I say consciously understand) why he loves Jack. IMO, Ennis blames Jack for being the way he is. If it wouldn’t be for that, Ennis would believe that he would be living a “normal” life.

-- Ever have been involved with another man if not for Jack?
          Latjoreme -- Probably not.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  Unless someone came along and led him to it in the same way Jack did – build a friendship, build an intimacy, give Ennis his moment to let it all come bursting out, etc.
          Jane  -  maybe, if he was attracted to and picked up in the right way.
          Diane – I find it highly improbable.

-- Blame Jack for him (Ennis) being gay?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I dunno.  Even if Ennis recognized early on that he is attracted to men, it took Jack to bring Ennis to the point of acting on it.  So, because Ennis does not believe himself to be gay, he very well could blame Jack for bringing Ennis to the point of acting on Ennis’ attraction to other fellas.
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – as I said above, yes.

-- Blame Jack for keeping him nothin and nowhere?
          Latjoreme -- Not really.
          Ruthlessly – Half and half.  Ennis knows that he’s nothin’ and nowhere because he has put his “get somewhere” and “be somebody” on the back burner so that he could be available for Jack.  Ennis knows that’s what he’s done.  But, he probably doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions; thus, he blames Jack for it.  For the simple fact that Jack was there, Ennis just couldn’t help himself.
          Jane  -  no, not Jack, but his relationship with Jack?  Yes.
          Diane – as I have stated before, yes. I think he sees the relationship as something that has somewhat derailed his life.  If not for Jack, he would probably still be married to Alma and living a blissful lie of a life.

-- Blame his feelings for Jack for keeping him from leading a normal life?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  He knew he had feelings for Jack, and Ennis called those feelings a “thing,” and he knew that those feelings, that “thing” kept Ennis from leading a normal life – what Ennis would perceive as normal.
          Jane  -  yes
          Diane – same as what I just said above ... .i.e. Yes!

-- Wish he had never gotten involved with Jack in the first place?
          Latjoreme -- No way.
          Ruthlessly – I don’t agree.  If Ennis is like 99% of other people who fall in love (as some people have said    ;)   ), then there are certainly times when he has wished he’d never gotten involved with Jack.  Wished it as an overall defining characteristic of himself?  No.  But gone through long periods of trying to forget, get over, avoid, regret… then, yes.
          Jane  -  no f'n way!
          Diane – No way …. He was his one-in-a-lifetime love. Jack was the one person who could understand him.

Regarding love, does Ennis

-- Use that word when talking to Jack?
          Latjoreme -- No, obviously.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – no way … that’s completely out of his character
-- Use that word when talking to himself?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  But he did try to get personalized vanity plates on his truck that say “E (heart) J.”  Unfortunately, the Wyoming DMV doesn’t allow a heart character on their plates.   :laugh:
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – No.

-- Notice that he exhibits the feelings and longings and behavior that the rest of us would associate with the word "love"?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – “Notice?”  Yes, occasionally, but quickly dismisses it as “Can’t be… it’s a “thing.””
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – Possibly. He is so cut off from his feelings and others’ perceptions, I don’t know that he would be capable of
          picking up on something like that.


-- Recognize only after the pie scene that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love?
          Latjoreme -- Hmm ... maybe. (I'm a little on the fence about this, and open -- believe it or not -- to persuasion.)
          Ruthlessly – Getting’ there… plus the other interactions that follow.  Pie’ll do it to ya every time!  They shoulda bin eatin’ pie up on ol’ Brokeback ‘steada beans.
          Jane  -  yes, that is when he starts to realize it, but the pie scene was not the illuminating moment.  He had started to realize it after the Lake Scene confrontation.  That is why he dropped Cassie..
          Diane – No … I think he realized that he loved Jack after their confrontation. The pie scene illustrates how cut off and
          lonely Ennis has become and it is used as a way to close his relationship with Cassie.

-- Not recognize it until his conversation with Alma Jr.?
          Latjoreme -- No, I think he recognizes in the closet at the very latest.
          Ruthlessly – Fully recognizes it in the closet at the very earliest AND at the very latest.  Was there pie in that there closet?
          Jane  -  No, he starts to recognize it after his breakdown and Jack’s speech.
          Diane – No … same as what I have said above.

-- Recognize only in the end that, given that he and Jack were in love, that he should have made honoring that love his first priority, rather than being afraid to do so?
          Latjoreme -- Absolutely.
          Ruthlessly – Recognize … that he should have … rather than…?  No.  Change it to “After the closet scene, especially during his talk with Jr., and given that Ennis now understands that he and Jack were in love, did Ennis wish that he would have been able to have overcome his fears and made his love for Jack his first priority while, after Jack’s death, still not actually dealing with overcoming his fears because there is no longer a reason to with regard to his relationship with Jack?”  Then, yes.  There ain’t that much pie in alla Riverton.
          Jane  -  Yes.
          Diane – Yes, absolutely. I think that is why he has such bitter longing … knowing what could have been and knowing that, since Jack is gone, it will never happen.

Hey Ruthlessly, thanks for playing! This is fun. And it actually kind of works -- that is, it clarifies to me exactly where you stand compared to me (close, in some cases, but often on the other side of the room).

I will resist the temptation, for now, to comment on your answers or clarify mine. I hope others join the game. If so, maybe we can rephrase some of the questions that were confusing in the first place.

And I'd like to add a couple of questions that were inspired by your answers:

-- Does Ennis think homosexuals deserve death?
           Latjoreme: No. He might think his dad was right that homosexuality is shameful and wrong. But I don't think he believes that if his dad did the job he was right in that case.
           Diane – I agree completely with your point of view, Katherine.
-- After Jack dies, will Ennis' homophobia and fears and shame remain intact, now that there's no longer any reason to overcome them?
            Latjoreme: Partly. He has learned a lesson, suggested by his decision to attend the wedding and his swearing to Jack. On the other hand, I don't see him so enlightened that he'd go on to have other relationships with men (though he wouldn't anyway, because he'd still be grieving Jack).
           Diane – Yes … If anything, I see him becoming more bitter and homophobic. In his eyes, Jack was murdered for being gay.

Okay, ladies … this is fun. Let’s keep it going!   ;D
« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 09:07:47 pm by dly64 »
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Hey Ruthlessly, thanks for playing! This is fun. And it actually kind of works -- that is, it clarifies to me exactly where you stand compared to me (close, in some cases, but often on the other side of the room).

I dunno.  Looks pretty close to me...


Quote
And I'd like to add a couple of questions that were inspired by your answers:


-- Does Ennis think homosexuals deserve death?
           Latjoreme: No. He might think his dad was right that homosexuality is shameful and wrong. But I don't think he believes that if his dad did the job he was right in that case.
          Ruthlessly -- I dunno, again.  He did tell Jack that if he came to know certain things, he'd kill him.  And I don’t believe for a minute he's talking about jealousy here.  His father taught him well.

-- After Jack dies, will Ennis' homophobia and fears and shame remain intact, now that there's no longer any reason to overcome them?
            Latjoreme: Partly. He has learned a lesson, suggested by his decision to attend the wedding and his swearing to Jack. On the other hand, I don't see him so enlightened that he'd go on to have other relationships with men (though he wouldn't anyway, because he'd still be grieving Jack).
          Ruthlessly -- I think so.  Wouldn't Alma, Sr. be the only one who would confront him?  Without his relationship going on with Jack, and without Alma to confront him, I don’t think he'd make any forward steps.  In fact, this may shut him down completely as far as intimate, relationship love goes.


« Last Edit: July 05, 2006, 08:56:56 pm by ruthlesslyunsentimental »

Offline welliwont

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Use me next!    Who else wants to add their two cents?  I have merged all the questions and the added questions together.   ;)


Okay you guys … you know I’m gonna play!  ;)

Regarding his homosexuality, would Ennis:


-- Describe himself that way to others?

         Latjoreme -- Never.
         Ruthlessly – Agreed, never.
         Jane  -  no.
         Diane – no human way!

-- Use the word "queer" or "homosexual" to describe himself to himself?

          Latjoreme -- Early on in the movie, no. By the end, probably yes.
          Ruthlessly – Early, agreed.  End, slightly, possibly, maybe... but still only with fear and self-loathing.
          Jane  -  Early on, not on your f’n life!  By the end, still no.
          Diane -  No, no, no! I don’t think he’d even consider admitting to himself he would fit into that category.

-- Reluctantly in his heart of hearts consider the possibility that those words might apply to him?

          Latjoreme -- Yes, probably, the whole time.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  yes he would consider that those words might apply to him.
          Diane – He might consider the possibility, but I don’t think he would allow himself to acknowledge that he might be gay.

-- Notice he's attracted to men?
          Latjoreme -- Yes, since he was a kid, though he has learned to hide or repress it.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  yes.
          Diane – Yes … again, I am not sure if he would admit, even to himself that he is attracted to men.

-- Wish he weren't?

          Latjoreme -- Sure.
          Jane  -  yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.

And I’ll add:

-- Convince himself almost 100% completely that he isn’t?

          Ruthlessly – Absolutely
          Diane – ABOSULETLY!! No way would he even be comfortable with the fact that he was gay.

-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a gay relationship?

          Latjoreme -- Yes, sort of.
          Jane  -  no?   yes?   :-\
          Ruthlessly – No.  No recognition – which signifies to me that it dawns on him, that he becomes aware of it.  No.

And I’ll add:

-- Recognize that his relationship with Jack constitutes a “thing” that he cannot understand or name with its correct, generally-accepted name?
          Ruthlessly – Yes, 100%
          Diane – I agree with Ruthless 100% on both of these points. No way can he consider that this is a gay relationship … it is an anomaly.

-- Believe it's a huge exception to the rule, that he's not "really" gay and otherwise would be attracted only to women?

          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I’m not sure if I’ve broken down the question into its intended subparts correctly.  Correct me if I’m wrong.  “Believe it’s a huge exception to the rule…” – No.  The only rules to homosexuality that he believes are that it’s wrong and equals (or deserves) death.  “Believe … that he’s not “really” gay …” – Absolutely.  He does not believe himself to be gay.  “Believe … and otherwise would be attracted only to women” – The word “otherwise” would require him to think of himself as gay, which he does not.  He may not be attracted to women sexually, but he believes that he’s supposed to be. 
          Jane  -  hunh??
          Diane – In Ennis’ mind – yes. I think he can not comprehend (or should I say consciously understand) why he loves Jack. IMO, Ennis blames Jack for being the way he is. If it wouldn’t be for that, Ennis would believe that he would be living a “normal” life.

-- Ever have been involved with another man if not for Jack?

          Latjoreme -- Probably not.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  Unless someone came along and led him to it in the same way Jack did – build a friendship, build an intimacy, give Ennis his moment to let it all come bursting out, etc.
          Jane  -  maybe, if he was attracted to and picked up in the right way.
          Diane – I find it highly improbable.

-- Blame Jack for him (Ennis) being gay?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – I dunno.  Even if Ennis recognized early on that he is attracted to men, it took Jack to bring Ennis to the point of acting on it.  So, because Ennis does not believe himself to be gay, he very well could blame Jack for bringing Ennis to the point of acting on Ennis’ attraction to other fellas.
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – as I said above, yes.

-- Blame Jack for keeping him nothin and nowhere?
          Latjoreme -- Not really.
          Ruthlessly – Half and half.  Ennis knows that he’s nothin’ and nowhere because he has put his “get somewhere” and “be somebody” on the back burner so that he could be available for Jack.  Ennis knows that’s what he’s done.  But, he probably doesn’t accept responsibility for his actions; thus, he blames Jack for it.  For the simple fact that Jack was there, Ennis just couldn’t help himself.
          Jane  -  no, not Jack, but his relationship with Jack?  Yes.
          Diane – as I have stated before, yes. I think he sees the relationship as something that has somewhat derailed his life.  If not for Jack, he would probably still be married to Alma and living a blissful lie of a life.

-- Blame his feelings for Jack for keeping him from leading a normal life?

          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  He knew he had feelings for Jack, and Ennis called those feelings a “thing,” and he knew that those feelings, that “thing” kept Ennis from leading a normal life – what Ennis would perceive as normal.
          Jane  -  yes
          Diane – same as what I just said above ... .i.e. Yes!

-- Wish he had never gotten involved with Jack in the first place?
          Latjoreme -- No way.
          Ruthlessly – I don’t agree.  If Ennis is like 99% of other people who fall in love (as some people have said    ;)   ), then there are certainly times when he has wished he’d never gotten involved with Jack.  Wished it as an overall defining characteristic of himself?  No.  But gone through long periods of trying to forget, get over, avoid, regret… then, yes.
          Jane  -  no f'n way!
          Diane – No way …. He was his one-in-a-lifetime love. Jack was the one person who could understand him.

Regarding love, does Ennis

-- Use that word when talking to Jack?
          Latjoreme -- No, obviously.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – no way … that’s completely out of his character

-- Use that word when talking to himself?
          Latjoreme -- No.
          Ruthlessly – Agreed.  But he did try to get personalized vanity plates on his truck that say “E (heart) J.”  Unfortunately, the Wyoming DMV doesn’t allow a heart character on their plates.   :laugh:
          Jane  -  no.
          Diane – No.

-- Notice that he exhibits the feelings and longings and behavior that the rest of us would associate with the word "love"?
          Latjoreme -- Yes.
          Ruthlessly – “Notice?”  Yes, occasionally, but quickly dismisses it as “Can’t be… it’s a “thing.””
          Jane  -  no.  Ennis is all about submersing his feelings.  I don't think he even lets them breathe.
          Diane – Possibly. He is so cut off from his feelings and others’ perceptions, I don’t know that he would be capable of
          picking up on something like that.


-- Recognize only after the pie scene that all those acts and feelings add up to quote-unquote love?
          Latjoreme -- Hmm ... maybe. (I'm a little on the fence about this, and open -- believe it or not -- to persuasion.)
          Ruthlessly – Getting’ there… plus the other interactions that follow.  Pie’ll do it to ya every time!  They shoulda bin eatin’ pie up on ol’ Brokeback ‘steada beans.
          Jane  -  yes, that is when he starts to realize it, but the pie scene was not the illuminating moment.  He had started to realize it after the Lake Scene confrontation.  That is why he dropped Cassie..
          Diane – No … I think he realized that he loved Jack after their confrontation. The pie scene illustrates how cut off and
          lonely Ennis has become and it is used as a way to close his relationship with Cassie.

-- Not recognize it until his conversation with Alma Jr.?
          Latjoreme -- No, I think he recognizes in the closet at the very latest.
          Ruthlessly – Fully recognizes it in the closet at the very earliest AND at the very latest.  Was there pie in that there closet?
          Jane  -  No, he starts to recognize it after his breakdown and Jack’s speech.
          Diane – No … same as what I have said above.

-- Recognize only in the end that, given that he and Jack were in love, that he should have made honoring that love his first priority, rather than being afraid to do so?
          Latjoreme -- Absolutely.
          Ruthlessly – Recognize … that he should have … rather than…?  No.  Change it to “After the closet scene, especially during his talk with Jr., and given that Ennis now understands that he and Jack were in love, did Ennis wish that he would have been able to have overcome his fears and made his love for Jack his first priority while, after Jack’s death, still not actually dealing with overcoming his fears because there is no longer a reason to with regard to his relationship with Jack?”  Then, yes.  There ain’t that much pie in alla Riverton.
          Jane  -  Yes.
          Diane – Yes, absolutely. I think that is why he has such bitter longing … knowing what could have been and knowing that, since Jack is gone, it will never happen.

And I'd like to add a couple of questions that were inspired by your answers:

-- Does Ennis think homosexuals deserve death?
           Latjoreme: No. He might think his dad was right that homosexuality is shameful and wrong. But I don't think he believes that if his dad did the job he was right in that case.
          Ruthlessly -- I dunno, again.  He did tell Jack that if he came to know certain things, he'd kill him.  And I don’t believe for a minute he's talking about jealousy here.  His father taught him well.
           Diane – I agree completely with your point of view, Katherine.

-- After Jack dies, will Ennis' homophobia and fears and shame remain intact, now that there's no longer any reason to overcome them?
            Latjoreme: Partly. He has learned a lesson, suggested by his decision to attend the wedding and his swearing to Jack. On the other hand, I don't see him so enlightened that he'd go on to have other relationships with men (though he wouldn't anyway, because he'd still be grieving Jack).
          Ruthlessly -- I think so.  Wouldn't Alma, Sr. be the only one who would confront him?  Without his relationship going on with Jack, and without Alma to confront him, I don’t think he'd make any forward steps.  In fact, this may shut him down completely as far as intimate, relationship love goes.
           Diane – Yes … If anything, I see him becoming more bitter and homophobic. In his eyes, Jack was murdered for being gay.
          Jane  -  Here is a quote I transcribed from a intro to the song "The Maker Makes"  written by Rufus Wainwright for the movie Brokeback Mountain.  The song is the very last song played during the film, as the credits are just winding down.  Hell most of the people will have left the cinema by the time this song will have started to play! 

Rufus Wainwright:
"It's called The Maker Makes 'cause it's, it's just about, it's
it's sorta a, a the flip side of someone who, who instead of y'now discovering
their homosexuality, y'know moves to NY, and y'now gets y'know a haircut,
um, they decide to sort of stay, where they are and really forsake their uhm,
 their sexuality.
"



Okay, ladies … this is fun. Let’s keep it going!   ;D

« Last Edit: July 06, 2006, 01:08:17 am by latjoreme »
Then the clouds opened up and God said, "I hate you, Alfafa."

Offline serious crayons

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HEY EVERYBODY,

I split this topic into a separate topic called "Fun Brokeback Questionnaires" on the Chez Tremblay board, because they were starting to take on a life of their own and seemed to be getting sort of OT from the original post. I hope nobody minds (if so, please let me know).

Anyway, in doing so I moved the last couple of questionnaires, so go find the last couple of sets of answers there.

Katherine

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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HEY EVERYBODY,

I split this topic into a separate topic called "Fun Brokeback Questionnaires" on the Chez Tremblay board, because they were starting to take on a life of their own and seemed to be getting sort of OT from the original post. I hope nobody minds (if so, please let me know).

Anyway, in doing so I moved the last couple of questionnaires, so go find the last couple of sets of answers there.

Katherine


Ya done good.



Offline dly64

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Ya done good.

Okay, Ruthless ... now it is your turn to get us back on track!!  ;D
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

ruthlesslyunsentimental

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Okay, Ruthless ... now it is your turn to get us back on track!!  ;D

Me?  Uh, I, uh, don't know...


Gimme some time, I'll get it all figured out.  I'll try if I can to make it before November... surely won't take me four f-ing years!


P.S.  I answered your new set of questions in the new thread that latjoreme created.  Good questions!





Offline dly64

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Me?  Uh, I, uh, don't know...

How about discussing the "quit" each other idea. I had mentioned it before and gave you an idea about what I meant by "quit". You were going to process and respond. So .... I'm interested in hearing your POV!!!  ;D
Diane

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Offline Brown Eyes

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Well, here I am Friends,

I've been "lurking" on this thread for a very long time... Something I never do around here on BetterMost (as most of you know I usually talk a blue streak).  It's been amazing watching all these complex and long discussions go back and forth.   I went and answered the first questionnaire in Katherine's new thread... so my opinions about a lot of the earlier discussions here are registered over there.  I'm in the camp of people who believe that Ennis is gay, knows he's gay and even knows that he loves Jack quite early in the film (even if he doesn't have the language to articulate these things).  I think this tension- between Ennis/Jack/audience all sensing, palpably these things (the love, the pressures of being gay in Riverton, WY and Childress, TX) and the problem of not having things spelled out concretely- is one of the aspects of the film that is so powerful.   We along with Jack's ghost are still waiting for Ennis to complete his sentence at the end of the film.  And, it's interesting that Jack never was able to "swear" or say "I love you" either... yet I don't think we have the same questions in our heads about Jack as we do about Ennis.  Like the Ennis questionnaire, it would be interesting to have an identical questionnaire about Jack and his understanding of his homosexuality.  Why don't we have the same questions about him?

My urge to see an equivalent Jack questionnaire leads to one of the reasons I haven't jumped in here so far.  I generally like to avoid discussions that pit Jack against Ennis or foster a sense of competition between them.  I think the point is that they have to be taken together with equal weight.  Proulx said you can't have Ennis without Jack.  Not that we always need to run to Proulx for insight... but I think that one is very important.  If we're talking about fault and blame as to why their story took such a frustrating and tragic turn... I think we need to look beyond both Ennis and Jack.
 :-\

And, onto the topic of "quitting" currently at hand...

I think Jack's "I wish I knew how to quit you" line is meant to be a little bit of a threat (an empty threat... which he makes clear within the sentence itself).  It may be his version of Ennis's empty threats earlier during the argument. 
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline serious crayons

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yet I don't think we have the same questions in our heads about Jack as we do about Ennis.  Like the Ennis questionnaire, it would be interesting to have an identical questionnaire about Jack and his understanding of his homosexuality.  Why don't we have the same questions about him?

Always so egalitarian!  :laugh: I focused my questionnaire on Ennis because it sprang out of these constant back and forths regarding what did Ennis know and when did he know it. That seems to be one of the most controversial subjects here at BetterMost. Jack stirs less controversy.

However, there are probably lots of interesting questions you could ask about Jack. So post them!  :)

As for why they get pitted against each other (sometimes) lots of people criticize Ennis, or even out-and-out lambaste him (I just responded to a post in which the person gave about 10 reasons why Ennis is "selfish," including the fact that he never brought home any fish), whereas Jack rarely gets much criticism.

In fact, usually the opposite -- his behavior is lauded. And that's not only because there are so many Jackophiles around, it's also because Jack actually does make fewer mistakes than Ennis. Occasionally people -- like Ruthlessly, for example, in this thread -- point out that Jack missed an opportunity, or possibly should have considered doing this or that differently. But these gentle suggestions are not on par with the mean things people say about poor Ennis.  :-\


Quote
  If we're talking about fault and blame as to why their story took such a frustrating and tragic turn... I think we need to look beyond both Ennis and Jack.
 :-\

I agree. But I don't think it's "blame" to notice that there are times when either or both could have handled things better or differently. What makes it sad is society's prejudices and their effects on people, but what makes it tragic is the missteps the two men make in responding to that problem (Ennis, as I said, makes a few more).

Quote
I think Jack's "I wish I knew how to quit you" line is meant to be a little bit of a threat (an empty threat... which he makes clear within the sentence itself).  It may be his version of Ennis's empty threats earlier during the argument. 

I agree. Though it's not even a complete threat. He's saying he wishes he knew how -- that is, he actually doesn't know how.

A sideline thing: everybody always quotes that line as if "quit you" were some kind of colorful colloquialism on the order of "stemmin the rose" or "puttin the blocks to." But actually, it seems to me just a parallel response to Ennis saying "I can't quit this one" about his job.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2006, 01:31:25 pm by latjoreme »

Offline dly64

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My urge to see an equivalent Jack questionnaire leads to one of the reasons I haven't jumped in here so far.  I generally like to avoid discussions that pit Jack against Ennis or foster a sense of competition between them.  I think the point is that they have to be taken together with equal weight.  Proulx said you can't have Ennis without Jack.  Not that we always need to run to Proulx for insight... but I think that one is very important.  If we're talking about fault and blame as to why their story took such a frustrating and tragic turn... I think we need to look beyond both Ennis and Jack.
 :-\

I created a "fun questionnaire 3" and I think there are more questions on both ... that one has a lot to do with their time on BBM. I would enjoy all of you guys to check it out and give me ideas of what should be added ... or you can answer the questions and add more at the bottom. Whatever works!  :)
Diane

"We're supposed to guard the sheep, not eat 'em."

Offline Meryl

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #134 on: December 06, 2006, 12:38:06 pm »
bump
Ich bin ein Brokie...

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #135 on: December 07, 2006, 02:29:51 pm »
At the end of that first summer, Ennis says to Jack, "Well, see you around, huh?" And then much later Ennis says, "All the travelling I ever done was 'round the coffeepot, lookin for the handle." He went round and round his whole life, looking for the handle that would open the door.
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Offline mlewisusc

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #136 on: December 08, 2006, 03:30:46 am »
Yet another bump to find.
"Good enough place" - Ennis del Mar

Offline southendmd

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #137 on: February 12, 2014, 03:51:05 pm »
bumping for throwback thursday wednesday

Offline Sason

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #138 on: February 12, 2014, 04:18:35 pm »
Wow, 7+ years! 

Thanks for digging these old threads up, Paul.

They convey the intensity and obsession with analyze and details of those early Brokie years.

Looking back now, I feel very clear that I've moved on from that phase. It isn't as much the movie itself any more, but more what's come out of it.

The friendships, the meetings, the shared experiences - both of the movie itself and of all the things we do together.

It's like we share something very profound and almost mystical, but we don't need to go on about it anymore - cause we all know it's there.

Now it's more about having fun together!  :)

Düva pööp is a förce of natüre

Offline serious crayons

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #139 on: February 12, 2014, 08:46:59 pm »
Wow, this brings back the memories. When ruthlesslyunsentimental posted this

"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.'"


it was so shocking, because it was I who had called him that, over at IMDb, in a response to a particularly insightful post. I knew at once that he was the famous ClancyPants.


Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #140 on: February 12, 2014, 09:27:48 pm »
wow, that really is cool K!  I miss the old days of long, endless analysis.  At this point is really is mostly nostalgia for that phase of Brokiedom.
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #141 on: February 09, 2017, 03:10:47 am »
Hi there! I would like to join this thread, because its initial post is just incredibly insightful! Thank you for this, Ruthless - if you're still out there... If you are, i would love to discuss with you, but i assume everybody left and moved on already...

Anyway, so i'll try to add some comments on some points in this thread. Just a way of dealing with the movie for me  ;).

First of all, i think the initial questions which were discussed here were just great!
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.
That's almost exactly the same i asked myself during my first viewing of the movie. The slight difference was that i could not understand why these two guys actually ended up having sex with each other. Given the fact that this should be a love story instead of a story of some strong sexual fantasies and desires, i first had quite difficult time with explaining myself what led them to love each other in a way lovers do as opposed to just best friends.
Upon my first viewing it was not obvious at all and the FNIT looked like a rape, sorry. So, i tried hard to trace the clues. In case of Ennis there were some given: he was having quite a lonely life where first his parents died and then his brother and sister left to have their own lives and he ended up alone, not much talking to any living being for a whole year(!).. And then his actions and face during second tent encounter - it all made sense why he was needing Jack so badly. But as for Jack - i did not have any explanation... Especially because it was him who actually took Ennis' hand (literally! :)) and led him to this new kind of relationship.

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.
Really? Jack's motive was sex? I don't know about that.... Sure, Jack was more open in that respect, but i strongly doubt he was just looking for some random d* to "enter" him. He was pictured as very caring right from the start, with Ennis he was tender and loving, during the FNIT he was eating Ennis up with his eyes (my personal perception), same as during SNIT - he loved Ennis and wanted to be with him really-really close, wanted to feel him really close. Now, how come??

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.
...
And when did Jack realize that he had fallen in love with Ennis?  I believe at the dozy embrace.
Yes and - YES! Agree completely. But...

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.
Here - i don't think so. Sure, we can just speculate about when it actually took place because there are not many hints on this in the story. My personal theory is - i LIKE to think - that the dozy embrace took place right before the FNIT. Maybe same day in the morning. I read somewhere (which just supported my idea) that the dozy embrace was shot right after the water walking Jesus scene - which would be also totally in line with the story. Because in the movie the next scene after water walking Jesus and that sinner talk is the one in the evening, Ennis drunk and saying he will sleep in the camp - which is then followed by FNIT.

So, as we observe the boys during their time in the mountains (before FNIT) they get more and more talkative and comfortable with each other, right? Ennis, who was so rejecting any contact - not to speak of physical contact! - at Aguirre's trailer became more and more accustomed with touching each other, right? I mean the problem with physical contact should be that of Ennis not of Jack, right? So, Ennis was actually the "nut to crack" - i think we all agree. And i think Ennis liked Jack very very much for the sake of Jack's can opener. For somebody who was very lonely and who did not have any contact with human beings for long time i imagine it must have been really freeing to open oneself to this extend especially in the view of the fact that his counterpart was not judging at all, was neither making fun of him nor patronizing him, accepted him wholly as he is and therefore, he could TRUST him with opening himself. Which i think he also craved to do, lonely people usually tend to wanting to share just everything with the right person or generally others.

I just watched that water walking Jesus scene this morning again. Ennis' saying his "You may be a sinner, but I ain't yet had the opportunity" and then actually being a tiny bit ashamed of what he had just said (maybe thinking "uuh, did i say too much?") because of its ambiguity and that undertone, you know, implying something very personal and private about himself and his counterpart. It's quite interesting that this kind of touching the sexual aspect was firstly articulated by Ennis, not by Jack. And Jack's reaction was again very accepting one, so Ennis' shame and fear were blown away once more, just ensuring him that there was actually nothing to fear in opening himself further to Jack. As mentioned above this experience must have been like flying to Ennis. He was free of all his shame and fear and the reason was Jack. Therefore, i imagine he must really really like him, care for him and treasure him. That's why i think that the dozy embrace happened when he had to ride out to the sheep at THAT morning, when his last fear was blown away. So, he hugged Jack - his DEAR friend - and hummed to him and then went off. But the impact this embrace had on Jack was profound. I think as much as Jack was the more talkative and frank of them two, he would still not dare to get THIS physically close to Ennis at that stage of their friendship. We all know from the short story what the dozy embrace meant for Jack - it was his holy grail, pure happiness, satisfaction of a "shared and sexless hunger". I think it shook him up and gave him the idea or the reassurance that he could be closer to Ennis than before, that there could be more between them. Probably he had the same feelings as Ennis - just to treasure this very dear friend who had just touched the most hidden part of this heart.

Phew, all this said, in the tent - Jack takes Ennis hand (sure, no objection here, they should be OK with this already), pulls Ennis over him (sure, same as the embrace, right?) and lets Ennis touch him *you-know-where*, which is now something new, so Ennis is surprised first and probably his fears are back again, but (with booze and all in mind) i think his revelation of trust in Jack is so fresh and Jack is so wanting him, so his fears don't take over and FNIT happens.
As somebody said here or elsewhere(?), whenever Ennis opens the door just a tiny bit Jack rushes fully in! ;)

By the way, regarding that short discussion on description of dozy embrace in the short story, i have to agree with those who said, that it does not make sense what Annie Proux wrote there. "Nothing mars this moment for Jack, even though he knows that Ennis does not embrace him face to face because he does not want to see or feel that it is Jack he holds …. “ The second part of the sentence feels very much out of place and also forced into there. I get the feeling that Annie really wanted to focus on that homophobia / Ennis' denial wherever she could for the sake of some "drama", but it just does not make sense there... Doesn't matter when the dozy embrace took place - it took place on the mountain! And this is where both of them should have felt free from any fears or shame, so it absolutely does not fit...

Anyway, so that's my take on the development of their love. Ruthless' further analysis of what happened after they get Aguirre's notice to go down is just brilliant, i agree with it wholeheartedly! And i also agree on the timings of when each of them realized that the other one was loving him (Jack at the lake scene and Ennis over several scenes Cassie-Lureen-Old Twist-finding shirts).


Now i have to say two more things. The first one about those debates on being "gay" - whether or not they were gay and which one of them was more gay and etc... I'm sorry, but, honestly, i don't get these discussions. For me it's - who the f cares?? Sure, the fear of being publicly together with a man is a major subject in this story, but for me it's all about their love and longing for each other against the background of some childhood trauma, not about their sexual inclinations (or whatever). I don't think either of them was gay. Ennis had never find any other men attractive apart from Jack and for Jack those visits to Mexico and Randall were just substitutes in his strong longing for Ennis. I just can't understand why people would say this makes Jack gay... But i think it's probably just me, i don't know.
Really, i don't understand why we have to label these two human beings for loving each other. And with regard to sex - because this seems like the turning point for everybody (are two men having sex with each other? -> they are gay; are two men not having sex with each other? -> not gay) - i think for Ennis and Jack that was just the ultimate state of loving, caring and feeling each other, and especially in view of their quite seldom meetings (never enough time...) it was maybe what they did most during those times, but does it make them more gay? Sorry, that's all totally ridiculous!...
YaadPyar said it on June 3rd, 2006 - "Does it matter..." - Exactly...


And the second issue is with what happened to Jack "quitting" Ennis. ... Eehh, that's a tough one  :(...
To be honest, i have a slight problem here because i keep questioning myself whether Jack told his parents about Randall before or after his last meeting with Ennis. [PLEASE somebody share your thoughts on this!!!] Because the way Jack is at their last trip is ..... it's like he's dead already  :'( :'(. The way he says "All this time and you ain't found nobody else to marry?" and "The truth is... Sometimes I miss you so much, I can hardly stand it" - there is so much pain in it, he is totally numb of it all  :'( :'( :'(. He moves slowly, talks slowly, he's so crushed by an incredible weight, you can hardly call him still "alive". And he is also not able to enjoy his time with Ennis anymore, because all he thinks about is the repeated parting. And the subsequent longing hell again. There is absolutely no escape for him anymore, nothing can make him happy anymore  :'(.
Then i happen to think about his rodeo conversation in the motel upon the reunion. He says "That rodeo ain't what it was in my daddy's day's... I got out while I could still walk". As so much in this movie i wonder whether this is again some kind of foreshadowing of what will happen at the end.

So - did he try to "get out" already before the last trip? He tells Ennis about his affair and i think everybody seems to agree that he has been seeing Randall for some time already. Therefore, is it possible that he told his parents about Randall before the last trip and the lake scene? Because that would change the situation just a tinny little bit... Because during their argument at the lake he says "i wished i knew how to quit you" and then after Ennis' breakdown he just can't help comforting him again - and he himself realizes it, too and then says "Damn you, Ennis". So, there is basically no way for him to stop loving Ennis, no way! So, i thought / hope(d) that maybe he tried to get away from Ennis and all that pain while he "could still walk" and had this plan with Randall which he told his parents, and after the lake scene he was basically back to square one, angry, but confused. Maybe he was now certain that he could not quit Ennis by the plan he had with Randall.

Ahhhh.... But then, suddenly i had this little voice saying that he would probably still go ahead with his plan - not for himself, but for Ennis! That he loved him so much and seeing Ennis suffering so much ("i'm nothing, i'm nowhere"  :'() that he would stop seeing Ennis just in order to stop that misery in his life  :'( :'(. I didn't want to pay attention to this voice, because this idea would be SOOO devastating  :'(. But now Ruthless here also has the same suspect/opinion:

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.
After Jack saw, vis-à-vis Ennis' breakdown, the toll that their relationship and Ennis' inability to cope with it had taken on Ennis, it would have been utterly cruel of Jack to continue their relationship.  It is not love to see the person you love in utter despair and turmoil and then to say "Oh, well, at least I can get a couple of high-altitude fucks out of the guy every year." ...  But, it is precisely because Jack loved Ennis so much that Jack had to let Ennis go.
This is killing me....  :'( :'( :'(
Because Ennis sent the final postcard, I believe that Jack had not yet gotten around to closing things up with Ennis, and I’m not sure how he would have done it.  But I am sure of one thing.  Jack would have had to have gotten a final, definite answer from Ennis one way or the other.  And if Ennis' answer was the same as always, Jack would have had to have let him go.  He loved him that much.
But - as gut-wrenching as this is - i am afraid this is EXACTLY how it was going to happen!
And yes - we can speculate about whether Ennis' answer would be different after his scene with Cassie, but we will NEVER know. As the story unfolds it is true as Ruthless said - "But, his epiphany, if ever complete, was not completed until at least the "love" conversation with Jr. -- too late." Meaning, Jack's death was necessary for Ennis' to fully understand and finally start to change things, that's the tragedy.

In this context,
She’s 19, the same age as he was when he met Jack, and he’s making sure that she knows that Kurt loves her so that she won’t have to go through the next twenty years without understanding, as he did.
That's a nice point of view. Yes, maybe. However, for me it felt as if he talked to himself. I felt that he wanted the word "love" to be articulated in SOME, ANY way because he was not able to do so himself directly. So, he has this conversation with Jr. where he says - to himself - "Does he [read "Jack"] love you [read "me"]?" - and gets an answer from Jr. "Yes, he [read "Jack"] loves me [read "you"]". This followed by his distant look out of the window repressing tears. That's how this scene felt for me from the first viewing on. That being his final resolution on his relationship with Jack. Too late for them being together, too late for Ennis to fix it so they can be together. Nevertheless, i believe that his "Jack, i swear..." does mean that he commits himself to some change in order to give Jack's death some meaning. I think he will love and treasure Jack beyond his death and work on himself not to do the same mistakes he did with Jack again. This does not mean that he will have a new partner (never ever) or that he will completely come to terms with himself (deal with his trauma - i doubt this will be possible for him to do it alone) or that he change drastically everything about himself (this is still Ennis! he will do tiny steps, but no drastic changes) or that he will tell everybody that he loved a man / hang the shirts outside the closet (this is a totally private issue and nobody's business). I think he will fight his patterns of rejection and abandonment - in the name of his honoring memory of Jack.

========

Sorry for this long-long post. Probably nobody ever reads  :P
But thanks for the space!

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #142 on: February 09, 2017, 03:53:17 pm »
Thank you, BBM_victim, for reviving this thread and for your insights! It will take us quite a while to absorb and respond to all you said, but I'd like to touch on some of the points:

Quote
Doesn't matter when the dozy embrace took place - it took place on the mountain! And this is where both of them should have felt free from any fears or shame, so it absolutely does not fit...
I agree with you, the dozy embrace seemed to happen outside of time. It could have been a flashback, a dream, a vision, wishful thinking. But I think it really did happen and the reason so is because of Ennis's reticence, his embrace of Jack from behind. Ennis's homophobia was so deeply ingrained that even on the mountain, he couldn't shake his fears/shame. A glimmer of hope is in Jack's parting words, "See you in the morning" and I think of that morning as the sunrise on a day when all people will learn to accept and embrace the differences that make us human beings.

Quote
...about those debates on being "gay" - whether or not they were gay and which one of them was more gay and etc... I'm sorry, but, honestly, i don't get these discussions. For me it's - who the f cares?? Sure, the fear of being publicly together with a man is a major subject in this story, but for me it's all about their love and longing for each other against the background of some childhood trauma, not about their sexual inclinations (or whatever). I don't think either of them was gay. Ennis had never find any other men attractive apart from Jack and for Jack those visits to Mexico and Randall were just substitutes in his strong longing for Ennis. I just can't understand why people would say this makes Jack gay.

Everybody has to make up their own mind about this and I respect your view. For myself, I believe they both were gay. They were obviously not attracted to women, except in a dalliance kind of way or as beards. They were obviously attracted to each other on several different levels. It's not  necessary to label people one way or the other, but for the purposes of this story set in this place in this time in history, I believe it was necessary in order to understand the characters.
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Offline BBM_victim

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #143 on: February 09, 2017, 09:18:17 pm »
Hi Front-Ranger!
Thanks a lot for reading and talking to me. I really do appreciate it!

Your comment pointed to some inconsistency about my idea of the dozy embrace. True, "See you in the morning" means it's taking place in the evening. So, it's then the evening before the FNIT (for me  :P). I still think the chronological order of events is water-walking-Jesus-sinner-talk -> dozy embrace -> FNIT.

Regarding the "gay" issue - which i actually didn't like to discuss - i guess it also has something to do with my personal point of view / perception of these things. Why would i oppose calling Ennis and Jack gay? Is being gay something bad / repulsive / "nasty"? Asking MYSELF this question - i would say "no". Asking the society would probably (still) result in "yes" or "maybe" to some extent. Unfortunately, i found myself somewhat colored by that. So, i am totally honest with you - i cannot say that being gay does not leave a question mark in my head, but i would never perceive homosexuals as being inferior people. In fact, i can totally consider myself being in love with a woman..... Mmmm... maybe woman+woman and man+man are two different things?...  :-\  ??? I don't know... Honestly, this discussion is a bit too much for me, my head aches.

What i know is that it is such a pitty these kind of private issues like who exactly you are in love with or what exactly you like to do in bed are being pilloried, discussed and judged by the society in the first place. As Jack said, this is really "nobody's business"! Who gave those people the right to comment on what is right and what is wrong, who gave them the right to label things and who said that this is necessary in the first place?! All these discussions lead to nothing more than misunderstandings / miscommunication (in best case), splitting people in categorized groups with certain attributes, which always leads to identity problems, fears, shame etc. There is nothing good coming from this! I don't say it should be a taboo subject, i say everybody should mind his own business and let other people live their lives however they like (unless somebody was harmed by that, of course). Live and let others live, too. Love and respect, people! V (Gosh, how this sounds, i got carried away!  :laugh:)

Going back to BBM, for me it is most important that Ennis and Jack were in love - that's enough for me. Any discussions on their sexual inclinations would be inappropriate and rude, IMO. :D Everybody thinks these are real people here, right? So, why don't we behave ourselves respectfully? And knowing their background, knowing their struggles and pain, why don't we give them a label-free space here, so that they can be together without any fear, shame and pain, hunh?
What Ennis' dad showed him when he was little was unforgivable! It totally wrecked his whole life!  :'( Let this be our all reminder on how to raise our kids so they can be HAPPY and fulfilled in life, not crippled and fearful. Fear is never a good advice / guidepost. And it doesn't matter what his dad showed him exactly. Let's say he showed him a corpse of a person (male / female - doesn't matter) who was tortured and killed because he/she had blue eyes. And it just happens that the person Ennis falls in love with (male / female - doesn't matter) has blue eyes - that would lead to exactly the same state in Ennis' psyche and fate! Really, i don't feel any need to categorize that...

Offline BBM_victim

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #144 on: February 10, 2017, 01:24:04 am »
They were obviously not attracted to women, except in a dalliance kind of way or as beards. They were obviously attracted to each other on several different levels.

Front-Ranger, please allow me to comment on your above statement from my POV. Do we know whether they were attracted to women *before* they met each other? Because all i see in the movie is *after* they fell in love with each other, after their respective (lonely) hearts were touched by the other one. There will be no one else who could do it for them, ever. That's how i see their love. I don't put their love in relation to their other man-man or man-woman relationships. It's just the two of them and there will be never any other person in their hearts. In first instance there is no physical attraction for me (towards anybody), the way i see it they long for each other for that satisfaction of the "shared and sexless hunger" and the physical comes just along with feelings of love.
Anyway that's my perception of "true love" - maybe just wishful thinking!  ::) I hope not...

Offline BradInBlue

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #145 on: February 10, 2017, 02:05:08 am »
There was nothing 'gay' about Jack and Ennis. What those terms mean in 1963 do not describe them nor does AP's story and Ang Lee's movie. And when J & E disavow being queer up with the sheep, it is true. They weren't queer. Or gay. The movie wasn't about queer or gay. It was about two dudes that fell in love.   

Offline BBM_victim

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #146 on: February 10, 2017, 02:13:13 am »
Exactly! Thank youBradInBlue!

Offline serious crayons

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #147 on: February 11, 2017, 02:07:38 pm »
The question is not whether they could be described by a term that wasn't in widespread use at the time and that Brad now objects to for political reasons.

The question is where they fell on the Kinsey scale. My impression is that they were pretty close to entirely homosexual, but under immense societal pressure to pretend otherwise they "passed" as heterosexual.

Jack had come to terms with his own orientation and would have been completely willing to have hookups or even relationships with other men. But he realized after the bar scene there weren't many prospects for same-sex relationships on the rodeo circuit, so he "settled" for Lureen. But their marriage was mostly sexless -- what Lureen metaphorically meant when she observed that "husbands never want to dance with their wives" -- especially after he reunited with Ennis.

Ennis was scared straight, so to speak, by the childhood trauma of witnessing what happened to Earl and Rich. Note that both of those names signify wealth -- those two were living "the sweet life." But Ennis' father showed him how their society regarded people like that, and it was a powerful lesson. I believe Ennis was probably aware, or becoming aware, around that time of his own sexual orientation, and quickly realized he had to hide it at all costs. To Ennis, attraction to men was so shameful he could never even accept his own. He became a self-hating homophobe, which is why he could never be a fully committed partner to Jack. Like Jack, he did what society expected of him and married Alma and dated Cassie. He could have sex with women, but he wasn't really into it, which is why both relationships fell apart. Yet because that horrific childhood experience stuck with him, Ennis was never able to accept his own feelings or stop fearing what "people on the street" might think.

I'm sure it's perfectly possible for random-gendered couples to fall in love without having previously realized they were attracted to that gender. I have heard of people saying that about themselves, so never say never. But I think most people, from about adolescence on, at least notice their own physical attractions, whether it's entirely for men, entirely for women, or some of both, whether they act on them or not.




Offline CellarDweller

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #148 on: May 14, 2017, 09:36:46 pm »
great post, Katherine!


Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #149 on: May 14, 2017, 09:41:32 pm »
I entirely agree, great post!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline serious crayons

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #150 on: May 15, 2017, 10:25:09 am »
Thanks, Chuck and Lee.



Offline BBM_victim

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #151 on: May 16, 2017, 03:45:36 am »
I still think the chronological order of events is water-walking-Jesus-sinner-talk -> dozy embrace -> FNIT.

Friends! I had a new observation!  ;D Too many of them lately!!  :laugh:

Regarding my above statement on when the dozy embrace took place. I recon Ennis is riding (on a horse) away from Jack three times in the move - see below screenshots (wanna guess when they were?  ;) ).

[At this point i MUST say just how b-e-au-tiful the first ride-off was!!! That big guy riding off magnificently surrounded by those swirling cigarette smoke clouds!... Ahhhh, that would be MY personal fall-in-love moment!]

I noticed that while Ennis is riding off slowly and relaxed at the first one, he is literally fleeing from Jack at the second and third occasions. I think we do know why he is galloping away in the second scene, right? Because that's right after FNIT, Ennis totally confused and he cannot face Jack at all.
Then, can we draw some similar conclusion for the third ride-off? I would put it this way to line it up with my above theory:

========
Ennis considers Jack his dearest friend, he loves him to pieces already, just for the fact that he can be himself around Jack without fear or shame. Ennis hugs Jack, hums, says "i got a go" and leaves. He just had done something he never did before - hugging a man and humming! He is unsure whether it is alright, whether he made himself too vulnerable by revealing a tender side of him and by sharing some childhood memory. He is maybe a bit embarrassed of himself - like it was at the "i ain't yet had the opportunity". He doesn't dare to check upon Jack's reaction, so he quickly leaves the spot.
========

Waddya think?  ::) I do think that he walks to the horse quite relaxed and seemingly at peace, though. Playing cool?

Offline Front-Ranger

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #152 on: May 16, 2017, 07:31:27 pm »
I quite agree, BBM-vic. . . and I would add that on the first horseback exit, the swathes of cig smoke around his head make me think about when he was bathing himself in the background, surrounded by the swathes of smoke from the potato-peeling Jack in the foreground.

Lee, Ledger and Prieto had challenges translating Proulx's words into graphic images and they succeeded beautifully in translating "paw the white out of the moon" into these lyrical images.

I also agree a hunert percent with your assessment of the third ride-off.  :-*
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline BBM_victim

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Re: You shut up about Ennis - this ain't (all) his fault
« Reply #153 on: May 16, 2017, 08:43:37 pm »
Oh, thanks Front-Roger with agreeing with me - i'm happy now  :)

Regarding the "paw the white out of the moon" - i think the scene where Ennis rides through the woods and hums just before he meets the bear is actually how they represented this line from the story. I LOVE this scene, too! Ennis looks just so happy like a little boy (*-*).