Author Topic: The Laundry Room  (Read 60291 times)

Offline Ellemeno

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,367
Re: The laundry
« Reply #30 on: July 17, 2006, 11:00:54 pm »
The big difference I've always noticed is that Jack does the laundry outdoors, in nature, whereas Alma does the laundry the way she does the dishes -- inside, with civilized "society" water. But earlier on, we see her as a hopeful young bride, hanging laundry outside in the yard, relatively in nature but also somewhat domestic. Is that because she is hoping at that point that their relationship will be "a force of nature"?

Beautiful thread you're wringin' out here, everyone.  The above quote by Katherine makes me think of the line from the story:

"I looked in the case when I got a chance and there was my note still tied there and that line hadn't touched water in its life." As though the word "water" had called out its domestic cousin she twisted the faucet, sluiced the plates.

When I saw the line 'clothes + water = laundry,' I thought it was brilliant, and wanted a bumper sticker saying it.  Then I pictured that bumper sticker, and knew that no one would ever begin to get the wisdom it expresses.  Thanks for starting this beautiful thread, Lee.  Happy Birthday again.  :)

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,375
Re: The laundry
« Reply #31 on: July 19, 2006, 10:47:43 pm »
Isn't it amazing how this movie -and really all our analysis of the movie- make completely mundane things seem super-meaningful.  Who would have ever guessed that laundry, buckets, coffeepots and even shirts could be so exciting and interesting?

 :)
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

moremojo

  • Guest
Re: The laundry
« Reply #32 on: July 20, 2006, 06:22:12 pm »
Isn't it amazing how this movie -and really all our analysis of the movie- make completely mundane things seem super-meaningful.  Who would have ever guessed that laundry, buckets, coffeepots and even shirts could be so exciting and interesting?

 :)
Amazing, indeed. I know of very few works of cinematic fiction that posit so much meaning into everyday objects. The nearest other example that came to mind was that of the oeuvre of the great Japanese filmmaker Yasujiro Ozu, who lovingly detailed the daily domestic world of his middle-class characters, sometimes paying as close attention to the accoutrements of their environment as to the human beings wielding them. His famous 'pillow shots', wherein the camera lingers on a space after the human inhabitants have departed, are a salient example of this. But in Ozu, these objects always exist in and of themselves. They never serve as symbols for some underlying human or archetypal element, which is precisely how the objects in BBM function.

Jean-Luc Godard has written of Alfred Hitchcock being a filmmaker from whose films we primarily remember objects as opposed to people. Windmills, wine bottles, a glass of milk...we retain more vivid memories of these things than we do of the characters and stories comprising Foreign Correspondent, Notorious, and I Confess, respectively. As a conveyor of mysterious yet vital power through objects, Hitchcock attained not only supremacy as a rare poet of cinema, but even became "master of the universe". I submit that in Brokeback Mountain, Hitchcock's oeuvre has met its equal in the poetic and mythic uses of symbol-laden objects that Godard so evidently celebrates.

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 26,026
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: The laundry
« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2006, 04:50:42 pm »
Thank you, Scott, for lending some class to this subject! I was rereading the story today, and noticed another laundry reference in the scene where Ennis discovers the shirts in Jack's closet. In addition to thinking his shirt had been lost "in some damn laundry" in the past, Ennis at first glance into the closet saw a couple of pairs of jeans that had been crease-pressed and folded neatly over a wire hanger. Not only would the iron have made an impression upon the jeans but also the hanger would have left a crease too. This is a haunting allusion to the tire iron that, in Ennis's mind, caused Jack's death. And the vertical and horizontal creases in the jeans would have made a cross. Finally, there were two pair of jeans, just like there were two shirts. In just a few words, the author has hinted at several different meanings. Pretty amazing.
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 26,026
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: The laundry
« Reply #34 on: August 20, 2006, 10:54:01 pm »
Yea, really amazing, he replied...
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Marge_Innavera

  • Guest
Re: The laundry
« Reply #35 on: August 27, 2006, 03:26:28 pm »
Anyway, what this all has to do with laundry is that Jack's laundry-doing sticks in our mind in a very memorable scene -- so to all the other reasons we've previously discussed as to why he might be doing laundry naked, add that it sure grabs attention and makes the scene stick in our minds!

One of the things I love about the film is that the symbolism is always an integral part of the plot and script, rather than being just plunked down in the story. As even beginning writers know, symbolism is a bit like playing chess: very quick & easy to learn to do; very difficult and sometimes impossible to learn to do well.

In the case of Jack doing laundry naked, they've gone up there with only one change of clothes each. And if you're doing laundry in a stream under those circumstances, the best practice is to do it naked or at least in your underwear: that ensures having a dry set of clothes to put on later.

For me, that aspect of the symbolic parts also fitting into the literal story was one of the best aspects of the movie.
« Last Edit: August 27, 2006, 03:28:41 pm by Marge_Innavera »

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 26,026
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: The laundry
« Reply #36 on: September 01, 2006, 07:04:22 pm »
THings I do naked include the laundry, washing the car, and cleaning the shower. It just doesn't make sense otherwise!  ::) Of couse, the first only happens when I come back from a run and have to deposit the clothes I'm wearing into the washer, and the second only happens on midsummer nights.

Also, a note to Scott--copy your post here into your Daily Thoughts blog. Those insights are too good to languish here in the laundry room!!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline serious crayons

  • Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 19,065
Re: The laundry
« Reply #37 on: September 02, 2006, 12:56:50 am »
THings I do naked include ... washing the car

Lee, do you get any strange looks (or appreciative glances!) from other customers at the car wash?

 ;D

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 26,026
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: The laundry
« Reply #38 on: September 02, 2006, 09:48:09 am »
LOL! No, I wash the car in my driveway (I live way out in the middle of nowhere in the Rocky Mountains, hope U can see it someday!)
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 26,026
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: The laundry
« Reply #39 on: November 01, 2006, 01:21:17 pm »
Thinking back to the scene of Alma doing laundry in the sink, there are many parallels to the companion scene of Jack doing laundry in the stream. We see both Alma and Jack from the back, although they are looking opposite ways. They both beat on the laundry, Alma with a washboard and Jack with a stick. They are both cleaning an item belonging to Ennis, Alma washing his undershirt and Jack washing his shirt. But the differences are telling. Of course, Alma is clothed while Jack is naked. And the contrast of the wild free-running stream to the sink in the choky little ranch house couldn't be more different!
Too much to do. . .I don't have time to get old!