Author Topic: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?  (Read 211025 times)

Offline Rayn

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #100 on: June 02, 2006, 02:11:06 pm »
Well, thank ya kindly, Mary... Now, maybe we can get this topic underway and going again! 

Yours truly,
Rayn

Offline Mary Twist

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #101 on: June 03, 2006, 02:09:18 pm »
My Dear Rayn,

Yes, by all means, the folks here should explore the memorable "Jack, I Swear" sentiment of Ennis.  I honestly hope that my beloved Ennis was inspired to say his kind thought subsequent to his visit to me.

Sincerely,
Mary Twist
You come back and see us soon.  We'll have fresh hot coffee and homemade cherry cake!

Offline whiteoutofthemoon

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #102 on: June 03, 2006, 04:33:01 pm »
".....I swear"....

I personally saw a direct contrast to this statement with the wedding scene earlier, as the preacher is saying "do you swear to love, honor....til death do you part"....Ennis says "I do" looking down, not looking at Alma, somewhat hesitant.   

Here,  at the end,   he says "I swear"  (ie ... "I do"), sincerely, with full eye contact to the shirts.   

Alas, too late, by a long while...
"They were respectful of each other's opinions, each glad to have a companion where none had been expected.  Ennis, riding against the wind back to the sheep in the treacherous, drunken light, thought he'd never had such a good time, felt he could paw the whiteoutofthemoon."

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #103 on: June 03, 2006, 08:43:01 pm »
I personally saw a direct contrast to this statement with the wedding scene earlier, as the preacher is saying "do you swear to love, honor....til death do you part"....Ennis says "I do" looking down, not looking at Alma, somewhat hesitant.   

Here,  at the end,   he says "I swear"  (ie ... "I do"), sincerely, with full eye contact to the shirts.   

Hey, whiteoutofthemoon -- great observation! I've never seen those two scenes contrasted before. And on your very first post here, too. Awesome. Welcome to BetterMost!

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #104 on: June 04, 2006, 08:00:12 pm »
".....I swear"....

I personally saw a direct contrast to this statement with the wedding scene earlier, as the preacher is saying "do you swear to love, honor....til death do you part"....Ennis says "I do" looking down, not looking at Alma, somewhat hesitant.   

Here,  at the end,   he says "I swear"  (ie ... "I do"), sincerely, with full eye contact to the shirts.   

Alas, too late, by a long while...

WOW, I will second Katherine's welcome and say that this is a great observation.  The idea that Ennis is swearing an oath to Jack, which occurs to him as a result of his talk with Alma Jr., makes perfect sense to me.  And, now that you mention it, that cut from Ennis with his dry heaves and crying in the alley to that specific moment in the marriage ceremony seems really important.  Lee chooses to allow us a view into a very small slice of Ennis's wedding to Alma and he chooses these particular lines.  It makes great sense as foreshadowing. 

It's an interesting thing to think about in terms of Ennis's attitude towards Alma Jr.'s marriage... I'm sure he remembers his own marriage at 19 as a deeply unhappy thing.  We've hashed this out before in many threads... but it's just so sad that this deeply important act of love for Ennis... swearing a commitment to Jack... only happens in absolute privacy and after Jack is gone.  Even if Ennis had found the courage to live with Jack, they still wouldn't have had the option of the public celebration of their love that Alma Jr. and Kurt will enjoy.  In their own way, Ennis and Jack were already deeply and permanently committed to one another... even in living apart.  I think they both truly lived their lives for each other and organized their lives as much as possible to keep their relationship going (even on the awkward terms upon which their relationship existed).  It's only after Jack's death that Ennis behaves like a practical partner... going to visit the family, offering to take responsibility for Jack's final wishes and then finally swearing a commitment or "marriage" to him.  I wonder too at Ennis's sense of urgency to claim Jack's ashes... in a way maybe it was a little bit like staking his claim with Jack.  As if in wanting those ashes Ennis's is saying "he's mine."

 :'(
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #105 on: June 04, 2006, 08:15:59 pm »
It's only after Jack's death that Ennis behaves like a practical partner... going to visit the family, offering to take responsibility for Jack's final wishes and then finally swearing a commitment or "marriage" to him.  I wonder too at Ennis's sense of urgency to claim Jack's ashes... in a way maybe it was a little bit like staking his claim with Jack.  As if in wanting those ashes Ennis's is saying "he's mine."

Good way to put it, Amanda. That, and it's one last way he could see to have contact with Jack. Imagine how disappointed he must have been -- after probably envisioning himself going to Brokeback for that final sad ceremony -- to hear that he wasn't allowed to have them.

One of Ennis' many good moments in the Twist ranch scene, by the way, is when Mr. Twist spits out that last "We have a family plot -- and he's going into it!" as Ennis is leaving. And Ennis politely replies, "Yes sir," but accompanied by this look that combines resentment and rebellion and dislike, bolstered by the sympathy from Mrs. Twist and the knowledge that at least now he has the shirts.


Offline whiteoutofthemoon

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #106 on: June 04, 2006, 08:38:33 pm »
Good way to put it, Amanda. That, and it's one last way he could see to have contact with Jack. Imagine how disappointed he must have been -- after probably envisioning himself going to Brokeback for that final sad ceremony -- to hear that he wasn't allowed to have them.

One of Ennis' many good moments in the Twist ranch scene, by the way, is when Mr. Twist spits out that last "We have a family plot -- and he's going into it!" as Ennis is leaving. And Ennis politely replies, "Yes sir," but accompanied by this look that combines resentment and rebellion and dislike, bolstered by the sympathy from Mrs. Twist and the knowledge that at least now he has the shirts.




The Twist house scene displays some profounds symbols as well.    Ennis was denied Jack's ashes...the ultimate symbol of Jack's death, but instead, argubly got something better...the shirts, with blood stains..... not gruesome here, but rather, blood is a symbol of life.    I know most of the blood is Ennis's (I don't recall in the fight scene if any of Jack's blood got mixed in there), but I thought it was interesting that Ennis got blood on his right sleeve when his wiped his nose, and when Jack came up to comfort him, he very awkwardly managed to get his right sleeve (not his left, which would have been more likely, given that Ennis was facing to the right), stained with Ennis's blood too....and then, that sets up the perfect circumstance that when you put one shirt inside the other, the blood stains on the right-sided sleeves of both shirts are in contact for eternity.  And of course the connection of blood to blood is very significant, signifying not only love but a connection in spirit. 

There was a great thread on this on IMDB that was unceremoniously deleted by one of the loser trolls. 

So....back to the "I swear"...not only is Ennis' swearing an oath, but swearing it in front of the shirts, with the blood on the two sleeves in contact.....an oath pure in intention. 



"They were respectful of each other's opinions, each glad to have a companion where none had been expected.  Ennis, riding against the wind back to the sheep in the treacherous, drunken light, thought he'd never had such a good time, felt he could paw the whiteoutofthemoon."

Offline Brown Eyes

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #107 on: June 04, 2006, 11:15:10 pm »
Heya again,
Back to the topic of the relationship between Ennis's wedding to Alma and the "I swear..." moment...

Well, having just finished the movie again,  I noticed that for the wedding scene Lee overlaps Ennis crying in the ally with the sound of the preacher reciting the prayer. And, then when the camera finally shifts to the wedding the preacher only goes into the lines about "with the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife" and then the lame joke about kissing the bride.  Lee actually omits the actual words and/or parts of the wedding ceremony that explicitly deal with "swearing".  I think this is actually fantastic.  It leaves the only moment of "swearing" or "oath making" in Ennis's life (as far as the viewer is concerned) as the moment with the shirts and the "Jack I swear..."  The fact that we never hear Ennis explicitly "swear" a wedding vow to Alma helps make their marriage seem half-hearted (as if there was any doubt).


Quote
So....back to the "I swear"...not only is Ennis' swearing an oath, but swearing it in front of the shirts, with the blood on the two sleeves in contact.....an oath pure in intention.

whiteoutofthemoon, I really like this idea.  Not only is he essentially swearing a "blood" oath he's doing it completely of his own accord.  No one is pressuring or forcing him to do this.  He absolutely and purely wants to swear this oath to Jack.   The idea of "blood" brothers seems really important and relevant.  Obviously physical connection on all levels cemented their love.

More on the blood... I've always thought it was an amazing detail that Jack is wiping Ennis's bloody face with his own shirt in the "confusing tussle" scene.  You can see in Jack's face that he's just mortified that he's caused Ennis to bleed (and really to bleed so much!).  It reminds me of him offering his scarf to Ennis to clean his head after the bear incident.  The guilty look on Jack's face at causing Ennis's nose to bleed seems like an interesting parallel to the guilt that Ennis seems to carry with him about that awful punch.  It always makes me happy that he brings the punch issue up in the motel  (you can tell that it's just been eating at Ennis and he was probably slightly worried that something like that might have prevented Jack from contacting him for so long... or it might have fed into his anxiousness before the reunion kiss when he says to Alma "if he shows").  It's cute that in the motel Jack doesn't seem all that worried about that issue... he just lets it go and doesn't respond to that comment.
« Last Edit: June 05, 2006, 12:04:25 am by atz75 »
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline serious crayons

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #108 on: June 05, 2006, 01:17:15 am »
he very awkwardly managed to get his right sleeve (not his left, which would have been more likely, given that Ennis was facing to the right), stained with Ennis's blood too

Too funny, whiteoutofthemoon! I have always noticed that Jack's pose here seemed awkward -- Jack's right hand is oddly on Ennis' right shoulder, when it would make more sense to put his hand on Ennis' left shoulder -- but I never put the two things together! That explains it.

The guilty look on Jack's face at causing Ennis's nose to bleed seems like an interesting parallel to the guilt that Ennis seems to carry with him about that awful punch.  It always makes me happy that he brings the punch issue up in the motel  (you can tell that it's just been eating at Ennis and he was probably slightly worried that something like that might have prevented Jack from contacting him for so long... or it might have fed into his anxiousness before the reunion kiss when he says to Alma "if he shows").

I bet he kicked himself a million times for that punch, starting with riding down the mountain, when Ennis already looks guilty, then beside the sheep pen, then at the truck, then in the alley, and then constantly for the next four years. When he says "I thought you were still sore from that punch," he sounds so casual, but you just know from the fact that he mentions it at all that he has always feared his rash violence ruined his chances of seeing Jack again. (The other confirmation being his exact quote of Jack's in, "And the Army didn't get you?" showing that he's been going over and over that conversation for four years.)

Offline Penthesilea

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Re: "Jack, I swear..." What do you think Ennis meant by that?
« Reply #109 on: June 05, 2006, 02:41:52 pm »
It leaves the only moment of "swearing" or "oath making" in Ennis's life (as far as the viewer is concerned) as the moment with the shirts and the "Jack I swear..." 

This is really a good observation. Another possibility, another layer of those two words.

Quote
The guilty look on Jack's face at causing Ennis's nose to bleed seems like an interesting parallel to the guilt that Ennis seems to carry with him about that awful punch.  It always makes me happy that he brings the punch issue up in the motel  (you can tell that it's just been eating at Ennis and he was probably slightly worried that something like that might have prevented Jack from contacting him for so long... or it might have fed into his anxiousness before the reunion kiss when he says to Alma "if he shows").  It's cute that in the motel Jack doesn't seem all that worried about that issue... he just lets it go and doesn't respond to that comment.

Quote
I bet he kicked himself a million times for that punch, starting with riding down the mountain, when Ennis already looks guilty, then beside the sheep pen, then at the truck, then in the alley, and then constantly for the next four years. When he says "I thought you were still sore from that punch," he sounds so casual, but you just know from the fact that he mentions it at all that he has always feared his rash violence ruined his chances of seeing Jack again. (The other confirmation being his exact quote of Jack's in, "And the Army didn't get you?" showing that he's been going over and over that conversation for four years.)

You are both so right. Poor Ennis (and poor Jack for that matter). I always felt it would have needed only a little bit to change the situation at their last day. Usually I want to shout at Ennis during many scenes of the movie. But when they actually part, at Jack's truck, it's Jack I want to shout at. I have the feeling a little "Ennis" or "Wait a minute", or something along that content from Jack could have made another scenario. One of these "What ifs..."
These "What might have beens", the "What ifs..." and the "If onlys..." are part of the magic of BBM. They keep my mind running in circles, envisioning different scenarios over and over.


Back on topic:
I've thought about this two words many, many times, as we all have. I can think of many possibilities, which all are valid. And they have been already mentioned on this thread.
For me, the fact that he is finally swearing to Jack is the most important. He is making a commitment, and it is all the more tragic that it comes too late.
And for me, it means: Jack, I swear, if I had another chance, I would make it different. I would make better descicions and I would live with you. This implies naturally the "I love you and always have", but goes beyond it.